The mirrored disco ball, an ornamental relic from the 1970s, is still used to not only recreate a traditional disco dance party atmosphere, but also in more sophisticated interior designs. The balls have the ability to manipulate light into striking patterns. If you have an old disco ball, put it to use by incorporating it into your home decor, or enchant your party guests with a lively display of multi-colored light.
Step 1: The Perfect Spot
The center of a ceiling seems to be the most logical choice to hang your disco ball. But don't limit yourself; you can hang the ball from practically anywhere:
- Garages, rec rooms
- Closets, doorways
- Under a loft bed
- On shelves, coffee tables, dining tables
Consider the lighting source when searching for the perfect spot to hang your disco ball to enhance the effect of the reflective mirrored tiles.
Use a lighting tree to mount a disco ball overhead when hanging from the ceiling is not an option.
Step 2: Motorize It
Some, but not all disco balls, come with a motor that mechanically spins it around to create a mesmerizing light show. Battery-powered disco ball motors easily attach to ceilings that can be switched on or off as needed. When buying motors separately, make sure to select the appropriate type for the size of the disco ball. A 20-inch or larger disco ball usually requires a heavy-duty motor to avoid the motor overheating and burning out.
Step 3: Securely Attach It
Choose the mounting method for a disco ball depending upon its size and weight. Use hooks and screws specifically designed to attach objects to the ceiling, such as swag hooks and ceiling S-hooks, which make good choices for smaller lightweight balls. If your ball does not come with a chain or string to hang it from, use monofilament fishing line to tie it to a ceiling hook. A larger, heavier ball may need to be secured to ceiling joists or studs to support its weight and keep it from breaking through drywall. If you are attaching a disco ball motor, follow the manufacturer's instructions for attaching the unit. Make sure the disco ball is secure and will not come loose. Some disco ball kits come with their own attachment hardware or even mounting adhesive tape.
When mounting a disco ball to the ceiling, be sure to place it high enough to avoid it coming in contact with dancers' heads. A height of 6 foot, 5 inches or a bit higher should be sufficient.
Step 4: Light It Up
The easiest way to recreate a classic disco atmosphere is to place the disco ball at the center of a room and light it on opposite sides with one or two light sources. Experiment with the angles to get the most creative lighting effects. You can use spotlights, pin lights and even sunbeams to manipulate the tiny mirrored tiles and create prismatic patterns on walls. Some disco ball products come with built-in spotlights that make it easier to achieve the look you want without buying separate lighting equipment.
Step 5: Add Special Effects
Multi-colored lighting adds a kaleidoscopic effect to disco balls. Try using two complementary colors such as green and magenta or red and cyan. The traditional white light of spotlights and pin lights can be easily changed by using inexpensive colored lenses. Hang multiple disco balls of various shapes and heights together for an even more magical light display.
Step 6: Use as a Decor Piece
Disco balls aren't just for parties; you can tastefully blend them into your home decor. Hang them in a teenager's room or from the top of your child's loft bed to create a retro feel. Add a bit of sophisticated bling to interiors by placing smaller balls on coffee tables and shelves, in decorative bowls, on fireplace mantels, in bathrooms and windows, or in a sunlit corner. Use a larger ball as a glittering centerpiece, or cut it in half and hang it like a chandelier. The mirrored surface not only works well with modern decor and neutral color schemes; it also lights the room.
Tanya Soraya Ruys
Tanya Soraya Ruys is a published author who writes about home improvement, interior design, alternative medicine, culture, film and social media. She is currently working on her master's thesis in film and creative writing at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif.