7 Things You Need to Know Before Buying LED Strip Lights

Are you looking to switch up the look of your home? LED strip lights are a great way to make a major but inexpensive change to the look of your home.

Adding this kind of lighting is very versatile. You can place it behind, underneath, or around objects in your home to add a unique and multi-layered look.

If you’re considering buying a strip of LED lighting for any room of your house, first read these seven things you should know.

They’ll help you know everything you need to know in order to be prepared for adding a beautiful type of lighting to your home or office space.

1. Add Drama and Flair

The most common reason that people add LED lights to their home is to add a form of lighting that is unique and visually appealing.

It’s amazing what a difference these little lights will make. They are strong and powerful, so they emit quite a lot of brightness. Yet they are very small and compact, so they can be easily hidden when added to a room.

People use LED lights to add intrigue to any room.

Line your headboard in your bedroom for a nice lighting source that is unique compared to your typical lamp. Line the mirror in your bathroom for a beautiful glow.

Add LED lights to pieces of art, your home office, wall decorations, and more to add depth and dimension.

2. Easy to Install

LED strip lights add a major difference in the look of a room, and they are super simple to add.

Installing LED lights in your home is very simple. Most strip lights come with an adhesive backing. All you have to do is carefully stick them on wherever you want them.

By finding a clean, dry, and level spot to apply your lights, you can make the process as easy as possible. Usually, people choose to place the lights in a more hidden and subtle space.

For example, lining the underside or backside of furniture or appliances will hide the actual strip of lights but still display the lighting in a prominent way. Even if you line the backside of a TV or computer monitor, the lights will reflect off nearby walls.

Strips of LED lights add a nice glow to any room.

3. Dimmable

Before buying LED strip lights, you should be aware of some of their best features.

The fact that LED lights can be dimmed makes them all the more appealing. They can be turned up bright to shine, or take on a mellow brightness to just add a simple glow.

Dimming a room full of lights can create a very intimate atmosphere. Dimmed LED lights are ideal for a bedroom or bathroom, where you may prefer the lighting down low.

4. Energy Efficient

The biggest reason people love using LED lights is how efficient they are. They save quite a bit on energy costs and last extremely long.

Many people consider LED lights to be the lighting of the future since they are so effective.

It’s important to keep them out of landfills when they do finally expire, but other than that, they’re a great lighting choice if you want your lights to last forever!

Energy efficiency is one of the main reasons that LED strip lights are so popular. They are much more energy efficient than other types of lighting.

5. More Expensive

Though they are more effective, you should be aware that LED lights are more expensive than other lighting options. This is considered by some to be one of the only downfalls of LED strip lights.

However, when you consider how much more efficient LED strip lights are, the cost is more than worth it.

They last much longer than other types of lighting. You won’t have to replace them very often.

Because of this, you may pay more up front, but you’ll pay much less in the long run.

6. How to Choose

When picking out LED strip lights, you may notice that there are quite a few options.

You can choose lights with different voltage strengths, lengths, and even a varying number of lights per foot. All of these factors will play into how your lights look.

If you purchase a set of lights with low voltage and a few lights per foot, they will be much weaker than other kinds of lights.

There are even different types of LED lights which emit different wavelengths and colors. In addition, some trips are more flexible than others.

You’ll need to talk to a lighting expert or try to figure out what kind would be best for your needs. It all depends on where you want to install the lights, how bright you want them, and what you want the final look to be.

7. Color Temperature

The color temperature you choose for your LED strip lights will be one of the biggest factors in determining the look of your lights.

CCT, or Correlated Color Temperature, measures the color temperature of light in Kelvin degrees (K). The light can appear as anything from cool white to warm white depending on the CCT.

For example, a light at the low end (2000 – 3000 K) appears warmer. It has an orange or yellow feel to it.

Lights at the other end of the spectrum appear as a pure white light. The highest lights have a cool bluish hue to them.

Where to Buy LED Strip Lights

Wondering where you can buy LED strip lights? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

Birddog Lighting is committed to providing the highest quality products. Our customers want the best in lighting for any of their projects or home improvement needs, and that’s what we are here to provide.

Our lighting design blog contains all you need when it comes to inspiration and suggestions for your own lighting projects.

Feel free to email us and submit your photos for a potential display in our gallery of the best lighting projects. We are happy to showcase your work and provide inspiration to other people looking to add LED lighting to their space.

