Things To Remember When: Installing LED Strip Lights
Fancy creating a special kind of ambience in your home or garden? Like the look of these sharp glowing lights?
Have a feature wall or special area you would like to highlight?
Considering the rooms colour scheme will give you important guidance for when you reach selecting your LED strip lights. Understanding what colours complement each other and what kind of style you wish your room to reflect will leave you in good stead to achieve the results you set out to gain.
If you have bright walls, carpets and bold furniture then perhaps a cooler strip light colour will work better to further accentuate the established theme; rather than implementing strong shades which have the potential to clash with each other.
If you have modest colour schemes and a minimalistic design then the injection of bold, bashful and brightly coloured strip lights could help to inject some spice into your interiors.
Different Colour Options
LED strip lights can come in two different forms. The first reflects one singular colour whereas others can change their shades to fit the current mood of the room, almost like a chameleon.
LED strip lights that stick to one colour are usually called ‘fixed coloured’ strip lights. Colour changing LED strip lights are known as ‘RGB‘ (Red, Green & Blue), these are often more expensive than fixed coloured LEDs, commonly used in hospitality venues such as bars and hotels. You can change the colour scheme using remote controls.
Having the correct size strip lights is a crucial factor of the installation process. Before anything is bought and regardless of the colours you like you need to make sure you carefully measure the desired application space. Taking note of the length and width in which you need to fill will efficiently prepare you for when it comes to selecting the size of your strip light.
Remember: Many strip lights require housing such as plastic or aluminium profile covers so extra measurements need to be accounted for.
The size of the actual LEDs is also something to consider. Small diodes and large diodes will deliver a different style to each other, with large diodes covering more space on the strip and small diodes covering less space but appearing busier.
If you are looking to install strip lights outside then it is absolutely essential that you buy strip lights with the correct IP rating. An IP rating is used on most lighting systems, it’s a way of categorising what lights are safe to use and where they can be applied.
IP65 or IP67 are predominantly the ratings you need follow for lighting outdoors or in areas where water is ever present such as bathrooms. These ratings ensure that your lights will perform safely and effectively regardless of the weather or if any water spray occurs.
- What You Want Your Lights To Do
People use lights for different reasons and although LED strip lights are a niche and luxury way to provide light, knowing why you are installing the lights is definitely advised. You need to think about whether your strip lights are being used for task, ambient or accent lighting.
– Task Lighting: This is for practical reasons more than anything, it’s applied to focus on a specific area and for a particular reason. Lighting systems such as table lamps, under cabinet lights and street lights aid people with a clearer visual experience in order to complete their goals.
– Accent Lighting: This is for subtly highlighting areas, objects or features. This type of lighting is often applied to accentuate important, collectable and treasured items or locations in the home.
For the garden, accent lighting can help to add texture and colour to water features or ornaments, whereas inside the home bookshelves and artwork are typical features to accommodate accent lighting.
– Ambient Lighting: This is often categorised as ‘general lighting’, providing light to a room with no fixed purpose other to supply light. Things to consider with ambient lighting is the existing natural light you’ll receive from the sun as well as how energetic or calming you wish your ambient lighting to be.
- Power Supply & Number Of LEDs
Once you have selected the colour, taken your measurements and decided why you want to install LED strip lights you now need to work out the number of LEDs integrated on the strip and the power supply you’ll need to run them.
The number of LEDs per metre will have a direct effect on the brightness and light pattern of the strip. Most strip light kits offer up to 30 LEDs and this total can go up to 60 and even 120 should you need more. Many LED strip lights also include cut marks, usually 3 LEDs apart, this allows you to modify how many you wish to use.
Strip lights need a reliable power supply to keep all the individual LEDs glowing. 12V strip lights will need a 12V DC constant-voltage power supply – AKA a driver. Drivers are often sold independently, with varying wattage outputs available to help accommodate all projects whether big or small.
What driver you require depends on the total power requirement of all the connected strips, the power output of the driver needs to be 10% higher than the total required wattage of the strips.
You are installing 5 LED strips, 1M each and the power requirement of each strip equals 4W -> the total power requirement is 20W.
This means that the power rating of the driver needs to be at least 10% above the 20w, ie a minimum of 23W.
- Why Install LED Strip Lights?
Whether it’s a commercial or domestic situation, LED strip lights will provide a unique lighting option that other lighting simply can’t offer.
- Versatility: The small and flexible nature of LED strip lights make them the perfect lighting systems for hard to access areas or locations with limited space to operate conventional lighting.
- Inexpensive: For what they do and the ambience they provide, LED strip lights are well worth the money and range between £15-£80 depending on length and model.
- Atmospheric: Subtlety is key with strip lights but the light they provide can enhance a feature or room within moments of application.
- Colourful: They help to supply a colourful presentation and some models allow you to change what colours are emitted via remote controls.
- Linking Ability: Using connectors you can continue to grow the length of your LED strips, so if you needed to extend your existing strip lights it is always an option providing you accommodate new strip lights with added power supply drivers.
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