How to Mix and Match Colored LED Light Strips

Posted by Birddog Lighting on Dec 4th 2017

How to Mix and Match Colored LED Light Strips

Colored lighting can transform the mood of any space. To set the tone in yours, check out the following tips for using colored LED light strips together.


Often times, when we think about adding color to a room, we think about paint. But have you ever considered adding colored lights instead?

Using colored lights is a new decorating tool that many designers have permanently placed in their toolbox. Changing the color of lights can significantly alter the look and feel of a room.

LED lights strips have evolved significantly and are rapidly rising in modern lighting design all over the world. Architects and designers are choosing to use LED light strips in residential, commercial, and industrial projects at an increasing rate.

This is because it not only increases efficiency, but there are numerous options when it comes to color and brightness.

Colored lighting can transform the mood of any space. Knowing how to mix and match your colors can also impact the result greatly. Check out the following tips for using colored LED light strips together

Working With Colored LED Light Strips

Understanding Color Theory

Colors are important when trying to make things look good, whether it’s the clothes you wear or the way the paint on your walls match your furniture. But what do you do when you’re not sure if certain colors go together?

If you can’t trust your own judgment, understanding the basics of color theory will always help you pick the right colors.

The Basics

Complementary colors are two colors that fall opposite each other on the color wheel. For example, violet and yellow, or red and green.

Split complementary colors use three colors. This option takes one color and matches it with the two colors adjacent to its complementary color. For example, red, blue-green and yellow-green.

Analogous colors are any three colors that fall next to each other on the color wheel. For example, blue, blue-green, and green.

Triadic colors are any three colors that are equally apart on the color wheel. For example, green, orange, and violet.

Tetradic or double complementary colors combines four colors together, in the form of two sets of complementary colors. For example, blue and orange are paired with green and red.

Now that you understand the basics of color theory, you’ll be able to choose the right color to mix and match your colored LED light strips for your space.

Something else to be aware of is that using color in lights is slightly different than mixing and matching colors of solid objects. This is because not only can lights be adjusted based on brightness preference, lights can also be mixed creating an entirely new color.

Let’s get into mixing and matching colors when it comes to lights.

Additive Color Theory

The first method of coloring light is the additive theory which presents itself primarily in RGB lighting. RGB includes the colors: red, green, and blue.

The additive theory works by fading up and down the colored LED lights in order to mix the colors into the desired result. Additive color mixing is the best way to get deep colors.

Subtractive Color Theory

The subtractive color theory usually presents itself in CNY lighting. CNY includes the colors: cyan, magenta, and yellow.

Mixing the CMY colors when subtracting from white light gets better results than using RGB colors to subtract. In short, the CMY color wheel subtracts from white light, while the RGB color wheel adds colored light.

Matching RGB And CMY

Mixing and matching RGB and CMY lights is how you can play with your lights to make sure you get the exact shade of color you want. If you are just pairing your colored LED light strips next to one another, then basic color theory is enough to know what is going to look good.

Colors Have Emotions

Colors are often times associated with specific emotions and feelings. When lighting your space, this is definitely something you should be aware of. Color psychology is a subject that has been studied by scientists for centuries.

Below are some of the common pairings that are generally agreed upon.

  • Red: evil, anger, fear
  • Yellow: bright, happy
  • Orange: intimate, warm
  • Violet: royal, fun, playful
  • Green: nature, money, growth

If you are designing with colored LED light strips, you will definitely need to keep in mind how different colors influence the emotion of the space.

How To Use Your Colored LED Light Strips

There are several different ways you can use LED light strips throughout any space. Light strips can highlight and accept specific objects such as architecture, artwork, or any other features that are not being featured enough with just ambient lighting.

Using your colored LED light strips, you can add backlighting behind computer monitors, around artwork, in cabinets, on stairs, or underneath furniture. Not only do they look great, often times they provide very practical purposes too.

For example, light strips can help light a dark hallway so that children can find their way to the bathroom easily.

Besides providing a variety of lighting options that will suit any space, LED lights also come with several advantages. Some of these include longer lifespan, uses less power, easy installation, and highly efficient.

Consider Existing Decor

Before you get started with your colored lighting, you should also know that colored light is only visible because it reflects off of a surface. That means that a white surface is best when trying to get the most out of colored lighting.

That is why is it very important to consider your existing decor. If you have dark walls, the effects of the colored lighting will be muted. If you have brightly colored walls, the colored lighting will mix with that color and may result in a color result you do not like.

Ideally, you will have pure white walls. That will allow your space to be an empty canvas which can reflect your colored lighting the best.

Ready To Start Mixing And Matching?

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of how to mix and match colors to best fit your space. Colored lighting is a great way to set the mood and personalize your space.

Check us out to find out more ways to create your perfect space with LED lights!

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