Must Read Tips For Weather Proofing Your LED Rope Lights and LED Strip Lights

Winter is coming! Well, it’s pretty much already here in Montana. Outside of our office is a blanket of white. As the holidays approach people all over are getting ready to put up holiday decorations, so we at Birddog Lighting wanted to take a moment to remind you to WEATHER PROOF your lighting if it is going outside.

Most of our lights (LED Rope Lights, LED SMD Strip Lights, regular and neon) are IP65 rated* when properly sealed. Ignoring this step when using your lighting outdoors can cause dangerous short circuiting. Don’t let this happen to you!

This is 120v SMD-5050 RGB Color Changing LED Strip Light that did not have a properly sealed end cap. Moisture penetrated the strip light housing and resulted in a short, causing catastrophic failure.

Fear not! There is a simple solution. Seal your linear lighting products appropriately to prevent moisture breaches. We suggest using a versatile weather-proofing heat tape kit that seals any connection you make with lighting accessories (power cords, splices, T, L, Y connectors, controllers, etc.).


Outdoor Shrink Kit Heat Tape Installation Instructions:
Wrap the adhesive lined heat shrinkable tape around your lighting and connector in an overlapping spiral fashion, like you would normal electrical tape. Slide your heat shrink tubing over the lighting, connector, and tape. Shrink the tubing and tape using a heat gun. The adhesive will melt when the heat is applied, and solidify when cooled creating a watertight seal.

The minimum melting point of the hot melt adhesive is 95*C (204*F). We recommend using a heat gun for proper application. Many hair dryers will not get hot enough to fully liquify the heat tape and you will not obtain a water tight seal.

To ensure the heat tape melts fully, double check to make sure you can’t see any lines where the tape overlapped when wrapping it.

*IP65 – Protected from total dust ingress. Protected from low pressure water jets from any direction, limited ingress protection.

Incorrectly installed connections on any 120 volt linear lighting products outdoors can result in a dangerous situation. Properly seal your led rope lights and strip lights to avoid exposure to moisture and you will enjoy many years of safe, care free lighting.

How to Decorate Your Dorm with LED Rope Lights

How to Decorate Your Dorm with LED Rope Lights

Itching to spruce up your dorm room? Want to give your space a little flair and unique atmosphere? Grab yourself some LED rope lights and get decorating!

You’ll be doing more than putting your unique stamp on your home away from home. You’ll help reduce energy consumption while lighting your space.

Here are few ideas to get you started!

Frame Your Headboard With LED Rope Lights

Want to reduce eye-strain when using digital devices in bed at night? A little indirect lighting can help.

Run a strand of incandescent LED rope lights around the outside edge of your headboard. Make sure to secure it, especially at corners and keep the electrical cord close to the wall.

For a more exotic look, get colored lights and a controller. With a controller, you can dim the lights or have them flash at specified intervals.

Spell Out A Message

Do you have a motto or favorite saying? The flexibility of rope lights makes it possible to create illuminated words and shapes.

Use two-sided light industrial adhesive tape to keep the string of lights secured to the wall. Strategically placed mounting clips are also advisable as a safeguard.

Neon-style LED rope lights are a great option for DIY wall art.

Light Up The Closet

Are you often rummaging in the darkness of your closet or free-standing wardrobe? With a few strands of battery-powered LED rope lights, you can light up your life every time you get dressed.

Try running sections of lights along each side of the opening, starting at waist level and across the top. If there’s an inside upper shelf, attached a segment of lights under the shelf.

Battery-powered LED rope lights work best in spaces like closets where electrical outlets are uncommon. Off/on switches are large enough to find in the dark. Plus, many styles have an auto-shutoff feature to help preserve battery life.

Increase Overhead Lighting

Too many dorm rooms only have one or two small overhead light fixtures. If you want to brighten your entire room, add LED rope lighting around the room where the walls meet the ceiling.

Measure the total length of wall. Use a rope lighting calculator to figure out how many sections you need. LED rope lights have specific intervals when cutting is possible without causing damage.

Don’t forget to also measure the length needed to reach an electrical outlet. Often, having that piece run down a corner is a good aesthetically pleasing option.

An alternative is to get an extra long electrical cord when buying your LED rope lights. Depending on the color of your walls and the electrical cord, it can be more subtle than extending the lights.

Once you have your rope lights, use mounting clips to attach the rope lighting at the top of each wall. If possible, connect the lights to an electrical outlet that’s connected to a wall switch. It’ll make turning on your new LED lights easy.

