LED Rope Light Basics for Bars and Restaurants

Posted by Birddog Lighting on Dec 14th 2016

LED Rope Light Basics for Bars and Restaurants

Every business needs functional lighting to ensure the safety and security of guests. You don’t want them stumbling around in the dark, after all. As a restaurant or bar owner, you also know that lighting serves other purposes.

In the food service industry, in particular, it’s important to make sure the product looks appealing. You also want to create an inviting atmosphere and wow your guests to create a superior overall dining experience. This is what keeps people coming back instead of going to competitors.

Of course, you’re also working with a budget. That might mean hiring a lighting designer and shelling out the dough for high-end fixtures or lighting installations may not be in the cards. The good news is you can do some amazing custom light displays in your bar or restaurant with rope or strip lights at relatively little expense. Here are a few rope lighting basics to get you started.

Choose Colors

Rope lights come in an array of colors.  You need to think about which products are going to help you accomplish the visual effects that will make your bar or restaurant stand out from the crowd. If you’re going for sophistication, the simplicity of white lights is probably your best bet.  However, if you want something more trendy or edgy, colored lights could really make your interior pop.

Perhaps you have a signature color (like T-Mobile pink) that you want to reflect in your interior decor with lighting. Maybe you want to switch it up seasonally, or even rotate through colors during business hours. With proper controls and products in place you could control rope lighting remotely via smartphone, cycle through colors on a timer, and create presets for different occasions, just for example.

Your budget and imagination will dictate how much or how little you do with rope lighting in your bar or restaurant. It’s best to do some research and understand your options before you simply resign yourself to white lights.

Watch Tutorials

It might surprise you to learn just how easy it is to cut, splice, cap, and add power supplies to rope lighting. If you want to save some dough on your lighting project, there’s no reason you can’t buy rope or strip lights in bulk, cut them to size, and create installations on your own.

There are all kinds of tutorials online that will tell you what you need to get the job done. They will then guide you through the process with instructions, photos, and/or videos. Once you learn the basics you can really begin to branch out. You can create pretty much any kind of lighting project you might dream up.

Highlight Architectural Features

You’ve picked your products and figured out how to shorten or extend your light ropes. Now it’s time to figure out how to use this lighting to improve the function of your space and heighten the aesthetic. One easy way to start is by highlighting architectural features.

You can utilize rope lights both indoors and out (you just have to get appropriate products for outdoor use). Run them under eaves, around doors and windows, or along pretty much any edge to create a variety of effects.

Try placing a rope light under the edge of the bar or along the foot rail. Place it around the bottom perimeter of tables or booth seating. String it above a picture rail or use it to line the back of shelves on a mirrored bar back, illuminating bottles and barware. Try it in different places to see what cool effects you can accomplish.

Think Outside the Rope

When you think of an actual rope, you know that you can swoop it, loop it, tie it in knots, and use it in all kinds of ways. The same is basically true of rope lighting. Why, then, use it solely to line shelves or run along eaves? You can really explore your creativity and come up with some truly eye-popping lighting displays for your bar or restaurant in the process.

You can crisscross lengths of rope light over an outdoor patio for a fiesta feeling. Alternatively, you can lay strips across a patio cover and let them hang over the sides to create a cascade effect or a wall of light that extends to the ground. You can do this indoors, as well, to separate spaces with walls or curtains of light.

If you have a tall entry or stairwell, place equal lengths of rope on a grid to create a custom lighting fixture or arrange cascading lengths in a spiral for a unique effect. You can even craft a wire grid to attach rope light to in order to spell a word or create a custom wall graphic. Don’t limit yourself to traditional light usage – with rope lighting you can do so much more and really wow your bar and restaurant patrons.