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led light strips

LED Light Strips are Not What They Used to Be

By Tobias RobertsRise Writer
Sep 4, 2019

With the advent of innovative, energy-efficient LED lighting technology, homeowners can create a unique lighting ambiance in every dark corner of their homes. In the past few months, Rise has reviewed Wi-Fi LED lighting controlssmart mood lighting, and even voice command LED lighting. Smart lighting technology is giving homeowners a whole new level of control over their lights.

Now, homeowners are going “beyond the bulb” with LED light strips. LED light strips at one time were only used in accent lighting or task lighting. However, as the light-emitting diodes have increased luminous efficacy, LED light strips can offer a wide variety of stimulating and attention-grabbing lighting ideas throughout the home.

What Are LED Light Strips?

LED light strips are also known as LED “tape” or “ribbon” light because of their long thin shape. They typically have an adhesive backing, allowing them to be placed in hard to reach places where regular light fixtures are not feasible. These strips are made up of flexible circuit boards that have a series of surface-mounted light-emitting diodes (also known as SMD LEDs). In the past, the relative dimness of these lights could only serve the function of background decoration.

waveform led strip lighting
Photo Credit: Waveform Lighting

Benefits of LED Light Strips

Today, advanced lighting technology can allow LED light strips to function as the primary lighting source in a home. Examples of uses include high brightness task lighting, fluorescent, and halogen lighting fixture replacements, and even growing plants in indoor greenhouses. Imagine a dark corner of your kitchen counter hidden away between the side of your refrigerator and an overhanging cabinet. Placing a small halogen bulb to illuminate that corner would likely require and extensive (and expensive) electrical installation. An LED light strip with an adhesive backing, on the other hand, could easily be installed on the underside of the cabinetry or along the edge of the wall. This allows for a creative and stylish lighting solution that brings to life an area of your kitchen that used to gather dust.

Another benefit of opting for LED light strips is their versatility. They generally come in half-inch thickness and up to 16 feet in length. Cut lines are located every one to two inches allowing you to customize the size of the strips. Individual, tiny LED bulbs are mounted on the strip with anywhere between 18 to 36 LEDs per foot. The adhesive back side of the flexible circuit board allows these strips to be applied to virtually any surface—even curved and uneven surfaces. While typical LED light strips come in warm and cold white colors, you can also find them in a wide variety of unique color combinations.

led strip light color temperature
Photo Credit: LED Supply

In terms of energy efficiency, most LED light strips consume around four watts per foot. A 20-foot LED light strip, then, would consume about 20 watts of energy, comparable to two LED light bulbs or one large CFL (compact fluorescent) bulb. When purchasing LED light strips, the manufacturer usually lists the power draw per foot so that you can choose the most energy-efficient option. LED light strips that emit more than 200 lumens per foot are excellent for primary lighting. Lights under 200 lumens per foot are generally best for accent lighting.

LED Light Strips Sizes

LED light strips are available in many different lengths. As mentioned above, one of the attractions of these types of lights is that they can be cut to size along designated cut lines usually spaced every inch or so. The primary consideration in terms of length is what is known as the “maximum run” for each strip. For standard density LED strips or 30 small LED lights per meter, the maximum run is just over 32 feet. High density LED strips with up to 60 small LEDs per meter only has a maximum run of 16.4 feet. When cutting your LED light strips for a home lighting project, each segment must be connected to a separate DC power supply or to another segment in a daisy chain arrangement.

LED Light Strips - Indoor and Outdoor

LED light strips are appropriate in both indoor and outdoor settings. The adhesive strip can stick to almost any type of surface. If the LED strip is going to be in constant contact with water, moisture, or dust, then opt for light strips labeled for outdoor use. These strips will come with an external environmental rating of IP65 or IP68, meaning that they will be either dust and water-resistant or dust and waterproof.

Examples of How to Use LED Light Strips in Different Rooms of the Home 

LED light strips offer many significant benefits and advantages for innovative home lighting solutions. However, knowing how to use them to maximize their potential is a bit trickier. Below, we offer a few simple design ideas for LED light strips in several different areas of the home.

led light strip kitchen
Photo Credit: Sensio


Many kitchens have cabinets that don’t reach the ceiling. That space above the cabinets is often wasted. Adding some simple LED strip lights to that dark cove can draw interest to your ceiling and highlight architectural details such as unique molding. Under-cabinet lighting also serves to expand your cooking preparation workspace and make your kitchen feel expansive.

living room LED strips
Photo Credit: Homedit

Living Room

One great way to draw interest to family photos or other pieces of artwork hanging on your living room walls is to add some LED light strips to the back of a frame. This light will enhance your photos and artwork while also adding accent lighting to areas of your walls that are usually darker than the center of the room.

sofa led strip lighting
Photo Credit: Geeni Prisma Smart LED Light Strip

Entertainment Room

LED strip lights can make an entertainment room feel like an arcade. For a bit more functionality, add some LED strips around a sofa or armchair—giving you a decent amount of lighting when watching a movie in the dark without interrupting the cinema feel.

Television and Computer Backlighting

LED Light strip tv backlighting
Photo Credit: AGL

Led light strips can also be used for backlighting your television or computer screens. This is an easy way to improve the viewing experience of your screens without investing thousands of dollars into a new smart TV. Led strip bias lighting allows for sharper images and color contrast and also emits beautiful ambient light to your surroundings.

led light strips stairs
Photo Credit: National Lighting


LED light strips can be installed on both outdoor and indoor stairs. This ambiance lighting not only looks great but can also help to prevent falls. The lights can be left on for dark stairs going down to the basement, or as a night light.

LED Light Strip Product Roundup with Pricing

  • KooGeek Smart LED Light Strip: This bright LED light strip incorporates some aspects of smart technology for an innovative lighting solution for your home. KooGeek LED strip is compatible with Android and iOS, as well as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. With your smart home technology, you can play with different sorts of unique automation to wow your guests. The KooGeek starts at $40 on Amazon.
koogeek led light strips
Photo Credit: Koogeek
  • Philips Hue Ambiance LightStrip: Phillips Hue is known for bringing colored mood lighting into your home. They also recently came out with a unique colored LED light strip. While you will have to purchase their smart home hub separately, you´ll be sure to have fun playing with different lighting automation possibilities. The Ambiance LightStrip currently costs $65.84
philips hue led light strip
Photo Credit: Philips Hue
  • LIFX Z LED Light Strip: LIFX Z Led light strips do not require a central smart home hub. For homeowners who aren’t ready to embark upon the smart home journey, they can be easily hand-controlled. This product currently costs $84.99 at Amazon and comes with a dimmable controller. 
lifx led strip lights
Photo Credit: LIFX

There are virtually dozens of uses for LED light strips both inside and outside your home. If you are ready to add an energy-efficient, sleek, and attractive lighting solution to your home, LED light strip products are a great place to start!

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2020-08-02T15:12:45+0000
Tobias Roberts

Article by:

Tobias Roberts

Tobias runs an agroecology farm and a natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador. He specializes in earthen construction methods and uses permaculture design methods to integrate structures into the sustainability of the landscape.

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