Ambient Lighting: The Definitive Guide

ambient lighting

Balancing is essential when it comes to interior lighting. And only correct lighting can emphasize the appearance of your decorations. But too many general/ambient lighting options will get you into deep water. No worries; this guide will help you find the best ambient lighting solution for your interiors!

Ambient lighting is the general lighting that brightens up our entire room. Any natural or artificial lighting source can create this type of lighting. You can go for ambient lighting using various light forms like- bulbs, chandeliers, or LED strips. They all work great in their respective fields. But ambient lighting with LED strips brings you more versatile lighting options. And it also takes your interior designs to the next level.  

In this article, I will give you a complete guide about ambient lighting, including its benefits, where and how to use them, and more. So, without any further delay, let’s jump into the discussion- 

What Is Ambient Lighting?

Ambient lighting works as a substitute for natural lighting. It illuminates your entire space just as any natural lighting does. Thus, any light that enlightens your room falls under ambient lighting. It could be the light of a lamp, a halogen bulb, a chandelier, or the light of the sun/moon. 

The Benefits of Ambient Lighting?

Besides illuminating the entire space, ambient lights bring out many benefits. These are as follows-

Produces Natural Effect

Ambient lighting works as a substitute for natural lighting. It illuminates your room, lighting it as natural daylight. Thus, it brings a natural effect to your room.

Creates Cozy Environment

The warm and cool shades of white lights create cozy and comfortable lighting in your room. Usually, lighting with a dimming option is compatible with relaxing lighting effects. You can also get such lighting using floor or table lamps, chandeliers, or LED strips. 

Highlights Special Areas

You can highlight specific areas of your room by using ambient lighting. For example, placing track lights over an artwork will focus it while diffusing the light throughout the room.

Reduces Glaring

Ambient lighting is a form of indirect lighting. So, it doesn’t create hotspots concentrating on a specific area. Instead, the light beams of ambient lighting spread in all directions. Thus they reduce glaring.   

Add Moodiness

The color of light has a significant impact on our mood. For example- warm lights create a calm and relaxing mood. Meanwhile, an excellent color helps create an energetic and exciting mood in your lighting.  

Therefore, these are the benefits of ambient lighting. You can use this lighting for your house, office, restaurant, or other commercial areas. It will illuminate your entire space with a natural glow and bring an aesthetic look to your interiors.    

How Does Ambient Lighting Look?

Ambient lighting refers to general lighting that illuminates the entire space. So, the outlook of ambient lighting is close to natural lighting. 

The source of this type of lighting can be natural or artificial. Like- sunlight entering your room through the window or the illumination of a chandelier, both are an example of ambient lighting. 

Besides, the lights from small light sources like- table lamps also fall under ambient lighting. That is because it creates an overall lighting impact on the entire room. 

living,room,interior
Chandeliers

What Lights Can You Use For Ambient Lighting?

There are many options for ambient lighting. Among these, the most effective lights to use for ambient lighting are as follows- 

Chandeliers 

Chandeliers are excellent at creating subtle ambient lighting. It hangs on the ceiling and comes in different shapes, sizes and designs. So lighting with chandeliers is great for enlightening your dining space, living area, or bedroom. Besides, modern chandeliers’ simplicity makes them suitable for any place. 

Track Lights

In-track lighting light fixtures are connected on a track, allowing position adjustment. You can create ambient lighting using them in your living room, dining space, office, etc. Besides, these lights highlight any area/object in your room. 

Pendant Lighting

Pendant lighting has a long stand that hangs the light fixtures closer to the table or working station. They provide a soft ambient glow to your space. You can use them on your dining table, kitchen area, or workstation. Apart from these, they are excellent as decorative lighting. The designs of pendant lights give an aesthetic look to your interior decoration. 

Pot Lights

Pot lights are also known as recessed lighting. These lights are fitted on the ceiling, emitting light downward, creating ambient lighting. You use them anywhere, combined with LED strips in the bedroom, washroom, conference room, etc. 

Table & Floor Lamps

Table lamps have been used from very early ages, but floor lamps have recently become popular. They stand out in creating a soft and aesthetic look to your interior. You can place them in the corner of your living or drawing room. They complement well when placed beside sofas or couches. 