For general purpose lighting, choose white or clear lights. To create a more distinct atmosphere, get lights in your favorite color. Or try multi-color lights for an even more unique effect!

Create Night Lights

If you share your dorm room, create unique night lights to avoid stumbles in the dark, if one of you comes home late.

Lighting close to the floor is the best kind of night light. It helps the person walking to see where they’re going yet doesn’t wake up anyone sleeping nearby.

Try installing a section of LED rope lights along the baseboard near the door. This can also be helpful during nighttime trips to the bathroom if it’s down the hall.

If you have a bathroom attached to your room, put a strand of lights along the unhinged side of the doorway from floor to waist-height. It can be an easy way to prevent nocturnal collisions with furniture and walls.

Window Decoration

Using sections of colored LED rope lights around window frames can add pizzazz to any dorm room.

Be sure to secure the rope lights with proper mounting clips. Secure the electrical wire against the wall near the floor, if there’s no nearby electrical outlet.

An added benefit of encompassing your window with colored LED lights? It can create a distinct glow that makes your room stand out to passersby!

Create a Better Mirror

Do you know why dressing rooms have light bulbs along each side and across the top? It provides the evenest lighting for applying makeup, shaving, or other activities where shadows aren’t welcome.

No matter the size of your dorm room, if you have a wall mirror, you can get the benefit of a “Broadway vanity mirror” with little cost and fuss.

Measure the circumference of the mirror. Add the distance between the lowest point and the nearest electrical outlet. Get the appropriate length of LED rope lights. Attach with double-sided tape and voila! A better mirror.

Note: If the mirror is in the bathroom, keep the lights and electrical cord away from water. And never turn on lights with wet or damp hands.

3 Important Facts About LED Rope Lights

To get the most from your rope lighting project, keep these things in mind:

  • LED lights come in a range of brightness (measured in lumens) as well as “color temperature”.
  • Use mounting clips every 6-12 inches and wherever the strip sags.
  • In some cases, plugging LED lights into a surge protector is recommended. Check the product descriptions on our site for surge protection and other safety notes.

Get What You Need

Are you ready to put a personal touch on your dorm room through LED lighting?

We offer a wide variety of styles and colors of rope lights. We also have everything you need to prepare, shop, and install your new lights.

What are you waiting for? Click on the Shop link at the top of this page and start imagining the possibilities for transforming your dorm room through light!

Outdoor String Light Ideas: Part 1 of 3

100 String Light Ideas- Outdoor

The 100 String Light Ideas blog series

When you think of string lights you often think Christmas tree, Christmas lights, Christmas this, and Christmas that, but how many other applications can string lights be used in? Well we know of at least 99 other ideas for using string lights. We’ve been collecting string light ideas from the web and now It’s time to put them all together in a huge curated list of awesome ways to use string lights in your home, out of your home, and just about anywhere you can think of. Join us for the ultimate list of string light ideas. As you go through this comprehensive list there are a two things you should know. 1) We curated everything from the web, so you will find links to where we found each idea. If you follow the rabbit hole you may also find several more string light ideas – try not to get overwhelmed. 2) We broke the ideas up into three separate blog posts and grouped them by outdoor, indoor, and the string light DIY hack ideas. We have stared with outdoor string light ideas for this post, then we’ll move to indoor string light ideas (posted Friday, 7/31/15) , followed by DIY string light hack ideas (posted 8/3/15). Follow the prior blog links to jump to whatever strikes your fancy. Hope you enjoy!

Outdoor String Light Ideas:

