LED lights add an amazing look and feel to a room. In general, they are the most effective and look best after dark, and there are a range of ways to install them and a bunch of different types.
This article is a complete guide to decorating a bedroom with LED lights. It’s suitable for both people who have never installed LED lights/strips before and people who have some experience behind them. It’s chock full of some great ideas and tips to get your bedroom looking and feeling amazing. Let’s dig in.
Design Principles & Deciding Where Your LED Lights Will Go
Before getting into the main design principles it’s important to point out that there are 2 primary types of LED lights:
- Strip LED lights
- Recessed LED lights
- Strip LED lights, as the name suggests are a column of light or a column of multiple LED lights.
- Recessed LED lights, also called pot lights, are similar to a typical household bulb. They are flat and circular in shape.
The main principle in design for lighting is to balance out natural light with artificial light. However, colored LED lights like blues and reds typically look the best at nighttime. The main thing to consider during the day is where the natural light is.
According to lighting experts, you typically want to concentrate artificial lights in the area of the room away from the natural light source.
For example, if you have a big window on one side of the room. Place lighting on the other side of the room to balance it out, and make the entire room feel illuminated. Doing so will provide the best amount of light in a bedroom.
But, LED strips can be put almost anywhere. There are a range of places to put LED strips. Typically the places that look the best are:
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- Window frames
- Recesses in the wall
- The door
Design Rules Around Recessed LED lights in a Bedroom
As you may know, there are what are called recessed LED lights. An advantage of recessed lights is they mount right into the ceiling and are a flat circular shape. However, it’s important to match the type of LED lights you use to the type of room. LED lights are different from typical bulbs because the color range falls on a really wide spectrum.
LED lights for a bedroom should be about 3000K. This is shown on the box for the bulb, or explained in the product description. Higher kelvin bulbs such as 4000K to 5000K provide a white/bluer light that is better suited to kitchens, bathrooms, and garages. And don’t provide the right relaxed mood for a bedroom.
This is separate from colored LED lights. For these, a good idea is to match the color of the light to the decor. For example, if you have bedspreads that have red tones, use red LED lights. The good thing with colored LED lights is the color can be changed with the press of a button.
The Advantages of LED Lights Over Other Kinds of Lights
The main advantage of LED lights is that the bulbs last an incredibly long time. In some cases, they can last 10 years or more with regular use. They also don’t get nearly as hot as regular bulbs. So, they can be installed as LED light strips on almost anything.
LED lights do come in a range of colors. But, for bedrooms, you won’t be able to take advantage of this. Regular bulbs do come in a range of different colors. However, this is done by tinting the glass, rather than the light itself. As a result, the quality of the color isn’t as good on regular bulbs compared to LED bulbs.
Consider Recessed LED lights with Dimmers
Even with LED lights in the correct Kelvin range, many people feel that their recessed LED lights are a bit too bright. This becomes even more apparent in a bedroom, where you go to relax and unwind. Therefore, especially in a bedroom, it’s a good idea to install recessed LED lights with dimmers.
However, many dimmers you can buy don’t work with LED lights. So it’s important to make sure the dimmer works with LED lights. Also, many LED bulbs don’t work with dimmers. So you also need to get LED bulbs that are compatible with dimmers.
Where to Place Recessed LED Lights
When planning out ceiling recessed lights you need a certain amount to light up a room properly at night. According to lighting experts, here are some general rules about where to place recessed LED lights:
- A row should be spaced no more than 4 feet (1.2 m) apart
- They should be more than 2 feet (60 cm) away from a wall
- Space them at least 2 feet from a ceiling fan
Recessed LED lights placed less than 4 feet apart in a row, generally won’t provide enough light coverage. And LED lights closer than 2 feet to a wall can cause what’s called grazing. This has the effect of making the contours and fixtures on the walls stand out which doesn’t look very good in virtually every case.
If recessed LED lights are spaced too close to a ceiling fan they can create a mild strobe light effect, which is very uncomfortable.
Installing Recessed LED Lights
Now that you’re aware of how to space recessed LED lights, it’s important to know how to install them. It’s best to have a qualified electrician or lighting electrician install them, but it’s also possible to install them yourself.
It generally requires you to cut holes in the ceiling where they will be mounted. And then connect them to the electricity. Here’s a really good video that shows the process of how to install recessed LED lights:
LED Strip Lights: Common Design & Install Mistakes to Avoid
LED strip lights look amazing. And really gives a bedroom a wow factor. There are a range of common mistakes that can make LED strips not look as good as possible.
