Adhesive LED strip lights offer tremendous versatility in creative home lighting. The strip may be cut to size, with different lumens (brightness) and colours available as desired. Creative ways to use LED strip lights in your home include.
- Uplighting – e.g. cornice
- Downlighting – e.g. kitchen cabinets
- Splashback lighting – e.g. TV/mirror/picture frame
LED Strip Lights – Creative Home Lighting
LED strip lights provide a multitude of home lighting options. Creative use of LED strip lighting could include imaginative ideas such as under-parasol lighting in the garden and stair tread lighting in the home (both ideal for an evening party feel). Here are some common creative ideas on how to enhance the visual appeal in your home and garden using LED strip lighting.
- TV Screen – LED strip lighting can be used to great effect in creating splashback lighting. Apply the LED strip to the rear of the TV and place the TV near to a wall to achieve a backlit glow.
- Picture Frames – LED bulbs do not emit harmful UV rays or excessive heat, meaning closeup use with décor is possible. Apply LED strips to the rear of picture frames for stand out displays.
- Stairways (handrails) – LED strip lighting can be used along the underside of handrails to create a soft downlit ambience on stairways. This is both aesthetically pleasing and practical.
- Mirrors (bathroom/hallway) – Applying LED lighting strips to the rear edges of a mirror can help to create ideal shadow-reducing splashback lighting levels (less harsh than a front lit vanity mirror).
- Under Cabinets (& toe kicks) – LED strip lighting provides ideal ‘task lighting’ solutions. Illuminate kitchen worktops, bathroom cabinets, and other home cabinets with view-enhancing downlights.
- Room Cornice (uplight/downlight) – Decorative cornices above doors or around the edge of rooms often have a recess suitable for housing LED strip lighting – create ambient uplighting/downlighting with ease.
Waterproof LED Strip Lights – Water Features & Wet Zones
- Decking – Plan the layout of any garden decking to include a slight overhang. Accent this overhang and frame the outline of the decking area with subtle down lighting using LED strip lights.
- Bushes/Trees – LED strip lighting can be used to add gentle backlit luminosity to any garden foliage. Attach the strip lighting to the trunk/stem of small trees and bushes for best results.
- Garden Water Feature – Add a soft glow to water features such as ponds and plumbed fountains using water and impact resistant LED strip lighting (the power supply must be housed safely).
- Aquarium LED Lighting – Indoor aquariums typically come with minimal lighting solutions. Add water resistant LED strip lighting to the interior or exterior of the aquarium for additional accented lighting.
There are many creative routes that may be taken when considering methods of home lighting using LED strip lights. Remember, LED strip lights are powered via a transformer (a small electrical box) that connects the strip of lights to mains power. Adequate space in which to place the transformer must be taken into account when choosing where to place the LED strip.
Considerations – Power Supply & ‘IP’ Rating
LED strip lighting may be used in the home or garden. Put simply, a safe power supply and a surface on which to adhere the strip is all that is required. However, there are many other considerations over the proper installation of LED strip lights in the home or garden, such as where to house the power supply and which IP rating is required:
- Power Supply – LED strip lights are powered via a transformer. Be sure to select the correct transformer in fitting with the product information supplied with the LED strip. The transformer ensures the strip is not overloaded by reducing the voltage of UK mains (around 230 V) to the voltage required (for a single strip this is usually around 12 V).
- IP Rating – Where LED strip lights are likely to come into contact with water (e.g. garden, water feature, bathroom), products with the appropriate water resistant properties should be installed. The ‘IP’ rating system highlights which electrical products are suitable for use in or around water, with IP67 and IP68 offering reliable splash and dust resistance.
Can I Cut LED Strip Lights to Size?
Yes. LED strip lighting allows for truly creative lighting solutions as the strip may be shortened in length to suit any space. Depending on the length of the LED strip, designated cut points may be found at regular intervals ranging from every 2.5cm to to every 10cm (higher voltage products may result in an increase in the space between cut point intervals).
Creating Ambience – What are Lumens and the Kelvin Scale?
Unlike the outdated Wattage system (which measures the amount of power needed to light the bulb, regardless of the bulb’s brightness when lit), lumens gives a direct indication of the amount of light produced by a bulb. For example, a standard 40W-60W bulb is equivalent to a 6W-9W LED bulb, as both produce around 400-800 lumens. Stronger bulbs are not advised for creating ambiance. But what about the type of light given off? This is measured by the Kelvin scale.
The Kelvin scale begins at 1,000 Kelvin and ranges up to 10,000 Kelvin. The product information accompanying LED products will indicate the Kelvin reading for that product, with a middle reading of around 5,000 Kelvin equalling daylight. Lower readings create softer orange and yellow hues, and upper readings show that the bulb will create clinical brightness. Therefore a bulb in the 0 – 5,000 Kelvin range is ideal for creating ambiance.