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Lighting Design With Rope Lights And Cove Lights

Apr 13, 2008
Rope lights are ideal for short-term specialty displays, cove lighting and decorative holiday lighting. The endless variety of style and bulb options makes them a favorite for event planners and home decorators alike. They are also very good sources of light for tight spots in ceilings. Perhaps their most widespread application in residential settings is for decorative outdoor lighting. Rope lights can add both aesthetic and supplemental light to any outdoor area such as a gazebo, a back porch, or a patio where home entertainment events are hosted. They can also provide a measure of safety lighting when installed along handrails and steps as a linear strip light, and some people even use them to decorate gutters and trellises for an extra touch of sophistication.

Advantages

A number of advantages accounts for the popularity of these widespread and highly versatile lighting elements. They are cost effective and very easy for the end user to install in cabinets. A broad spectrum of kits is available that offers the novice considerable choices in colors, styles, and measurements. These display lights and cove lights are normally dimmable, so high voltage rope lights can still be rendered cost effective simply by reducing the level of light. Furthermore, almost every lighting manufacturer makes 24V and 12V kits to deliver super savings on energy to the home user on a budget.

Rope lights come with a variety of bulb types ranging from traditional incandescent to revolutionary LED lamps. Both offer advantages on different levels. Incandescents produce a very bright light and can clearly be seen when used in conjunction with normal indoor accent lighting. Event planners hosting company parties normally choose incandescent bulbs because they remain clearly visible when other room lights are on. Also, since they are only used for a limited period of time, they consume relatively negligible quantities of power. On the other hand, rope lights used outdoors normally remain on longer and require greater energy efficiency. LED bulbs are generally preferred in this scenario because they only use 20% of the power as incandescents, and they are super cost conscious when installed on a low voltage lighting system.

Drawbacks

Because they are so inexpensive and easy to install, rope lights are often used by builders as adjunct decorations or showcase lighting in spec homes. Their plastic manufacture allows them to be easily bent to fit a variety of surfaces. This feature has its limitations, however. If the rope is bent incorrectly, it can fail to work altogether. Also, in a tight cove or kitchen cabinet lighting these lights will create striations and accentuate wall variances and reflect an uneven distribution of light. If "hot" burning bulbs like incandescent lamps are used, the inferior plastic extrusion of the rope light will begin to turn brown from ultra-violet heat exposure over a period of time.

When used in this manner, rope lights are short lived and will eventually require replacement. This additional cost cancels out the initial front-end savings they normally deliver. Rope lights are also wired in series, so if a single light fails, the entire string fails. At this point a splice can be placed in the line to restore functionality, but the uniformity of the light is compromised and quality begins to diminish.

For these settings, you need an alternative light source specifically designed for lighting indoor coves.

Cove Lights

In larger, vaulted ceilings with coves that reflect the best in today's custom home building, more sophistication than what is provided by rope lights is needed to produce truly effective results. 12 volt cove lighting strips such as the Phantom CM perform much better under these circumstances. Lighting engineers have designed these fixture design to fit any curved radius, as if it was part of the architecture itself.

Many different types of bulbs can be fitted to cove lighting strips. In ceilings with candelabras, the white light of incandescent augments the color of candle and flame. Crystal chandelier fixtures appear golden under xenon bulbs, and contemporary and avant-garde artwork and tiles can be supplemented by special effects cast over them by the many colour temperatures available in LED festoon lamps.

Every lighting fixture has its place in the world of design. Cove lights are widely used throughout the world of American architecture, and both rope lights and cove mount accent lights add their own unique value to elements ranging from faux finishes to hand painted ceilings and the finer details of carvings.
About the Author
Phantom Lighting is a manufacturer of high end lighting projectors and linear strip display lighting fixtures. Phantom operates throughout North, Central, and South America through a network of agent representatives. Visit http://www.phantomlighting.com/cove_rope_lighting and http://www.phantomlighting.com/
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