Cove Lighting

A low profile ceiling light solution that radiates indirect light from horizontal recesses, valances, ledges, cornices, or upper walls of a room. The source of the light is typically concealed to provide an ambient atmosphere. This modern look can be achieved with low profile LED light strips, LED rope, LED tape or tape-rope hybrid, or linkable microfluorescent light fixtures. Below, find helpful details on installing LED cove lighting, and tips on how to achieve the best indirect ceiling lighting.

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Cove Lighting Design Ideas


Cove lighting can be functional by providing most or all of the general lighting in a space, or it can be purely aesthetic by providing only SOME of the needed light for a space – sometimes in vibrant color.

Cove lighting typically provides a soft, warm feel to an architectural space. Light is directed upward and is gently distributed over the ceiling and/or the upper wall of a room. The light bouncing off the ceiling creates comfortable ambient light that helps to balance the space. Most people have a very positive reaction to this indirect lighting. Cove lighting offers you the opportunity to be creative and to make an aesthetic statement. This can be especially true with colored cove lighting.

Light Sources Used

The light fixtures used for cove lights can use incandescent, low voltage xenon, fluorescent, or LED light sources. These light sources can provide a good deal of light, a modest amount of light, or sometimes just a hint of light depending on the needs of the space or the desires of the lighting designer. Incandescent, low voltage xenon, and even SOME fluorescent light fixtures and LED lighting can be controlled by a dimmer switch. Incandescent, LED, and fluorescent lamps are all capable of providing the option of colored light if that is desirable for a design effect.

Where Can Cove Lighting Be Used?

Many places: art galleries, bathrooms, bedrooms, churches, conference rooms, dining rooms, game rooms, hallways, hotel rooms, kitchens, libraries, living rooms, museums, offices, restaurants, studies, and taverns. The type of cove lighting fixtures will vary based on the type of space it will be installed in. For example, hotels and offices are often in need of commercial or fluorescent cove lighting, while a museum may use low profile xenon ceiling lights to create an intimate atmosphere. Many of our residential customers tend to use indirect ceiling lighting to create a cozy, welcoming feel in a room.

Placement is Everything

Where should you place the cove lighting fixtures? The top of the LED cove light or light strip should be located about 10 to 14 inches from the ceiling and designed in such a way as to allow the light coming from the cove to “wash” as much of the ceiling as possible with light. Low profile ceiling light fixtures make this possible since they are easily tucked into small places and spaces.