Halogen & LED Bulbs 

Halogen bulbs or LED bulbs are standard for general lighting. They come in different sizes and work great as ambient lighting. Besides, you can create decorative lighting with halogen bulbs. It can work great to develop vintage interior lighting. 

Flexible LED Strips

In creating ambient lighting, flexible LED strips work like magic. They create indirect lighting without glare. Besides, they take your interior lighting to the next level. Again, LED strips are suitable to use both indoors and outdoors. And they also come with color variations and many other advanced options. 

So, you can choose any of these discussed lights for creating ambient lighting. But an LED strip is your best choice for advanced lighting options like color changing, brightness adjustment, or tuning with music. 

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Table & Floor Lamps

How To Create Ambient Lighting With LED Strips

LED strips can work great to create ambient lighting. There are many ways you can produce such lighting. Some of those ways are as follows- 

Indirect Lighting

Indirect lighting is the most effective way to bring a natural lighting effect. The light source remains hidden behind a false ceiling or walls in this lighting. And you can quickly get this soft glow using LED strips.

Task Lighting

LED strips work great for creating ambiance effects for task lighting. For instance, installing LED strips under your kitchen cabinet will produce enough illumination for the workstation. You can also use them in the dining area or bathroom. 

Dimmers

Dim to warm LED strips produce a candle-like effect that works best for ambiance lighting. It offers you different shades of warm white, creating a cozy atmosphere. Dimming the lights changes the color temperature of the LED strips, and that’s how you can make an ambiance effect with dim to warm LED strips. 

Accent Light

Accent lighting focuses on a particular area or object. And in doing so, LED strips can help you. You can use them on your bookshelf or showcase. Besides using these strips on your wardrobe, shoe racks uplift your closet’s outlook. Accent lighting with LED strips is also great for highlighting products in showrooms or outlets. 

Cove Lighting

You can use LED strips around the edges of the walls as cove lighting. Here the illumination directly falls to the ceiling and glows the entire area creating cozy ambient lighting. 

Recessed Lighting 

You can light the ceiling of your house or office using LED strips as recessed lighting. In doing such lighting, there are chances to get creative. For example- you can make different lighting shapes on the wall using these flexible strips. It will give your indoor decoration a unique look plus assist you in creating a mood. 

Mood Lighting

Colors play a vital role in creating a mood. And the color variations available in LED strips work best as mood lighting. RGB and RGBW LED strips offer millions of color shades that will change your room color as per your mood. Besides, you can use these colorful LED strips to decorate your bedroom, vanity, or gaming room. 

Combination Of Different Lightings 

Combining different types of lighting works best to create ambient lighting. For example- use LED strips around the walls or as cove lighting. Then you can add chandeliers and spotlights. Besides, LED wall washers also work great to vibe it up. This way, you can give your decorations an aesthetic look by mixing a variety of lighting. 

Thus, with these ways mentioned above, you can create ambient lighting using LED strips. Moreover, the flexibility and color variations available with LED strips make them the best option for creating warmth and a relaxing mood. 

hotel,corridor,ambient,lighting,contemporary,interior,design
Corridor Ambient Lighting

Required Equipment To Create Ambient Lighting With LED Strips

You can create ambient lighting using a few pieces of equipment. Here are the essentials you will need for this lighting purpose-

  • LED Strips
  • LED Driver
  • Connector
  • Scissor or Sharp Blade 
  • Measuring Tape

Using this simple equipment, you can create ambient lighting with LED strips.

How To Install LED Strips For Ambient Lighting

You can easily install LED strips to create ambient lighting using simple steps. Here, I’ve presented the step-wise procedure to install LED strips- 

Step:1: Take Measurements

First, measure the length of the lighting area using a measuring tape. Add one to two inches extra length to your calculation at this stage. 

Step:2: Resize The LED Strips

After deciding the required measurement, it’s time to size the LED strips. These flexible strips have cut marks on the printed circuit board. So, using a sharp knife or scissors, you can easily cut them to your desired length. However, you can rejoin them using connectors if you cut them too short. 

