Cove light success: How to use LED strip lights in your cove light projects like a pro

Cove lights are IN in a big way in 2023 and you can’t talk about cove lighting without talking about LED strip lights. If you want to illuminate any kind of recessed inset, molding, or any other decorative area of walls or ceilings, LED strip lights are the uncontested champion to make your lighting project all it can be. LED strip lights love to show off their utility when it comes to walls or coves—from a flexible strip, to easy hanging, to a gorgeous glow—LED strip lights have all that and more. If you are thinking about lighting all the coves, recesses, moldings, or any part of your walls this year, let HitLights be your guide with some helpful explanations and some product suggestions that will save you time and effort and get you one step closer to an amazing cove lighting project that will light up your entire 2023.

What is cove lighting?

Cove lighting is a fundamental lighting technique where light is directed upward, usually onto the ceiling, from a cove or other recessed channel or space. Cove lighting is noted for its ambient qualities, usually sought to produce a glow or an aura in a room. The “cove” in cove lighting refers to any channel, oftentimes behind raised facing that prevents the lighting source (in our case, the LED strip light) from being seen. 

Cove lighting is a big lighting trend for 2023. 

The reason cove lighting and LED strip lights go hand in hand is that LED strip lights typically naturally fit in the most typical coves you’ll find in standard room architecture. LED strip lights are easily installed as cove lighting, assisted by the peel and stick double sided tape (including the option to upgrade to premium, genuine 3M double sided tape for certain projects.) Dimmable LED strip lights can not only change how much light—the brightness—is shining out, but you can adjust the light levels in a way that suits the setting. If the upcast light is close to the ceiling, the dimmer the LED strip lights, the more shadow will be created. In other words, you can control the final accent created by the cove lighting with dimmable LED strip lights.

What light do you use in cove light?

An LED strip light is the obvious choice for any cove lighting application. LED strip lights are the right size (a narrow strip and a custom length); LED strip lights are easy to install in coves since the strip itself is flexible and the double sided tape allows you to mount the lights on most flat surfaces. 

Another advantage LED strip lights have in cove lighting is you can control how bright or how ambient the cove lighting will be. If you want a bright, dramatic display, you can select high-density LED strip lights (more light producing diodes per inch) or even a COB strip light which has an impressive output of light. If a more ambient look is what you’re going for in cove lighting, choose standard density LED strips or you can use a dimmer switch. You can even select RGB colored LED strip lights if you want a colorful display on your ceiling. 

No matter the look you ultimately want, LED strip lights are going to work in most every cove lighting situation. Since many people have questions about installation and the ultimate appearance of LED strip lights in coving, the next two sections will cover those topics in more depth.

How do you install LED strip cove lights?

LED strip light installation is notoriously easy. First, measure the total length you will want the LED strip lights to cover. Remember that most modern LED strip lights are cuttable so you can get nearly exactly the length you need for your project. Measure the width of the channel or other space where you will be mounting the LED strip lights. Reminder: if you want the strip to be unseen (typical for this type of installation) you will want to place the strip closest to the facing with the light diodes aiming upward. In other words, between the wall; the mounting surface; and the outward facing façade (like molding) place the LED strip closer to the facing piece rather than the wall. The strip will remain out of sight. 

Install the LED strip light as you would other LED strip lights. Make sure the surface where you will mount the strip is clean (dusted) and dry. Use a high-quality double-sided mounting tape—like the tapes offered by HitLights—even if you are mounting the strips horizontally. As the lights are used, and as seasonal environmental conditions come and go—general wear and tear on the LED strip lights—you’ll be thankful for having mounted the LED strip lights when you installed them, helping you get the most out of the life of the strips. 

Take a moment when measuring and before you install the lights to plan out the placement of the power source and how you will be controlling the lights. You have lots of options for any of these elements. Research the options first so you can adequately plan out the installation. Don’t hesitate to contact our Tech Team to help you make successful cove lighting installation plans from the start!

Is Cove Lighting Bright Enough?

With any LED strip light selection, you have several choices to make sure the brightness of the strip lights meets your expectation for the installation. Keep in mind that most cove lighting installations are not to create direct or task lighting. If your plans include having bright strips casting as much light as they can, LED strip lights are still an excellent choice. 

In the HitLights product descriptions, you’ll be able to see lumens per foot for each LED strip. If you are looking for a bright display, consider COB lighting like the HitLights Premium 24V COB LED Strip Light which boasts a whopping 2,560 light chips in a 16.4 foot roll. Wow! 

If you want to create ambiance or accent lighting with your cove lighting—a more typical application—you can even explore color options with strip lights like 32.8ft LED Strip Lights, HitLights 5050 RGB Color Changing

If having “enough” light for a particular room or space is a concern for you, you may want to look at a combination of lights. Complimentary options like cove lighting (accent light, up cast) with recessed bulbs (direct light, down cast.) This kind of combination, when planned in advance, can look sophisticated and give your room the exact lighting design to make the most of your space. In other words, even if cove lighting doesn’t give you the level of brightness to be the sole light source for a room, you can use it strategically to complete the look of a room. Remember, lighting designers often plan for three light sources per room (including natural light, which may come from a window for example) so experimenting  with cove lighting being complimented by a more direct source light can bring about satisfying results. 

Which cove light is best?

Premium LED strip lights from HitLights give you an easy, convenient solution to cove lighting installations. Even if you are working within a strict budget, you are sure to find a light strip from HitLights will work well with your project. 

Know what you want to achieve with your installation: 

You don’t have to face the cove lighting install on your own! Would you like to get some more ideas from our Tech Support team, trained and ready to help you with all the products of HitLights? Give us a call now at 1 (855) 768-4135 and get started today.

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