Cove lighting adds a special touch to a room. It works by there being a space, usually a false ceiling, where light fixtures can be hidden away. The lights bounce off of the ceiling and softly glow in the room. This kind of lighting makes a room feel relaxing, yet larger, taller, grander and more luxurious.
The Different Types of Cove Lighting Designs
The standard cove lighting design is when you have a drop ceiling, and hide the lights in a cutaway just like in picture (1). But there are a ton of other design styles that can be done. Like, instead of having the entire ceiling drop down, you could reverse it and have only a section of the ceiling drop down. This is called reversed cove lighting.
How about being ambitious and doing a multi level design? Also the drop down ceiling doesn’t have to be in a rectangle or square shape. It could be curved, or shaped how you’d like. Or for something even more majestic, take a look at the dome cove lighting in picture (3).
The simplest and cheapest way of adding cove lighting to a room is to forget about the drop down ceiling and instead go with cove molding lighting seen in pictures (4) (5) (6). If you fit crown molding a few inches below the ceiling, you’ll have space for rope lights to sit on top. They’ll be hidden away and will softly bounce light off of the ceiling and into the room.
Mixing It Up
Remember, the key to great lighting design is to layer the lighting, aka mix it up. A room that only uses ceiling lights will feel a lot duller than a room that makes use of ceiling lights, a wall lamp and a table light. By using a mixture of light fixtures you create different lighting effects and layer the lighting. The same should be done with cove lighting.
Cove lighting is generally used as an accent piece in the room. It isn’t used for functionality. So you’re going to need lights that are brighter. Recessed lights are good, so are pendant lights. For a dome ceiling you could have a chandelier hang down in the middle. The soft glow of the cove lighting will show off the dome ceiling while the chandelier lights up the room.
Cove Lighting Else Where
The cove lighting technique can be used in other areas of the room. Like in the walls. In picture (7), lights softly glow around a bathroom shelf. This can also be done for closets, living room cabinets, or even above kitchen cabinets (8). The idea is to hide the light fixtures, and just let the light softly glow indirectly.
There are a few light fixtures you could use for cove lighting. Everything from florescent strips to halogen bulbs. The down side to using these lights is that if you don’t do it right there could be gaps in the lighting. A better, cheaper, and more energy efficient option would be to use LED lights, like rope lights seen in picture (9). The lighting will be uninterrupted and you can even choosing the color of the light. 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9