Step:3: Add Connector to The Strip

Now, take an LED connector and attach it to the LED strip. In this case, make sure you have connected the red wire of the connector to the positive ‘+’ marking of the strip. And the black wire to the negative ‘-‘ marking. Once you have connected the cables correctly, press the clip and lock the connector. 

Step:4: Mount The Strip To The Surface 

After connecting the connector to the strip-

  1. Mount the strip to the desired surface.
  2. Pull the adhesive tape on the back of the LED strip and install it to the surface.
  3. Press the strip for 8 to 9 seconds to ensure it sticks firmly. 

Step:5: LED Drive Connection 

Now, take the other end of the connector and connect it to the LED driver. And the next step is to plug the drive into the power supply. That is it; your LED strip installation is complete!

Step:6: Switch On

Turn on the switch and see your strips glowing. But if they don’t light, check the connections and try it again.

Thus, following these simple steps, you can easily install LED strips for your bedroom, kitchen, or dining room without professional help.

Things To Consider In Choosing LED Strips For Ambient Lighting

LED strips work best for ambient lighting at your home, office, restaurant, hotel, etc. But before starting your lighting project, you need to have some basic knowledge about LED strips. Here, I’ve figured out some key facts to consider when purchasing LED strips- 

Place To Use

Before installing LED strips, consider where you want to use them. LED strips are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. For example, if you want to use them to light your bathroom, poolside, or any open space, you must go for a waterproof one. 

Again, the choice of color also varies with the place to use. Like- Cozy spaces like bedrooms, living areas, etc., prefer warm lighting. And for this purpose, dim to warm LED strips work best to create ambient lighting. 

Besides, you can also go for tunable white LED strips that allow you to adjust warm to cool white lighting. It will assist you in creating a suitable atmosphere as per your mood. 

Length

In choosing LED strips for ambient lighting, you should know how long strips your project requires. Usually, the standard LED strips come in 5 meters per reel. So, buy strips keeping this measurement in mind. Yet, for customizable length options, you can go for LEDYi LED strips. 

LED Density

LED strips densely arrange LED chips to create a neat lighting effect. Here the density of LEDs affects the lighting visualization. An LED strip with lower LED density makes hotspots that don’t wash the lights properly. That is why high-density LED strips such as cob led strips are always preferable. They work best to bring ambient lighting without creating any dots. 

Width

A wider LED strip creates more prominent lighting. Usually, the SMD chips within the LED strips are sized, adjusting with the width of the strip. So, when you go for a wider strip, it will give a thicker light effect. But if you want soft and thin lighting effects, go for thinner strips. 

Bend Type 

Primarily LED strips have a vertical bend type, but the S-Shape LED Strips offer you both vertical bending & horizontal bending options. They are also known as Zig-Zag LED strips, as they allow 90-degree horizontal bends creating a zig-zag structure. In addition, you can curve them and form various shapes for signage and advertisement purposes. So, decide what type of bending your lighting requires and select the ideal category according to it.  

Brightness

To know about the brightness of LED strips, you should have a clear idea about the lumen. Lumen indicates the overall brightness of a light source. So, the higher the lumen value, the brighter the light. For example- an SMD5630 LED strip with 50-60lm/LED creates the most brilliant illumination. Yet, you can adjust the brightness by getting a compatible controller with your LED strips to create your desired ambient lighting. 

Color

Choosing a color for your LED strips may sound simple, but the matter is more complex. Because you need to keep in mind the lighting area, purpose, and also your personality while selecting light colors. For example- if you put vibrant color LED strips in an office room or a conference area, that will look entirely inappropriate. Again these same color LED strips will work great in decorating bars, pubs, or restaurants. So, be wise in selecting the color for your lighting purpose. Here are some LED strip options for ambient lighting- 

Single-color LED strips produce monochromatic lighting. You can create only a single color with these LED strips. And for ambient lighting, you can go for amber, yellow, UV, or any soft color of your preference. 

Tunable white LED strips are best for ambient lighting. These strips allow you to adjust the color temperature of white light to produce warm to cool hues ranging from 1800 K to 6500 K. All you need to do is connect your LED strip to a tunable white LED or a DMX controller. And thus, you can control the lighting effects according to your choice.  