1) Create an outdoor chandelier  This wonderful DIY project almost made it into the third part of our series, but we felt no outdoor space should ever be complete without an outdoor string light chandelier idea like this. Hang it above an outdoor dining area or outdoor sitting area for probably one of the greatest outdoor string light ideas ever. Outdoor string light idea #1 2) Create an outdoor string light canopy You’ve probably seen this before, but it’s a classic outdoor string light idea. Create a string light canopy above a dining space and you’ll have an ambiance everyone will enjoy. Outdoor string light idea 2 3) Outline your deck banister Outdoor string light ideas #3 4) Hang string lights along a pathway Outdoor string light ideas #4 5) Zig-zag string lights above an outdoor path Take a different route and zig-zag your string lights over  your path for a unique spin on one of the more common outdoor string light ideas. Outdoor string light ideas #5 6) Outline your backyard fencing Outdoor string light ideas #6 7) Wash a backyard wall with string lights You might have seen this done in several different ways, but our suggestion is, more light the better. Think Griswold family Christmas, except replace “Christmas” with “backyard wall”. This really is one of our favorite outdoor string light ideas.  Outdoor string Light Ideas #7 8) Light up your backyard shade tree Outdoor string light ideas #8 9) Light up some Chinese lanterns in the backyard Outdoor string light ideas #9 10) Above the pool is way cool Outdoor string light ideas #10 11) Use up-cycled glass bottles for a garden border then run some string lights through them This outdoor string light idea is really more concept then actual application, but if you add string lights to this garden border, how do you think it would look at night? Outdoor string light ideas #11 12) Rain lights down from a tree Outdoor string light ideas #12 13) Make it a huge tree, use less string lights, and add some up-lighting to highlight the tree Outdoor string light ideas #13 14) Don’t just stick to one tree. Interweave string lights through your garden string light ideas #14 15) Stuff string lights into an outdoor lantern Outdoor string light ideas #15 16) Hang your string lights above your hammock Outdoor string light ideas #16 17) Add string lights to a ocean or lakeside dock Outdoor string light ideas #17 18) Hang them from two buildings  There are few outdoor string light ideas that need the permission from a neighbor, but collaborative lighting projects can be some of the best. Tie you and your neighbor together in string lights and maybe your whole culdesac for something really original. Outdoor string light ideas #18 19) Lace them into some woven baskets to hang outside Outdoor string light ideas #19 20) String lights along the lowest tree branches only for a canopy effect Outdoor string light ideas #20 21) Wrap string lights around only the trunks of trees Outdoor string light ideas #21 22) Better yet light the whole tree up Outdoor string light ideas #22 23) Along a canopy path of trees Outdoor string light ideas #23 24) Create a romantic dinner for two Outdoor string light ideas #24   25) Have an outdoor tailgate dinner for two Outdoor string light ideas #25 Whew, hopefully that got your creative juices going and inspired an outdoor string light idea of your own. We’re not done yet! Check out part 2 of this blog post series for 32 indoor string light ideas. Part 3 in the series completes us with an even 100 string light ideas with 40 DIY string light hacks.    

Top Outdoor Lighting Projects using Linear Lights

  Outdoor lighting projects found on pinterest Tomorrow is officially summer and if you haven’t already been spending a majority of your time at home enjoying your yard, then shame on you! In truth, we all have our excuses for not enjoying our backyard or outside living space the way we should. One thing Birddog Lighting has found makes our backyards that much more enjoyable is LIGHTING, especially with the added effect that linear lighting, like rope and strip lights have on our yards. Linear lighting outdoors has an unlimited amount of possibilities and because we are rope and strip light fanatics we’ve been playing around on Pinterest finding our favorite outdoor lighting projects that can be made possible through rope and strip lights. Let’s take a look at some linear landscape lighting we’ve found in Pinterest Land!

Patio & Deck Lighting

A majority of our customers that come to us in the summer have taken advantage of this great outdoor lighting project. If you have a deck or even a small patio, you should get started on this right away. Light up the perimeter and banister of your deck or patio and enjoy a night light ambience as you chill out on your deck at night. There are several ways you can do this and you’ll want to make it unique on your own deck or patio. If you need any help with the details, Birddog Lighting is only a call away. Outdoor Lighting Projects- parameter deck lighting Outdoor lighting project- top and bottom banister deck lighting   Outdoor Lighting Projects Top railing  deck lighting Outdoor Lighting Project- under railing deck light Outdoor lighting project Blue parameter deck lighting  

Outdoor Stairway Lighting

We have all done it or will do it if we haven’t, already… I’m talking about falling up or down an outdoor stairway of course. Let’s avoid this painful experience all together by adding a little light to your outdoor stairway. On top of making your outdoor stairs safer, adding some strip or rope lights under each step adds nighttime curb appeal like you’ve never seen. outdoor lighting project- stairway using rope light outdoor lighting project stairway using rope light Outdoor lighting project- stairs backlit by rope light

Home Exterior Lighting

Many homeowners think that using rope or strip lights for home exterior lighting is tacky or something you do for the holidays but not all year around. We’ve found that this is totally wrong and that more people should consider the use of linear lighting as a way to light your home’s exterior. LED strip light especially can be very stunning on the exterior of a home. Outdoor lighting project- exterior house lighting at the base of home Outdoor lighting project- strip light under roofline   Outdoor lighting project- strip light above home outdoor entry

Outdoor pool or water features

If you have a pool or even a small water feature light it up with some linear lighting, strip or rope, and watch your outdoor living space turn into a five star resort retreat. Sit next to a glowing pool outfitted with RGB (color-changing) linear lighting and you’ll feel almost hypnotized by the way the light reflects off the water. The same is true for a small pond or water feature. It can give a relaxing glow as you sit out by the pool or pond at night or set the mood for a party or get-together.

