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The 4 Best Places for Backlight Accents in Your Home

Image used courtesy of Rob Pongsajapan

The simplest way to show depth is by placing one object behind another object to show space between them.  When you place light behind an object, you gain depth and a combination of beautiful shadows with a warm glow that highlights the object for stunning displays or haunting beauty.  However, not every design uses – nor should use – the same lighting techniques and principles as every other.  So let’s take a look at 4 places to use backlighting that aren’t Instagram pictures.

 

Alcoves

livingroom Alcoves present two opportunities for lighting that are super effective.  Placing a small downlight in a small alcove (e.g., a recessed shelf) is a great way to highlight an object.  While the room lights are on, this light will cause the items on your shelf to pop out and shine in the room.  When the main room lights are off, this dramatic lighting will cast a silhouette that ads a soft intrigue, even if it’s just a shelf of trinkets.  Alcoves are also one of the best places to set up indirect lighting.  A recession in the ceiling or molding around the ceiling can be filled with low power strip lights that reflect light off the ceiling for a glowing, feathered outline of the room.  Reflected light removes many of the spot and halo issues seen in standard lights, much like a diffuser or shade would.

Cabinets

Elegant White Kitchen Cabinet Ideas in Trailwood Kitchen Remodel Finished with Glass Door Design Ideas Plan UnitWhy should refrigerators have all the fun with internal lighting?  Under cabinet lights can be installed inside a cabinet to light up its contents when the door opens.  Just mount a light under the individual shelves for even illumination. Using a softer light in your cabinets can make it much easier on the eyes when you get a midnight snack in the dark, too.  But that’s just cabinets with doors.  If you have permanently open cabinets with designer items, you can light them the same way you would with any alcove decoration.  Not to make light of spices, but if you have the thyme, backlighting can make a spice rack look amazing.

Furniture

Image used courtesy of Martin FischMost backlighting is purely aesthetic.  Trimming the underside of chairs and sofas with light can give them the appearance of hovering above the floor.  Lighting effects are key for furniture.  Backlighting an outdoor bench can provide a romantic backdrop during the night.  At times, function is more important than appearance.  A backlit bench is easy to find and doesn’t need a flood light. You should also try backlighting a sofa using a wall-wash downlight . The reflected light is great illumination for a favored reading nook where a lamp won’t work.

Screens & Displays

Image used courtesy of Stephan LegachevIt’s becoming more and more popular to add a light behind TVs and monitors.  So popular that some displays come with this functionality built in.  It’s a great idea since excess light in a room can wash out the color and sharpness of images on a screen, yet watching a screen in a dark room can strain your eyes.  As I mentioned previously in LED task lighting, by placing a light behind the display you move from bright to dark gradually, reducing eye strain.  As an added bonus, your eyes won’t hurt when the lights come back on after the movie.  Bias lighting is the balance of gradually changing lighting from light to.  The recommended color temperature for this light is closer to the blue or “daylight” end of white light.  The reason behind suggesting such a harsh white is its effect on the color of the display.  Using colored lights – even as an extension of the display color – can reflect back onto the screen and adjust which colors you see.  For most people this isn’t an issue – if you’re one of these people, then finding an LED strip light controller that can mimic your display is a brilliant idea.  However, if you want to view a film as it’s intended, aim for 5000K or higher.

 

Be sure to check here each week for more tips and guides.  In the meantime, comment below with how you use backlighting, or send us an image of how you’re taking advantage of beautiful backlighting using FacebookTwitterGoogle PlusLinkedIn, or Pinterest!

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Will Parsons

Will is a Copywriter for 1000Bulbs.com. He has a background in small-farm agricultural hydroponics and electrical engineering, with degrees in applied engineering and emerging media. Previously he has worked in renewable energy and green technology fields. His own interests are for creative writing and storytelling and he tends to be an early adopter of new technology. Enjoy new stories alternating between lighting and hydroponics each week.