Dim to warm LED strips create a natural candle-like effect to your lighting. And for this soft lighting feature, they are great for ambient lighting. These LED strips allow you to adjust the color temperature from 3000K to 1800K. You can get sunrise/sunset effects using these strips as ambient lighting. 

RGBX LED strips are a modern approach to ambient lighting. They offer you a wide range of coloring options. With these strips, you can switch from traditional soft ambient lighting to more modern and colorful lighting choices. Yet, there are different types of RGBX LED strips that you can use for ambient lighting.  

Digital color-changing or addressable LED strips take your general lighting to the next dimension. It uses advanced lighting technology that will blow your mind. With these LED strips, you can control each segment of the strip and create a rainbow-like effect. And because of this, it is also known as magic or dream color LED strips. 

Soft colors work best for ambient lighting. It could be a warm or cool white; even soft, colorful LED strips will also work great. But if you ask for my suggestion, I recommend going for a tunable white or dim-to-warm LED strip for this purpose. None can beat them for creating a natural and cozy ambient vibe! Yet, you can also choose vibrant, colorful options for a modern lighting approach. 

color temperature
color temperature

Color Temperature

The term Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) is used in measuring the temperature of white color. It indicates the shades of white in correspondence to its temperature. That is why knowing about color temperature is essential to get the right idea about the appearance of a light’s color. To get a more precise idea, check the below chart-

Color Temperature (CRI rating)Lighting Effect
1000KCandlelight
2000KTungsten Light
3000KHousehold Light Bulb
4000KNatural Light
5000KDaylight
6000KCool White
7000KOvercast
10000KSkyblue

Thus, color temperatures can bring changes in mood to your lighting. So, in choosing LED strips for ambient lighting, know which color temperature will work best for creating the best vibe in your decoration. And then buy the best one accordingly. 

CRI Rating

Color Rendering Index or CRI rating indicates the color accuracy under any lighting. To get better visibility and accurate color, you should go for LED strips with higher CRI. However, the CRI rating is graded from 1-100. Higher the CRI grade, the better color performance it provides. But for the best color accuracy, go for CRI>90. 

Voltage 

LED strips are available in different voltage ratings. Such as- 5Vdc, 12Vdc, 24Vdc, 36Vdc, and 48Vdc. For heavy lighting, go for a LED strip with a higher voltage. But for a regular house or office lighting, 12Vdc works great. Besides these, customization options allow you to get strips of your desired voltage. 

Power Consumption

The light effect of the LED strips highly depends on their power consumption. So, consider the lighting purpose when buying LED strips. Standard strips usually come with power consumption from  2.4w/m to 30w/m. Besides, with LEDYi LED strips, you can get customized power consumption options suitable for accent, ceiling, and cabinet lighting. 

IP Rating 

Ingress Protection or IP rating indicates the degree of resistance to adverse weather. The higher the IP rating, the more is the LED strip protected from the rugged environment. For example- IP52 indicates protection from dust, and for waterproof LED strips, the IP68 rating is best. So, when creating ambient lighting, decide where you place the LED strips and choose the one with a suitable IP rating.

Controller Type 

An intelligent LED controller can change the game when going for ambient lighting with LED strips. You can easily control your lighting with your smartphone or remote. It also offers you DIY color options. Yet, an addressable LED strip with DMX512 light-controlling technology offers you innovative color-adjusting options.

So, before purchasing LED strips for creating ambient lighting, get a clear idea about these features mentioned above. And these will help you to get the best possible deal! 

Advantages Of Creating Ambient Lighting With LED Strips

You can get many options for creating ambient lighting, but why go for LED strips? There are thousands of reasons to choose LED strips among all other lighting varieties. Such as- 

Durable

The plastic or silicon coating in LED strips makes them flexible and durable. With these strips, no worries about breaking lights during installment. Besides, they last much longer than traditional lights. For example- LED strips of LEDYi come with a five-year warranty and can work effectively for much longer when any traditional light expires.   

Versatile

LED strips offer you various color choices and lighting effects. Besides, it allows you to control the intensity and color of lighting, which makes it even more versatile. Thus you can stand out in creating ambient lighting using LED strips. 

Energy-Efficient

LED strips are highly energy efficient in comparison to regular lighting. It uses about 85% less electricity than incandescent lights. So, using LED strips for ambient lighting will create lighting moods and save your electricity bill!

