Cove lighting is a form of indirect lighting built into ledges, recesses or high up on the walls of a room, and LED cove lighting adds a lovely energy-saving and fully customisable aspect to it. It directs light up towards the ceiling and down adjacent walls. It may be used as primary lighting or as an aesthetic complement, especially to highlight decorative ceilings.
Cove lighting previously referred to a row of LEDs placed behind the framework above a window (or plasterboard moulding). However, with the advent in the popularity of LED strip lighting, they are now seen in a wider variety of locations.
The resurgence in cove lighting shows that designers are responding inventively to new avant-garde style houses. In this article, we will explore the benefits of cove lighting and whether it may be right for your home or property.
Where is it suitable to place LED cove lighting for optimal style and convenience?
Cove lighting is now a common feature in dropped ceilings, or the ‘architectural slot’ (a slot usually placed along a ceiling). This slot reaches to within a few centimetres of the wall.
Alan Tulla, the technical editor at Lux, believes that the typical modern home is full of suitable locations for cove lighting. He says:
Once you start looking… you will find that there are scores of aluminium extrusions of different shapes and dimensions to suit just about any shape of ceiling/wall and room configuration
Some cove systems must be plastered in and require skilled builders, while others are very easy to fit yourself. Sparks offers a whole range from Teucer LED and also FOSS LED who both have a large and most advanced range of strip lights in the UK.
For instance, Teucer’s Waterproof 5m LED Strip boasts a 19.2W/m – an impressive cove lighting display for your ceilings or walls.
What’s more, this product is dimmable and has a 120-degree beam angle to create the perfect ambience for your room. Its IP65 rating means it is suitable for use indoors and outdoors, and the same can be said of many cove lighting schemes.
Many of the more flexible cove systems will bend in one or two planes, meaning they can be guided in different directions across a surface. This would be ideal, for instance, if you wanted a cove lighting system that began in your living room and then angled off into your open plan kitchen.
Factors to consider when choosing LED cove lighting – practical or aesthetic?
A key decision to make is whether your cove lighting will be merely nice to look at, or actually have a practical use. A single faint glowing light across your kitchen will lend it a decorative glow, but will not be bright enough to help you find cooking utensils in the middle of the night.
If you take the more practical option, with more optimal light output, then you can illuminate an entire room. This will give enough illumination to actually help you find your way about.
Other forms of lighting, such as T5 fluorescent battens can emit well over 2,000lm/m which is bright enough to indirectly light a room. However, unlike cove lighting, they can only be used in straight lines and are limited to fixed lengths.
Meanwhile, Teucer’s 28.8W/m strip light for example offers an incredible 2750lm/m – more than enough to indirectly illuminate a room. It can be cut every 29.5mm along its 5-metre reel, which highlights just how adjustable the light is.
Factors to consider when choosing cove lighting – placement and colour rendering
One thing to consider, however, is why should you choose cove lighting as an option in the first place? It is considered a ‘decorative’ kind of lighting so the way in which it is placed is very important.
The LEDs in a cove lighting system should not be too bright as to distract or cause glare. However, you can easily overcome this by locating them away from ‘hot spots’, e.g areas which are already well illuminated by other lights.
It is wise to place them over matt surfaces which are known to minimise these ‘hot spots’, as opposed to glossy surfaces which will maximise the effect.
Colour rendering is an important factor when it comes to cove lighting. LED fixtures can produce illumination in a range of colour temperatures and intensities. This includes the warm tones of incandescent fixtures and pure white tones that are perfect for rendering other colours.
FossLED stock brilliantly convenient and powerful strip lighting with high CRI ratings. For example, their 24V Dimmable LED Striplight offers an incredible CRI of 92+.
The benefits of LED cove lighting summarised
Indirect cove lighting is decorative illumination at its finest, showcasing the delicate features of any space. These fixtures are available as strip lamps and are easily kept out of sight. The low profile is crucial to their aesthetic appeal because they rely on softer illumination to create a warm glow.
This is opposed to traditional fixtures mounted in the ceiling which are exposed, producing harsher radiance and shadows.
Cove lighting systems will perfectly blend in with furniture or architectural features – so look into the relevant drivers, connectors and striplights that Sparks has to offer. Cove lighting can subtly complement a classy, modern home without drawing attention – it may be the perfect lighting solution for you.