It’s true that mounting an LED strip directly to the wall can look great. But there are two issues with installing LED strips where they will be exposed:
- During the daytime, exposed LED strips look quite ugly
- When turned on they give off quite a harsh light
This can be solved where possible by installing them out of sight, and so that they’re projecting onto another surface, rather than directly towards you. However, doing so isn’t always possible.
In these cases, you should install the LED strips inside what’s called a channel. It also has a diffuser cover. This not only hides the ugly look of exposed LED strips, but also diffuses the light, which looks far better.
These channels run about the same price as strip LED lights themselves. And are about $1 per foot (30 cm). An average wall in a bedroom is about 14 feet. Which comes out to about $15 for a full wall. Or, $30 for a full wall of both the LED strips and the diffuser channel.
For installing curved LED lights you can get silicon covers. Such as around the edge of a curved couch. The main thing is to make sure the LED strip will fit inside the silicon cover.
Installing Corners Incorrectly
It’s common online to find people recommend creating a loop on the corners. This does, however, create hot spots, where one part of the LED light strip is brighter. This detracts from the overall look of the LED lights.
The best way to install corners is to get corner connectors. These are a bit tricky to install but create a uniform strip of LED lights that looks far better. The main thing with corner connectors, is to get one with the right amount of pins. LED lights can have 3 to 5 pins.
So, get corner connectors with the same number of pins as your specific LED light. Otherwise they won’t be compatible and be unusable. For example, for an LED strip with 3 copper connectors that run through it, get corner connectors with 3 pins. You then trim the LED lights where required, and attach the connector to one end.
Step by Step: How to Install LED Strips
To begin with, sketch out where you will be putting your LED strips. It’s best to create a top-down sketch of your room marking out the bed, and other fixtures like desks. And then note where they will go.
This can be done in your head, or you may simply want to just place one along the entire perimeter of the ceiling, (in which case you can skip this step). But you’ll also need to plan for where the receiver will or where it will plug into the wall outlet. Here are the steps to installing LED strips:
- Plan where you will plug the LED light into the wall outlet
- Clean and prep the area where they will be installed
- Install channels, recommended but not required
- Lay the strip, starting at a corner, or at one end where they will be
- Add connectors along the way as required
- Connect it to the receiver and/or wall outlet
Each of these steps is fairly self-explanatory, and instructions also come with LED lights and they also cover how to prep the area. But there are a few things you need to be aware of:
- If connecting two separate rolls of LED lights, both need to be the same way up. Otherwise, it won’t be possible to change the color of both strips.
- Never turn them on when they’re rolled up. Because the lights are stacked on top of each other, they can overheat.
- When peeling back the backing strip, only peel back 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 cm) at a time. Otherwise, it’s easy to accidentally stick them where they should be. And/or dust and debris can get on the adhesive.
- The ceiling provides a perfect straight edge. But to lay them anywhere else, you need to mark a straight line using a carpenter’s level and masking tape spaced every half a foot (15 cm) or so. That way you can make a perfectly straight line with the LED strip.
- After sticking it to the wall, or channels, go back over the entire length and press them down firmly a few times to make sure they’re stuck really well.
Can You Light an Entire Room With Only LED Lights?
As mentioned earlier, there are two main types of LED lights, recessed (or pot) LED lights, and strip LED lights. Strip LED lights installed in reasonable amounts, don’t provide enough light to do many typical things you need lights to do.
But with recessed LED lights, or a combination of recessed and strip LED lights, it is entirely possible…
In general, you can light an entire room with only LED lights. To completely illuminate a room you need to use recessed LED lights. They need to be spaced 4 feet (1.2 m) apart at the most. About 4 recessed LED lights are required for an average-sized bedroom.
Also, don’t install recessed LED lights closer than 2 feet (60 cm) from a wall. If there is more than a 6-foot space between one recessed LED light at the wall, then install another recessed light. This will account for the 2-foot space between the wall. As well as, for the minimum spacing of 4 feet in between LED lights.
How Many LED Lights Strips Do You Need for an Entire Room?
An average-sized bedroom is 14 feet (4.3 m) by 16 feet (4.9 m). LED light strips typically come in 30-foot rolls. Therefore, to create a continuous line of LED lights around an entire room you will need 2 rolls of LED strip lights. This will serve as a rough guide.
But, it’s best to measure your room and then calculate how many rolls you need based on the fact that each roll of LED strips is 30 feet.
For example, if you want two lines of LED lights, such as around the ceiling and around the floor, you will need 4 rolls of LED lights. And if you want a continuous line around the ceiling or floor, and then a bit more to accent fixtures like your bed, then you will need 3 rolls of LED lights.