Dimmable 

The dimming feature of the LED strip assists you in changing the lighting effects as per your mood. So, you can easily control the light intensity and brightness using a remote or smartphone. 

Color Changing Facilities

Tunable White  LED strips offer you the most attractive features regarding LED colors. In addition, you can change the color temperature and bring warm to cool colors. This feature can be the only reason to choose LED strips over other ambient lighting options. 

Waterproof 

If you want ambient lighting for your bathroom or poolside area, LED strips are your best choice. They are available in different IP ratings, which can resist water. You can even light up the inside of your pool using a LED strip with IP68 ratings. 

Aesthetic Outlook 

Using LED strips indoors and outdoors uplifts the entire outlook of your decoration. For example, the soft and warm lighting with LED strips provides an aesthetic appearance to your house, office, or hotel decoration. Meanwhile, the strips producing vibrant pop-up colors can excite your plane and dull environment. So, whatever mood or outlook you want to create, LED strips will work best!

Thus, LED strips will bring you an excellent ambient lighting experience.  Besides, it will stand out your interior decorations and save you money!

How Bright Should Ambient Light Be?

It is essential to have sufficient visibility when choosing the brightness for ambient lighting with LED strips. However, the requirement of light brightness varies with place. Here, I’ve suggested some brightness rating ideal for different areas of your house- 

Lightening Area Recommended Brightness 
Bedroom 2000 – 4000 lumen 
Living room1500 – 3000 lumen
Bathroom3000 – 35000 lumen 
Dining Area 470 – 800 lumen 

Yet, get a suitable controller for your LED strip that will allow you to adjust the light’s brightness as per your mood. Yet, you can get suggestions from LED experts for suitable illumination for your space. For example, LEDYi offers customizable LED strips, where you can get appropriate brightness for any lighting solution. 

cove lighting 4
ceiling lighting

Where To Use LED Strips For Ambient Lighting

You can use ambient lighting in multiple places to get adequate visibility. Here, I’ve suggested you some ideas where you can use LED strips for general/ambient lighting- 

Ceiling

LED strips are the best option for ceiling lighting. And to do so, you can follow various lighting patterns. For example- outlining the ceiling with LED strips or experimenting with shape and structure will work great for ambient lighting. Besides, creating a false ceiling and installing LED strips like cove lighting will make an excellent indirect lighting effect.

Bedroom

You can use dim to warm LED strips in your bedroom to create a soft, cozy environment. The warm lights of these LED strips help you to sleep better. Besides, going for RGBX LED strips will also give your bedroom a colorful and vibrant look. So, choose the one that goes best with your personality. 

Bathroom

For lighting, bathroom LED strips work great. You can use warm or cool white shades in your bathroom’s lighting. Besides, using LED strips around the mirror or bathtub will give a unique and uplifted look to your bathroom decorating. Of course, you can also go creative in using this lighting on your bathroom floor. But whatever the design you choose, pick a waterproof LED strip.

Cinema Room

A cinema room requires different lighting to create the right mood. Here, colorful lighting options with RGB LED strips are preferable to tunable white shades. But, again, going for addressable LED strips will change the entire appearance of your cinema room. In addition, these types of strips can change their color, responding to music and backgrounds. 

Kitchen Cabinet 

Using LED strips to light up your kitchen gives a classic look to your kitchen area. You can use them above and under your cabinet to highlight the textures of your kitchen. Besides, they light up your cooking station for proper visibility. 

Vanity Lighting

Lighting around mirrors and drawers gives your vanity an aesthetic look. Here you can use tunable LED strips to create a nice white glow for your vanity. Yet, in the case of choosing LED strips for this purpose, keep the CRI rating in mind. 

Gaming Room

RGB or addressable LED strips are great for lighting a gaming room. They create an exciting mood for the entire room with various color combinations that goes well with the gaming theme. 

Garage

Lighting with LED strips adds a new dimension to the entire outlook of the garage. For example, you can use them on the ceiling, floor, or to mark the car parking areas, etc. 

Staircase

LED strips glow the staircase when you use them as accent lighting. They are ideal for use on the stairs of your house, office, restaurant, hotel, or any commercial area. 