Outdoor lighting project- small pool outlined in strip light Outdoor Lighting Project- water feature using led strip light

Outdoor path and curb lighting

This may be one of the most common uses for linear lighting for landscaping purposes, but it doesn’t make it any less appealing when we see it in someone’s front yard. We’ve also found that some home owners use linear lighting for paths and curbing in less than ordinary ways so keep it creative as you incorporate this common outdoor lighting idea. RGB rope or strip can be applied in this area as well or even a solid accent color of your choice Outdoor lighting project- rope light within flowerbed curbing Outdoor lighting project- rope light outlining rock bed Outdoor lighting project- strip light embedded into path

First step to getting your outdoor lighting project done

It is one thing to look at the awesome ways people have used linear rope and strip lighting in this post and entirely another thing to apply it in your own yard. We want you to apply it, and better yet sit back and enjoy it. Birddog Lighting wants to help you accomplish the landscape lighting job you have in mind. So if you were inspired to make your outdoor space a more enjoyable place, give us a call and we’ll help you get started

DIY String Light Hacks Part 3 of 3

100 String Light Ideas - DIY Hacks

Part 3 of the 100 String Light Ideas blog series

The finale of the series brings you several DIY string light hacks to do in just about any space you can imagine. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the previous posts in this series then don’t miss out. Part 1 gives you great outdoor string light ideas and Part 2 gives you a wonderful array of indoor string light ideas. Know that each idea was curated online and we have provided the sources to each. If you follow the links you may find several 100 more lighting ideas. Enjoy!

DIY String Light Hacks

59) Create an Alice in Wonderland tea party DIY string light hack ideas #59 60) Create a backlit canvas art piece DIY string light hacks idea #60 61) Make it a back-lit constellation canvas You’ll want to follow the above link for a tutorial on this one. You’d be surprised at just how easy it is to complete this DIY project. DIY string light hacks idea #61 62) Create a lighted backdrop  DIY string light hacks idea #62 63) Fairy Light mason Jar  DIY string light hacks idea #63 64) Light up some letters! Marquee style  DIY string light hacks idea #64 65) Light up some letters the easy way DIY string light hacks idea #65 66) Make it easy and inspirational If you take a close look it is actually rope light, but you could definitely interchange many of these projects out for rope light. DIY string light hacks idea #66 67) Make it even more inspirational  Yes another string light lettering, but if you didn’t want to do cursive text this example gives you a better idea of how to do print lettering. DIY string light hacks idea #67 68) Make a geometrical design DIY string light hacks idea #68 69) Create a vintage marquee sign There is a fun tutorial on this one give it a look. DIY string light hacks idea #69 70) Create some game room letters  This idea also has a tuturial on it if you’re liking the look of it. DIY string light hacks idea #70 71) Create a string light globe out of wire baskets This DIY string light idea is real simple and takes only few items to create. Check out the link for a quick tutorial. DIY string light hacks idea # 71 The replica watches next five ideas use tree branches and twigs to create some awesome lighting projects. 72) Use tree branches and string lights to make lighted blossoms on a bedroom wall DIY string light hacks idea #72 73) Create a room divider with branches and string lights  DIY string light Hacks idea #73 74) Turn your pole beams into trees and light it up DIY string light hacks idea #74 75) Light up a desk nook with a branch and string lights  DIY string light hacks #75 76) Create branch chandelier with string lights  DIY string light hacks idea #76 77) Make a chandelier with an old umbrella   DIY string light hacks idea #77   78) Make a hula hoop chandelier  Idea #78 79) Create a unique lighting design out of hula hoops and string lights Idea #81   80) Create a barn-wood arrow directed with light idea #80 81) Party on with this dixie-cup garland (tutorial included)  idea #81 82) Create a flame-less fire pit   idea #82 83) Build some Jute Twinkle Lights  idea #83 84) Light up a wine bottle  idea #84 85) Now celebrate a 21st birthday   idea #85 86) Now hang the wine bottles from the 21st birthday from the ceiling   idea #86   87) For the true wino, hang them from the eaves of your home  idea #87 88) Make some mini lamps out of cupcake liners idea # 88   89) Make these paper cube string lights idea #89     90) Wrap up string lights in cotton candy – yum!   idea #90   91) Create your own colorful string light bulbs idea #91 92) Even better then the cupcake mini-lamps, cupcake flowers  idea #92   93) Don’t like the cupcake flowers? Try egg cartons  idea #93 94) Make these string light mini rain clouds idea #94 95) Make a 2D version and place it as a head board  idea #95 96) Stuff an old stuffed animal with string lights   idea #96 97) Outfit a vintage firetruck toy  idea #97   98) Add some ping pong balls to those Christmas lights  idea #98   99) String them through a door!  String light ideas #99 You made it! 100 string light ideas! I guess there is just one more idea for string lights that we’ve come across. You may of heard of this though. 100) Decorate your home for Christmas  The final string light idea #100

