LED Interior Lighting


So, what does LED lighting mean to the lighting of interior spaces? Well, three things:

  1. You can illuminate features (objects and architectural) for less. LED lights are low energy, and when you are lighting up non-essential areas and surfaces, you want to do it for as little energy as possible.
  2. LED lights are a different form to the lights we have been used to. This means we can get them in to smaller places, and create different lighting fixtures for you to experiment with.
  3. LED lights have much longer lamp life than traditional lights (provided you buy quality products). This means that you can have lights in areas which were previously hard to access and made replacing lamps expensive.

The fundamental rules of designing light in layers still remains: Ambient, Task, Accent & Decorative lighting. But we now have more lamps and luminaires to choose from to achieve the effects we desire, and often with lower running costs.

One of the most common new LED luminaires is the LED strip, (aka LED tape). This is like a roll of tape with a chain of individual LEDs down the centre. The tape is malleable and can get in to very small spaces. It can be cut at specific points every few centimetres, and is available in single colour or colour changing, in different brightnesses and, with the right equipment, can be dimmed.

The applications of this product are almost endless, and can often be achieved without the individual LED lights being directly visible.

LED lights are also available in different ‘colours of white’. You can get them in a similar yellowy colour to incandescent, or a very bright and pure white colour, and anything in between. Depending on what you are lighting can influence which colour you choose.  It is worth knowing that the yellowy light is better at showing colours like reds, oranges, browns. The pure white light is good for blues, purples and some pale colours. If you have an opportunity to test different colour LED lights on different surfaces, the you should.

Here is a little something you should know if you are looking to use LED lights in fittings which already exist. Halogen, incandescent and fluorescent tubes all emit omni-directional light. The light goes in every direction equally. The reflectors in the fitting (if fitted) help direct the light.

LED light is directional. If you want omni-directional light from an LED, then you need an equal number of LEDs equally spaced around the same form as the lamp it is replacing. Many LED lamps claim to achieve this,  but hardly any actually do.

The room will look different after you change to LED lamps. Often it is shadows, which you never realised were enhancing your space, which you can lose. For example, changing a traditional incandescent lamp in a centre pendant / lamp shade. Most of the light from the LED lamp will leave the lamp and illuminate downwards. This is fine for performing tasks below it. But, the shadows created by the shade (or glass) level with the lamp, and above on the ceiling will be much less pronounced. You know the phase, “you only miss something when it is gone?” Well, this is the same scenario. The room will look different. It may be a good thing, it may be a bad thing. But if you have just looked up and decided that you like the halo effect your pendant gives, the you may want to try a few different LED lights before committing to one.

One final point about using LED lights for interior lighting – Dimming. This is more complicated than dimming incandesce=ent and halogen lights. Not all LED lights are dimmable, and those that are work better with some dimmers and not at all with others. It is possible to achieve smooth, flicker free dimming, but only if the equipment is planned from the start – or at least your proposed equipment is tested. Going in to LED dimming with your eyes open is a must.

We have plenty of experience on projects using LED interior lights (with and without dimming). Please feel free to discuss your project with us.