LED Ambient Lighting: How to Create Ambient Lighting With LED Strips

Posted by Birddog Lighting on Nov 8th 2018

LED Ambient Lighting: How to Create Ambient Lighting With LED Strips

Ambiance isn’t just a nifty sounding French word to whip out at social gatherings. It has some direct effects when applied to the real world.

Creating ambient lighting in your home bridges the gap between your internal and external worlds. Why not paint the walls with a mood and let it radiate how you feel?

With LED ambient lighting effects and designs, you can transform a space into a setting. Not just one setting either, the newest LEDs feature programmable options so you can build several effects in the same room.

Read on to learn why ambient room lighting has become a decor must.

LED Ambient Lighting Benefits

Would it surprise you to find out that LED (light emitting diode) light is naturally colored? This quality makes them use slightly more power when creating white light over colored lighting effects.

No other choice for lighting provides as much energy efficiency for the same effect. LED ambient lights also broadcast little heat. This means their use in tight locations won’t cause burning and discoloration like other lights.

Outside of these nifty benefits, LEDs also boast significant Longevity and Versatility. These traits grow when compared to other light sources.


According to the US Department of Energy, the median lifespan of LEDs is 52,000 hours or 6 years. That is if they were running continuously the whole time.

Many people run their lights only for an average of 6 hours a day (8 in the winter). That puts the lifespan of an LED fixture in the ballpark of 18-24 years.


The power source for LEDs run in serial circuits along long chains with no loss of brightness to units at the end of the line. This provides bright and even lighting across large surfaces.

Neon lighting effects are notorious for bright and black spots (which, admittedly is its own kind of ambiance).

LED mood lighting strips are low profile. You can attach them on to the floor without fear of tripping over them. You can stick them under a counter or even suspend them from string easily.

No other light source can get into as many places with DIY techniques. Other light sources require professional lighting engineers to construct installations. Even then, the effects are often limited.

Ambient Lighting Ideas

Ambient lighting combines several different concepts and techniques to create an overall mood.

Consider all of the surfaces of a room and where light can come from. While overhead lighting may be most effective for seeing with, lower lighting can provide depth. Combinations of dimmer and brighter light give shape and contour to shadows, which can change the visual dimensions of a room.

Reflected light can diffuse and scatter which creates new tones and qualities. Targeted task lights can draw the eye to a key feature or provide exceptional visual assistance.

Let’s break down the four key techniques for establishing LED mood lighting.


Dimmer switches make any lighting project better. You literally dial in the level of light you want.

Dimmers attached to multiple light fixtures can allow you to shape and contour the light in an area as if you were painting with the light.

Darkening the ceiling and brightening the lower lights creates an ethereal or spectral feeling. The reverse forms a warm and inviting space perfect for reading or enjoying company.

Dimmers are best installed by a professional for set light fixtures. However, with LED mood lighting strips, dimmers operate through a control unit. A computer program directs the unit with easy software and no extra knowledge needed.


Accent lighting is about adding color and illumination to areas that normally fade into the background. The same way accessories draw attention to otherwise overlooked bits of the body.

Mounting an LED strip to the underside of a counter can create a wonderful glow for enticing the eye to the contents above. Lights along molding or cabinets provide ways to show off curios and collections.

Light runners along the floors can create pathways which can be color-coded to direct traffic at an event.

The flexible housing of LED lights allows them to be quickly molded to any shape needed. Anchor the lightweight LED strips adhesives or spaced brackets and staples.

If you use staples, you want to go with something larger than the strip so as not to pierce the housing. This won’t cause an electrical shock but can interrupt the flow and blank out sections of a strip.

Task Lighting

Design spotlights for helping with a job or delivering specific attention to a feature with LED strips. Diffuse lighting built into the wall of a bedroom provides enough direct illumination to read while being soft enough to sleep under.

LED lights are durable. Consider freezing them into a block and then shaping the block into a quick geometric pattern for an amazing DIY ice sculpture.

Provide extra light to a work area like a sewing desk, a painting easel, or a workbench. Simply stick up the lights to any nearby surface. House lights in reflective surfaces to amplify their power.

Task lighting lets you bring one area of a room into full view and still have the rest in a combination of smooth and dim illuminance.

Indirect Lighting

A touch of color or the addition of a shadow manipulates the way we see space. Apply some LED strips if you want a hallway to look as if it goes on forever or stops in sudden darkness.

Evening out the lighting in a room can open it up and make the whole space feel usable. Too often incandescent bulbs create halos of light which force you into the center and away from the shadowy corners.

Stairways and bathrooms become safer to traverse later at night. Dim but visible lighting lets you operate without waking up the house or giving you eye strain.

Soft but lower perception lighting has a history in sleep studies with creating different levels of sleep. These can help children sleep better and wake up faster.

Make It Your Own

Don’t limit your lighting choices to old concepts of placement. New lighting technology gives you the freedom to reimagine every space and make it your own.

Ready to get started on your own LED ambient lighting projects? Check out our shop and get started today. We have plenty of other light related advice and information as well.

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