Automobile

In creating ambient lighting for cars, LED strips never skip their beat. You can install them inside or outside your vehicle. For example- using a car headlight, beneath the seat, around the windows, under the car, etc. 

automobile ambient lighting
automobile ambient lighting

Office

In light of your office, you can use LED strips in two ways- task lighting and accent lighting. LED strips on the ceiling of your conference room or workstation will be great for task lighting. Again you can use it on the shelves and cabinets to enhance your office outlook. Besides, flexible wall washers will also look great behind the receptionist’s desk, lighting the company name, etc. 

Closet 

LED strips are your best lighting solution if you have a walk-in closet. You can use them to highlight your accessories, bag shelves, shoe racks, etc. Besides, placing these strips inside your wardrobe will also work great. 

Highlight Artwork

You can use LED strips to highlight any artistic elements in your house. It could be a painting, showpiece, photo frame, or any displaying piece; LED strips can grab your guest’s attention toward it. 

Bookshelf

Besides keeping books organized, a bookshelf adds a decorative statement to your space. For example, LED strips in the bookshelf will work excellently as decorative lighting and help you find books quickly. 

Aquarium Lighting

Waterproof LED strips will work best in lighting aquariums. There are many colorful options to choose from for this purpose. Yet, you can go for blue LED strips that will add an ocean vibe to your aquarium lighting. 

Backyard Lighting 

You can use colorful or plain white LED strips to light the backyard of your house. For example, outlining the boundary walls or decorative plants with flexible strips will create aesthetic ambient lighting in your backyard. 

FAQs

Of course, you can create ambient lighting without a false ceiling. Ambient lighting means mood lighting. And you can make it using spotlights, chandeliers, ceiling lighting with LED strips, etc. So, you don’t necessarily need a false ceiling to create ambient lighting.

Balancing is essential when going for ambient lighting. For example, if you place ambient light in the corner of a room that illuminates only a specific part of the room, it will not be effective. So, for better results, place the ambient lights on the ceiling to brighten the room. 

The back of LED strips has a strong adhesive to stick firmly to the surface. So, when you uninstall them, they may mass up the walls. That is why it is better to hot blow the strips before pulling them. Doing so will loosen the adhesive causing minimal damage to the wall. 

You can use LED strips to create ambient lighting behind the TV. Doing so will not only give an uplifted look to your monitor but will also reduce eye strain. But make sure to choose the brightness of the LED strips that is compatible with the monitors.  

Whether ambient lights will work with dimmer switches depends on the type of light you use. For example- incandescent bulbs, halogen light bulbs, CFLs, and some LEDs work with dimmer switches. 

Warm and soft colors are best to use for ambient lighting. For cozy ambient lighting, you can go for any color temperature between 2200K – 2700K. 

Ambient lights mean general lighting that illuminates the entire area. So, it could be either natural or artificial lighting. Natural ambient lighting sources are- the sun and the moon. And the light of chandeliers, LED flex, etc., are the source of artificial ambient light. 

Yellow lights protect the retina of your eyes compared to the bluish colors. That is why it is better to use a warm tone when choosing ambient lighting. 

The chandelier light of the chandelier is an excellent example of ambient lighting. As it hangs to the ceiling facing downward, it illuminates the entire room creating soft ambient lighting. 

Red lights have the lowest color temperature. That is why they are ideal for lighting up your room while sleeping. And Blue lights are harmful to sleep because they are the most robust with higher temperatures. 

Conclusion

Ambient lighting is an excellent substitute for natural lighting. We use this form of lighting in our everyday life, houses, offices, restaurants, hotels, and other commercial areas. 

Chandeliers, track lights, LED bulbs, or flexible LED strips are the standard light for creating ambient lighting. Yet, LED strips are the best option to bring ambient lighting to your space. They are suitable to use both indoors and outdoors. Besides, they are durable, waterproof, and cost-effective. 

LEDYi can be your ultimate lighting solution if you are looking for aesthetic ambient lighting options. We provide certified LED strips and neon flexes, ensuring top-notch quality. Apart from these, we offer customizable options to our customers to meet their requirements. So, contact us ASAP to get the best LED strips for your lighting project!

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