LED strips are efficient, user-friendly and aesthetic. They help us save on energy costs, are long-lasting, and versatile. Given that there’s a variety of LED products on the market, it can be tough to find the right kind of LED strip for that challenging lighting project you’ve been thinking of, like underneath cabinets, counters, mirrors, and for outdoor living spaces. Here’s how you can make the right choice.
It’s all about location
The material you’ll choose will largely depend on the location of your lighting. Will your strip be indoor or outdoor?
Indoor and dry installation locations simply call for an indoor LED strip light. If you’re looking to light your washroom, weatherproof LED strip lights are the better choice since they’re are basically waterproof. You can splash water on them and they’ll still work. However, if you’re planning new lighting in your backyard, you’ll want to install them inside an aluminum extrusion and secure them with an outdoor ground. The ground will provide added safety when the strips are submerged under water for periods of time.
Accentuating or illuminating?
The space in which you’ll be adding new lighting will ultimately drive your purchase. Will the LED strip be used to light a specific object in a contained space, or to provide basic lighting in a broader space? How bright would you like it to be? In a small space like an alcove and under a countertop, or an enclosed space like beneath a mirror or in a display counter, an LED strip will have an accentuating effect.
Color and effects
You might already know that there is a variety of colors to choose from. So, when you’re choosing an LED strip for your project, keep this in mind: you can opt for a red/green/blue light (RGB) or for a more traditional white color (Soft, warm or cool whites). You can also combine your strips with a controller to maximize their use. In fact, with an effective controller or a dimmer, you can program different color settings and patterns or even dim the intensity of your light.
Unlike traditional halogen lights (which are measured in watts), you want to look at the lumen output to determine the brightness of your light. It’s a good idea to sample a couple different strips to find the right intensity for your project.
Most LED strips have double sided adhesive tape and are made for an easy installation. Aluminum extrusions can be used to mount LED light strips onto surfaces for a more finished look. For a recessed installation into walls or ceilings, there are special extrusions available (LUNA) that grip into dry wall more effectively.
Finally, when in doubt, contact a lighting specialist or call a certified electrician for installation!
Here are a few ideas to inspire your next lighting project: