New to the Apple Store as of Oct. 30, Philips' Hue LED lighting system can be controlled from iPhones and iPads. The starter pack includes three bulbs that screw into existing lamps and a small USB device that plugs into a Wi-Fi router, so that your phone or tablet can "talk" to the lights. What's really fun about this system is how you can program the lights in different color schemes based on a photo you like or use a "scientific" setting to help you concentrate. Starter pack: $199.
Drop mini LED party lights into balloons and blow them up or inflate with helium for cheap and festive party decor. This idea was first spotted on Brit + Co., a do-it-yourself project site that also offers monthly boxed craft projects for $19.99 each. LED lights can be purchased from craft stores for around $1 apiece.
Plain white walls lend themselves to this easy way to highlight a wall-mounted home entertainment system. Using an LED light strip kit such as LIT's Urban Underglow, affix the strips to speakers and then choose from 16 colors. Urban Underglow $209
Forget the pricey ready-made holiday balls. Instead, make your own with 50 plastic drink cups, a drill, a handful of zip ties and a strand of LED lights. Instructions can be found at Instructables.com.
Especially intriguing for families with young kids, an LED faucet light can be screwed onto a standard fixture. Light color changes with water temperature, so kids can see hot water glowing red and avoid an unpleasant shock. Available from Newegg.com for $15.
Globe lights are back in style, but if you want more than a few strands, the cost can add up. Make your own with a strand of LED lights, a bag of ping-pong balls, a drill and a hot glue gun. Instructions at advancedmischief.com.
The Bay Lights light sculpture honors the Bay Bridge's 75th anniversary and celebrates completion of the new East Span in 2013. Created with more than 25,000 energy-efficient, white LED lights, the sculpture is 1.8 miles wide and 500 feet high. Artist Leo Villareal will use patterns of local weather, water and traffic as inspiration for creating his software algorithms, which will never repeat over the two-year life of the project. The lighting ceremony is scheduled for March 2013.