Cove Lighting: The Definitive Guide

Lighting is a vital aspect of enhancing the aesthetics of a space. You cannot afford to go wrong with it because it has the potential to make your living spaces look dull. It is precisely why interior designers emphasize using appropriate lighting in living areas.

But sometimes, even after spending decent capital on lighting, the living space looks better than you want. It misses that extra flair, which is where Cove Lighting comes in. Such lighting is versatile and enhances the aesthetics of living spaces. But you must know everything about it before deciding to use it in your home or office. So, let’s get straight to it.

What Exactly is Cove Lighting?

Cove lighting is a technique that uses indirect light to illuminate the area. In the film industry, award-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins used this method in his various movies, popularizing this lighting method. Some movies which used cove lighting are; Blade runner 2049, Prisoner, and The Shawshank redemption.

This type of lighting is significantly popular in households now as it doesn’t require ceiling, fan, or hanging lights. In the conventional method, the fixture of light is visible, which takes away, most of the time, the aesthetic value of the environment, but you can resolve this issue with the help of cove lighting as the light source is hidden valances, ledges, and other places like them. Some houses use Cove Lighting in the kitchen, living room, and bedrooms to provide a serene atmosphere in the surroundings.

Usually, You use Covelight alongside the conventional method. The harmony between the two looks stunning and adds extra elegance to the atmosphere. You can use Cove light to enhance the delicate and well-carved design of walls, ceilings, Etc. 

LED Strips For Cove Lighting

You can use a variety of LED strips for Cove Lighting. It is easier to hide from the eye’s view in a cove of ceiling or wall. Plus, because LEDs distribute the light evenly, they brighten up the entire space. Furthermore, the variety of LEDs make them the best choice for Cove lighting. You can select from a range of color temperature, CRI and the shapes of LEDs. It makes them more convenient and flexible to use as Cove lights. Market offers compact-size LEDs as well which are ideal when the space in ceilings and other spaces is limited.

You need a large number of lights to Cove Light a space which makes energy consumption a key concern. LEDs offer advantages because they are very energy-efficient and save a lot on energy bills compared to traditional bulbs. Furthermore, the market also offers smart LEDs which are excellent for Cove lighting. You can control their color temperatures, brightness and even color with a tap on your smartphone.

The point is LEDs are the most practical and the versatile option to Cove light a space. Hence, even if the initial investment is a bit higher than traditional lights, the LEDs are the best option for Cove lighting. 

cove lighting

How to Install LED Cove Lighting

Before installing the cove light, we need to check what we need from the cove lighting. There are various uses of cove light. Before installing the cove light, we must decide whether it should be used as a principal light source or for an accent.

To make cove light the principal light source, we need more lumens per foot (400-1000 lumens per foot), while for accent lighting, we require fewer lumens per foot (200-500 lumens per foot).

You should note the temperature of light and shade of white light as it affects the atmosphere. Low-temperature light usually gives a warm and serene atmosphere, while high-temperature light gives the feeling of awareness and focus, which can help us do work properly. 

The Control system is also an essential component as it allows us to change the brightness of the light. It allows us to change the role of cove light from principle to accent-type lighting. It can be an excellent measure to reduce electricity consumption.

The power supply is also as important as a control system. We need a specific size of power supply for specifically led strips. Each strip needs more electricity as more feet and LEDs are added. It is normal to buy a suitable power supply; it helps us to increase the lifespan of LED lights.

There are many ways to install led strips for cove light. Strip lights are flexible and have an adhesive backing, giving us many leeways to install comfortably in most places. You can install it in ceilings, moldings, valances, and other areas.

We need to cut the excessive strip to get the desired length for installing the led strips. Almost all of the cove light strips are produced with cut marks. For cutting the strips, usually, a scissor is used. As all led strips have adhesive at their backside, We have to remove the protective cover so you can stick it to the surface. 

Types of Cove Lighting

Cove lighting with LEDs has two types, LED strip, and Linear LED cove lights. There is a variation in their design, which makes the applications slightly different. 

LED Strip

LED strip cove lighting is the most widespread, which, as the name suggests, uses LED strips. You can mount an extruded LED strip on the wall to create cove lighting. Such lighting is ideal for enhancing the aesthetics of particular areas, such as cupboards and alleys. Furthermore, most LED strips designed for cove lighting have a built-in dimmer. You can use it to adjust the luminosity per a particular area’s requirement.

Linear Cove Lighting

Linear Cove Lighting works best in areas where you want to avoid light lines coming in from different directions. It creates an even lighting environment without producing the glare associated with fluorescent fixtures. You can use it to illuminate the corners of rooms, cabinets, and even baseboards.

Linear Cove lighting provides even light because it uses multiple LED strips installed linearly. You get more flexibility with such lights, which comes at an additional cost. However, if you compare the two forms of Cove Lighting, the Liner one is much brighter than the LED strips.

cove lighting

Benefits of Using LED Cove Lighting

Using LED Cove lighting offers several benefits, from cost-effectiveness to improving the aesthetics of a space. Let’s take a look at them.


Cove Lighting typically uses LED lights that use much less energy than conventional fixtures. You can save a lot on energy bills by replacing incandescent bulbs with LED strips. Furthermore, LED lights are more durable, meaning owners would not have to replace them after every few months. Best part? You do not need new wiring, fixtures, or any other modification in the electrical system to install these lights. 

However, the initial cost of such lights is higher than their conventional counterparts. But it would take a little while before you reach a breakeven point. Hence, while you will spend a bit higher initially, the lights will make up for it with the savings in energy bills.

Aesthetic Enhancement

Cove Lights add an extra flair to the aesthetics of every space. It provides a premium touch that makes the property look more appealing. Furthermore, the lights work perfectly for decoration as they are available in several colors. The famous colors include yellow, blue, red, and green. You can also combine these lights to create a dramatic effect. And because these lights are not visible, no one would know where the light is coming from.

