cove lighting, home depot

Cove Lighting Made Affordable at The Home Depot

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

cove lighting, home depot
cove lighting in the hallway

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.

cove lighting, home depot
The Home Depot simplifies it

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!


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  1. Marina says:

    Thank you for this article. Very good tips and useful.

    1. Alla DIY Ally says:

      Marina, thank you very much for your comment. I appreciate your insight!

  2. Mia says:

    I also love the idea of “washing the walls with light,” it sounds very bright yet gentle. It is refreshing to hear that the people at Home Depot really do know what they are doing and can help a creative person make their vision come to life without breaking the bank!

    1. Alla DIY Ally says:

      You are absolutely right! Thank you, Mia.

  3. Robert says:

    Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it’s truly informative.

    1. Alla DIY Ally says:

      Thank you very much, Robert! Please visit often.

  4. Nelli says:

    Hello, Alla! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay. I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

    1. Alla DIY Ally says:

      Thanks Nelli! My twitter account is @AllaK_Architect

  5. Victoria says:

    Great info and perfect timing as I am rethinking my kitchen lighting. Thanks, DIY Ally!

    1. Alla DIY Ally says:

      Glad to hear that! Thank you, Victoria. Let me know if you have any questions.