Making your ideas happen

The purpose for this series has been to generate ideas and inspire, but if you’ve found yourself excited to take on a simple or not so simple lighting project Birddog Lighting is here to help. Whether you have questions about what type of string lights to use in your DIY hack or your wondering about the type of lighting for your kitchen remodel we got your back. If you’re just looking for the next lighting design inspiration we got that to. Give us call, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or keep up on our weekly blog posts.                  

Indoor String Light Ideas: Part 2 of 3

Part 2: Outdoor

Part 2 of the 100 String Light Ideas blog series

String lights have so many applications the uses are limitless, but we’ve come up with 100 indoor string lights ideas just to fit your fancy. This ultimate list of string light ideas is so grand it has three parts: Part 1 – outdoor string light ideas, Part 2 – indoor string light ideas, and Part 3 – DIY string light hack ideas. Check the prior blog post links to check out your area of interest.

Indoor String Light Ideas

26) Hang them from a tall ceiling  Indoor string light ideas #26 27) Frame a kitchen window  This obviously doesn’t have to be a kitchen window, it could be any window, but it does provide a great night light for grabbing that late night glass of water. Indoor string light ideas #27   28) Deck out your hallway with string lights  Indoor string light ideas #28 29) There is more than one way to deck out a hallway with string lights Indoor string light ideas #29 30) Create a string light photo wall  Indoor string light ideas #30 31) Add some color to that string light photo wall Indoor String Light Ideas #31 32) Outline a collage of photos in a heart shape. Lady’s dorm room style! Indoor string light ideas #32 33) Outline a collage of photos in a heart shape. Trendy mom style!  If you’re no longer living in the dorms and possibly have a child or two in the dorms, don’t think you can’t pull this lighted collage off in your own bedroom. It may just be a wonderful way to highlight your mommy memories. Indoor string light ideas #33 34) Put string lights in a picture frame to hang pictures on Indoor string light ideas #34   35) Make a home shaped head board from string lights  Indoor string light ideas #35 36) Make string lights into branches for unique head board  Indoor string light ideas #36 37) Put string lights behind sheer curtain and call it a head board  Indoor string light ideas #37   38) Throw them under the bed Indoor string light ideas #38   39) Even cooler if it’s a pallet bed  Is anyone else drooling over this pallet bed? This is another testament that string lights can go just about anywhere and another case made for making all your furniture out of reclaimed pallets. Indoor string light ideas #39 40) You could even stick them under a bedroom dresser  Indoor string light ideas #40 41) Create bedroom constellations   Indoor string light ideas #41   42) Create a bedroom fairy light tent  Indoor string light ideas #42 43) Create a fairy light bed canopy   Adults can enjoy these indoor fairy lights ideas as well. If your husband gives you grief about it and won’t go for the string light bed canopy, ask him if he would like an adult version of idea number 56. Indoor string light ideas #43 44) Place your string lights on a dining table   Indoor string light ideas #44 45) Hang string lights above a nightstand  Indoor string light ideas #45 46) Outline a mirror in string lights  Indoor string light ideas #46 47) Make it a vintage mirror  Indoor string light ideas #47 48) Or maybe even a vanity mirror  Indoor string light ideas #48 49) Or even better, make it a Hollywood style vanity mirror  Make sure to take a look at the link on this one. There is a full DIY tutorial on making your own hollywood vanity. Indoor string light ideas #49 50) Drape string lights over a bookshelf  Indoor string light ideas #50   I am Josh, Josh I am. That Josh I am, that Josh I am, always listing off string light ideas again. If you’re starting to feel like we are in a Dr. Suess story than join the club, but by the end of this you’ll soon realize that you like string lights and BAM! You’ll light them up on your bed, sled, or anything else I’ve said. 51) Create an indoor tree  Indoor string light ideas #51 52) Make it a colorful tree  Indoor string light ideas #52 53) Light up that dark hallway  This is another Griswold family hack. The more light the better, just make sure you use LED string lights so you don’t trip the breaker. Indoor string light ideas #53 54) Add Chinese lanterns to the bedroom  Indoor string light ideas #54 55) Wrap them around an old latter   idea #55 56) Light up a kid’s room with a fun teepee  There is no reason you couldn’t scale this up to an adult size and do a backyard teepee bathed in string lights. What do you think? idea #56   57) Light up a dark closet  idea #57 58) Light up your game trophy   lighting idea #58  

