Do It Yourself: Cove Lighting
What product is best for cove/edge glow lighting?
We highly recommend our flexible LED strip lights for cove and edge lighting. It’s important to have a linear light spread throughout the whole cove to achieve a continuous and uniform appearance. If you are worried about the light being too bright, we have many different brightness options and all of our strip lights can be dimmed using the correct dimmer and power supply configuration. We would recommend different varieties of our LED strip lighting for your cove application depending on the ceiling height of the area being lit and the ultimate lighting effect you want to achieve. Below are some general recommendations for your consideration.
|Recommended Flexible Strip Light
|8-10ft Ceilings or Above Cabinetry
|N-Series Standard Bright will achieve a nice low level accent light glow. If you want the ability to go brighter or dimmer, go with the N-Series Ultra Bright and control the light level using a dimmer.
|N-Series Ultra Bright or W-Series Standard Bright
|W-Series Ultra Bright
What do I need?
Cove lighting is usually one of the easiest strip light installations. Here’s what you’ll need:
- LED strip lights – See table above for recommendations. Color Changing (RGB and RGB+White) models are also available if color changing on the fly is desired. The ability to change the color in a space can create many dramatic effects and help set a desired theme or mood for special occasions.
- Power supply – there are a couple options here. You can dim your strip lights on the 110VAC side using a standard 110VAC dimmer switch that matches the dimming type of your power supply, or you can dim on the low voltage side. If you want to dim single color 24VDC lights with a 110VAC MLV (magnetic low voltage) dimmer, you’ll need an MLV power supply. Note: MLV power supplies are not compatible with any of our products other than single color 12VDC and 24VDC LED strip lights. More information on choosing the correct power supply here can be found here. If your total light load is less than 80 Watts or can be divided into sections that are less than 80 Watts, we also have Triac dimmable power supplies sized from 20 Watts, 45 Watts, 60 Watts and 80 Watts that work great with any standard incandescent Triac dimmer. Non-dimmable power supplies are another option, and are most popular due to the lower cost of the power supply units themselves. These can be plugged into a standard 110V outlet or hard wired for control with a standard light switch. Despite the name, although non-dimmable power supplies themselves cannot be dimmed, you still have the option to dim your lights via low voltage dimming through a low voltage wall switch, or a separate RGB controller or RF dimmer that will be controlled using a hand-held remote control.
- Controller – if you wish to dim or change color via low voltage, you’ll need a controller to do so. aspectLED carries an assortment of controllers including our RF Dimmer, RGB or RGBW controllers, WiFi enabled, or even sound activated options.
Can your strip lights be used in commercial locations?
Unlike most, our LED strip lights and power supplies are UL Listed, meaning the inspector won’t give you a hard time provided they are installed properly and in accordance with codes in your area. We regularly get calls from people that bought products with fake or nonexistent UL certifications. Many of these products are poor quality and simply unsafe. Our LED strips are used in commercial applications all the time and are an excellent and reliable choice.
Are LED strip lights worth the increased price over incandescent or halogen rope lights?
We might be a little biased here – but yes, they are! We constantly get calls from customers who used simple rope lights from retail stores and found they were not up to the task. To get the glow effect necessary for cove lighting, low cost incandescent rope lighting simply will not be bright enough. And if you need another reason, standard rope lighting generates a lot of heat, comes with a rather short life expectance and has enormous power draw. LEDs use very little power, have an exponentially longer life, and stay nice and cool, making LEDs a much more attractive solution for cove lighting applications.
What voltage should I choose?
It’s important to match your power supply voltage to the voltage of your strip lights – failing to do so will ruin your lights, your power supply, or both.
- Most of our customers elect to use 24VDC strips for several reasons. 24VDC is a more stable voltage so our 24VDC strips are less susceptible to voltage drop, allowing for runs up to 32 feet. They also tend to have a wider range of dimming.
- The biggest reason to choose 12VDC is when you only have a 12VDC power source. Automotive, motorcycle, and marine applications often use 12VDC systems, so using 12VDC strip lights on the existing power supply is the easiest solution.
How do strip lights attach?
Our non-waterproof and water-resistant strips (but not our waterproof ones) come with a high quality 3M adhesive backing. That means for most materials and finishes, there’s no need for any other fastening – simply peel and stick. Our waterproof strips are mountable with available mounting straps, or adhesive silicone caulk.
I want a nice warm white light, but don’t LEDs usually have that blue tinge to them?
That is completely up to you. Unlike fluorescent lights, LEDs can be manufactured in many colors, or color changing RGB and RGB+White variations. Color temperature is measured on the Kelvin scale, and our incredibly popular Warm White is considered the equivalent of most standard incandescent lamps at around 3000K. The other option is Cool White, which is a very pure, neutral white at 6000K. To some people, this can appear to have a bluish hue.
I like the look of cove lighting but I don’t have a ceiling cove. Is it possible to do something similar with a normal flat ceiling?
It adds a little work and expense to the job, but many of our customers choose to design wall- or ceiling-mounted projects they can hide strip lights behind to achieve a similar look.
Can I have both white light and the ability to change the color of the lights to anything I want?
Absolutely you can! Our RGB and RGBW products use a combination of single color and RGB to achieve your desired light color. They have dedicated single color Warm White or Cool White LED chips as well as standard RGB chips. That allows you to use warm white most of the time, but still have the ability to quickly and easily change to any one of 16 million color options. You can even have the white and RGB LEDs on at the same time if you wish.
What are the benefits of using LED strip lights instead of a standard incandescent rope light?
The advantages of LEDs are endless.
- Up to 80% less energy.
- Incredibly bright.
- Color changing ability.
- 50,000 hour life expectancy. That likely means decades of reliable use. And even then, they will simply slowly get less bright.
- Very low heat.
- Maintenance free.
- Solid state construction makes for high shock and vibration resistance.
- No RF interference.