Tackling a cove lighting project made me realize how competitive The Home Depot prices are. Renovating an apartment 3 years ago, I went to a fancy wholesaler to get “special” fixtures, but it turns out that The Home Depot might have been less hassle and money!
I was doing research for a neighbor. He is remodeling and I want to help him design with lighting yet avoid expensive decorative fixtures. Cove lighting is not about the fixtures, because the light source is hidden from view.
Why cove lighting?
Cove lighting is a form of indirect lighting built into ledges, recesses, or valences in a ceiling or high on the walls of a room. It may be used as primary lighting, or as a backdrop. Lighting specialists recommend installing cove lighting at least 18″ below the ceiling and at least 6′ 8″ (standard door height) above the floor. In kitchens, the concept of cove lighting can be incorporated if the fixtures are installed on the top of kitchen cabinets.
Cove lighting adds architectural interest
I really love the idea of “washing” the walls with light. This hallway used to be dreadful, disproportionately high and narrow. Now it doubles as a gallery. Since there was nothing I could do with the existing jogs in the walls, I accentuated them by placing cove lighting strategically. A dropped soffit — it houses new heating and air-conditioning ducts — improved the proportions. Artwork ledges were positioned directly underneath the coves to further emphasize the deliberate approach. (You can read about this project and other design ideas in one of my free downloadable ideaBooks.)
Why The Home Depot?
The day I was helping my neighbor, I went to a store called “Light Bulbs Unlimited” to research what’s available off the shelf. Oh! The selection was impressive. These days, fluorescents are not the most energy efficient option. But a 4’ LED bulb costs $129 there! They recommended The Home Depot. I was happy to oblige. It turns out, that The Home Depot has everything my neighbor might need and the prices are much much better!
Next stop is The Home Depot lighting department isle, and Jose is there to help. I tell him that I am sourcing fixtures for a cove lighting project. He gives me a bit of a blank stare. No problem. I take out my note pad and draw a little diagram for him. He gets it immediately.
Jose takes me to the fluorescent and LED strips. I know that I want the cleanest and smallest in cross-section. The display is helpful. I am satisfied. Right next to me is a young man who is contemplating the same LED 4’ strip as me. He turns to his friend and says: “Fifty bucks for a light… I don’t know.” I can’t help myself and interfere: “The same thing at LBU costs almost 3 times as much!”
By the way, sometimes, it’s easier instead of building a soffit, to use cove molding. Again, everything you need, including the tools, is available at The Home Depot. Here is a variation on the theme video tutorial of a DIY project that is very easy to follow.
There are quite a few light fixture options you could use for cove lighting. To maintain continuous light from fixture to fixture, it’s important to make sure that there are no blind spots or gaps. As I already mentioned, the most energy efficient alternative is to use LED rope lights or strips attached together for uninterrupted look. The Home Depot has it all!