Part 3 DIY String Light Hack Ideas

There we have it! What were your favorite Indoor string light ideas? If you still want more, don’t fret, we still have another entire post of fun DIY string light hacks to take a look at. Tune in on Monday, August 3rd, for the rest of the 100 String Light Ideas blog series.              

What are the best LED strip lights?

Getting the best LED strip lights Finding the best LED strip lights really depends on what project you are working on and the amount available in the project budget. Quality is important and so is value, but if you don’t know what you need and how much you can spend, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. This guide will help you understand what to look for in your strip lighting and be satisfied that you found the very best LED strip lights your project requires.

Choosing the best LED strip lights for the project

Before you even purchase strip lighting you’ll want to make sure you’re buying what you need. Ask yourself these four questions to determine what your needs are: 1) How much voltage does my project need? 2) What color of lights do I want for my project? 3) What type of environment will my strip lights be in? 4) How much light do my strip lights need to produce?

1) How much voltage does my project need?

The typical DIY enthusiast doesn’t usually ask this question when looking to take on a lighting project, but it could determine whether or not you hire a professional. The reason most don’t ask this question is because most are not aware of what voltage does. Another term for voltage is electric pressure, so think of it like you would water pressure; the more voltage you have the further electricity will go from a power source. There are advantages for both low voltage and high voltage, and when you look into purchasing strip lights you’ll want to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of each. Typically you’ll be deciding between 12v or 120v lights. 120v is what generally comes into your home as your standard voltage, so let’s first talk about the pros and cons of 120v first.

Advantages and disadvantages of installing 120v strip lights

(Pro) No transformers- because most homes already have 120v coming into their homes. (Pro) Longer run lengths- higher voltage means that longer run lengths can be obtained before having to connect to power (Con) More dangerous- higher voltage also means it can be hazardous especially around or submersed in water. Because of this, it is often recommended that you use a licensed electrical contractor when working with 120v. (Con) Costs more- because of the additional danger with 120v you many have to hire a licensed professional and take more precautions, like burying lines which can increase expenses.

Advantages and disadvantages of installing 12v LED strip lights

(Pro) Easy application for alternative energies- although most homes use 120v, alternative energies like solar, wind, etc. typically use 12v which makes it an easier application for these and other 12v DC uses. (Pro) Safer- 12v has a significantly lower risk of electrocution and so is often easier to complete as a DIY project. (Pro) Cost saving- the reduced risk of 12v may help you to accomplish it as a DIY project, saving you money on hiring a professional. (Con) Short run lengths- the biggest drawback to 12v is its inability to have a run length longer than 20 feet. (Con) Requires an adapter- because the average home runs off of 120v, anything that is installed as 12v has to be converted from 120v to 12v.

2) What color of lights do I want for my project?

When people think of the color of LED lights, they often say that it has a blue hue to it. LEDs don’t particularly have a blue hue to them, but the cool white color temperature (which has a blue hue in it) is the most common LED color. More than likely, you’ve seen several warm or natural color LED lights and have mistaken them for incandescent or florescent lights. This misunderstanding happens because most don’t realize that every color in the visible light spectrum can be produced with LEDs.