Furthermore, some manufacturers are also offering smart LEDs for cove lighting. You can use these lights to switch the color, brightness, and even the pattern of lights via smartphone. People holding many parties at their homes would find them very helpful.


Versatility is one of the significant selling points of LED cove lights. You can use them in all spaces, including homes, offices, and classrooms. Educational institutes and offices can use them in notice boards to highlight notifications and memos. The restaurant owners can also use these lights to enhance the ambiance and attract more customers.

Furthermore, using smart LEDs in such spaces offer even more benefits. You can switch the lights into different colors to create different themes that go with the festivities. This way, you would only need to hassle a little during the holiday season. A smartphone tap sets the vibe and makes the environment fun for the customers.


Cove Lighting not only improves the aesthetics but also makes the room brighter. The combination of conventional lights with Cove lit-up spaces makes them more productive. When used in the workplace, the workers will experience much less glare from their computer screens. Similarly, writing and reading in such spaces are also more comfortable.

Hence, overall it creates a more productive environment and improves the efficiency of workers.

cove lighting

When Should You Use Cove Lighting

As discussed earlier, Cove Lighting is versatile and flexible, so that you can use them in several spaces. These includes:


You can use Cove Lighting in restaurants to improve the ambiance of the seating area. Furthermore, eateries that offer fine dining would also benefit from installing these lights. The combination of an incredible interior with spectacular lighting will go a long way toward bringing more customers.

Retail Stores

Cove Lighting offers an even light, making them ideal for retail stores. If you install linear cove lighting, the entire store will lit-up and highlight the products stored on the shelves. Furthermore, the falling lights on the products will make them look more appealing. Hence, it will drive more sales.


Cove Lighting improves the lighting condition without producing glare. Using it in the office means the ambient environment will be bright. Thus, the employee would not find the glare of their desktops discomforting. It will prevent fatigue and make the workers more efficient.


The Interior is one of the key attractions of any hotel. As discussed, there is no better way to highlight it than Cove Lighting. You can use the Cove lighting in alleys, hallways, and even above the decoration pieces hung in the reception. The Cove lighting also makes the hotel spaces excellent for taking pictures. And most hotel owners know that being Instagram-worthy helps a lot in attracting more customers. 


Lastly, the Cove lights look just as good in homes as in commercial spaces. You can use these lights to highlight interiors, brighten the living room and create a cozy environment in bedrooms. The Cove LEDs are versatile, which allows them to be as creative as possible with the lighting in a space. 

Things To Look For While Using Cove Lighting in a Space

Now that you are familiar with the benefits of Cove Lighting, it is important that you know some factors to consider while purchasing Cove LED lights. These are;


Cove LED comes in several colors, and only some of them will be suitable for some places. You must identify the color that best suits a particular place and look for it accordingly.

Shade Option

Some Cove LEDs offer a shade option, which makes them even more flexible. You can change the beam angle of the light with the help of clamps and magnets. It eliminates the need for new fixtures. You can install these lights in previous fixtures and adjust their angles per the space’s requirements.


Cove LED lights are available in several shapes and sizes. You have to consider the room’s area and dimensions to pick the right size of the LEDs. Most LED manufacturers offer free services to estimate the right size for a room. So, it is best to get advice from them before purchasing LEDs.


Dimmers allow you to control the brightness of the LEDs. Some LEDs have smart functionality, while others are manual. If you want Cove Lighting for decorative purposes, it is best to get dimmers. It will allow you to switch the brightness of LEDs to create different modes. 

However, while selecting the LEDs with dimmers, remember to check their control. If it has integrated controls, it will make it very tough to control when installed on high ceilings. Similarly, if you want to install a fixture that is accessible, there is no need to spend extra bucks on it. 

More information, you can read How to Dim LED Strip Lights.

Color Rendering Index (CRI)

CRI or Color Rendering Index refers to the capability of artificial light to render natural color compared to sunlight.  You can measure it on scale from 1-100. The LEDs with higher CRI can render the natural colors better, and vice versa.  You can use LEDs with CRI equal to or greater than 80 in your closet to ensure that color of apparels look exactly as it would look in the sunlight. However, there are some areas like bedrooms where you do not want to mimic the sunlight. In such spaces, it is better to use LEDs with lower CRI to create a cozy vibe. 

Thus, while selecting LEDs for Cove Lighting, you should never ignore CRI and select it as per the requirements of space.

More information, you can read TM-30-15: A New Method for Measuring Color Rendition.


Cove Lighting is incredible if you want to enhance the aesthetics of a space. It is the most versatile form of lighting you can use almost everywhere. In addition to improving the looks of the space, such lighting also brightens the area, which makes the area more productive.

The standard cove lighting is between 300-500 lumens per square foot. But the lighting requirement might change in different places. You may even need to go higher than 500 to Cove light some places.

No, you can use the Cove lights in isolation. These need to be more brightly, and using them alone will diminish the utility of an area. Thus, there are better options than using Cove Lights alone.

Rope lights are the best Cove Lights because they are inexpensive and consume less energy. Furthermore, the lights provide a soft glow that does not produce glare. This Cove lighting is slightly brighter than others, making it ideal for living rooms and workspaces.


Energy-efficient, making them an ideal choice when energy prices are skyrocketing. There is no apparent disadvantage to them apart from the initial investment. However, it quickly gets you to the breakeven point with the amount it saves on energy. So, if you were wondering whether the Cove lighting is a good fit for your living or working space, we hope you have your answers.

LEDYi provides premium-quality LED strips and LED neon flex for indoors and outdoors. So, for linear lighting solutions, contact us soon!

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