RGB strip lights

Since your color choice is entirely open with LEDs there are some fun decisions you can make when using strip lights. RGB (red, green, blue) strip lights are a type of LEDs that when connected to a certain controller can be told to change color and/or alternate between different lighting patterns; this is really fun stuff. It’s not a necessity for most projects, but it adds a unique twist that’ll set it apart. RGB strip light usually costs more, so take this into consideration as you decide if it’s something you want to incorporate into your project.

White light

If you’re only wanting white light, you still have a few choices to consider. Artificial white light has three different colors: warm, cool, or natural. These three colors are usually measured in a Kelvin color temperature scale like the one below. LED strip lights come in all three color temperatures. What you choose is really just a matter of preference, but here are a couple points to consider: 1) Cool whites give off a blue hue which can often be harder on the eyes, some enjoy this look saying it makes a lit space look more vibrant and awake 2) Cool white can also harm or confuse wildlife so make this a consideration when using cooler colors outdoors 3) Warm whites give off a yellow hue and have shown to have little effect on wildlife 4) Natural whites, also called pure whites, are the closest to sunlight Kelvin Color Temp scale for choosing the best LED strip lights for your project

3) What type of environment will my strip lights be in?

The best LED strip lights will be able to perform in the conditions you’ve placed it in. If it’s going to get rained on or even completely submersed in water you’ll want to have something that’s durable enough to withstand that environment. There is a quick way to determine a strip lights resilience in certain circumstances.

IP ratings

Flexible strip lighting comes in several different durability measures and they are usually distinguished by something called an IP rating. An IP rating stands for Ingress protection and it helps to classify the degree of protection from external elements (water, dust, rocks, etc.). You might have seen a particular spool of strip light show an IP rating of 68 or 22 and if you didn’t know what that meant you will now. The first number digit describes its level of solid protection and the second number digit describes its level of liquid protection. Some projects will only need minimal protection from solids or liquids and therefore may also cost less. Other projects, especially those outdoors may need a higher level of protection and so you’ll want a higher IP rating. The following chart can help you find the IP rating you need your strip light to have. IP rating chart to help you find the best LED strip Lights

4) How much light do my strip lights need to produce?

This may seem like an obvious question to ask, but how bright do you want your lighting to be? Does it need to light up a workspace? Is your strip light only going to be used for accent lighting or will it also serve another purpose? Do you want the ability to dim or brighten your lights? Answering these questions will help you make decisions on what LED strip light is best for you.

3528 vs. 5050 SMD

One measure for brightness is determined by the size of LED chip used on the strip light. The most popular chips used on strip lights are 3528 and 5050 SMD chips. 3528 stands for 3.5mm x 2.5mm and 5050 stands for 5.0mm x 5.0mm. There are other sizes of chips, but these are the most readily available on strip lights. In general 5050 SMD strip light produces more light than a 3528 SMD strip light, but because 3528 chips are smaller it is possible to fit more chips per foot. This means if you are particular about how much light your strip light will produce you’ll want to consider how many LED chips are being used and what type of chip it is. At Birddog we use bulb spacing (how far apart each LED chip is) and lumen output (how much delivered light it puts out) to help us calculate how much light will be produced in an area. For a realistic example I’ve calculated the lumens per foot on our 5050 warm white LED strip light and compared it to our 3528 warm white LED strip light. The 5050 has a bulb spacing of .44″ and produces 12-14 lumens per chip, which gives us 327-381 lumens per foot. In contrast the 3528 LED strip light has a bulb spacing of .56″ and delivers 4-5 lumens per chip, which gives us 86-107 lumens per foot. As you can see in this case our 5050 warm white LED strip light is roughly three and half times brighter than our 3528 strip light.

Dimmer controls

Now that you know how to calculate how much light your strip light will give off, you can decide if you want to set a dimmer control to deliver any amount of light at or below your maximum intensity. Dimmer controls are a great way to increase the utility of your light and achieve multiple uses for your strip. As a basic example you can dim your strip light down for ambient light and brighten it up when you need task lighting. You have now asked and answered the previous four questions and are ready to find and buy the best LED strip lights. Remember that finding the best LED strip lights is entirely dependent on your project and if you know what you want or need for that project you’ll get what you want.

Have any questions about finding the best LED strip lights?

Birddog lighting is always here to help. After reading this post you may still have some questions about a certain project you’re doing, give us a call, email, or leave me a comment. We’re always happy to help and I appreciate hearing what projects you’re working on.