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Ambient lighting: The Comprehensive Guide

Harmony in interior lighting is crucial. Only the proper lighting can accentuate the beauty of your decor. However, an overload of general/ambient lighting can become overwhelming. Don’t stress; this guide will steer you toward the perfect ambient lighting choice for your spaces!

Ambient lighting bathes our entire room in light. Both natural and artificial sources can generate it. Ambient lighting can be achieved through bulbs, chandeliers, or LED strips. Among these, LED strips stand out due to their versatility and potential to elevate your interior aesthetics.

In this piece, I’ll provide a comprehensive overview of ambient lighting, covering its advantages, application, and more. So, let’s dive into the details.

Ambient Lighting:

Think of ambient lighting as a stand-in for natural illumination. It fills your space in a manner akin to sunlight or moonlight. Be it from a lamp, halogen bulb, chandelier, or even the natural luminance of the sun/moon, all qualify as ambient lighting.

Ambient lighting refers to the general illumination within a space, providing an even level of light throughout an environment. It is the base layer of lighting, often contrasting with task lighting (focused light for specific jobs) and accent lighting (used to highlight particular features or objects). Ambient lighting is designed to create a comfortable brightness level without glare, enabling people to move around and perceive the space safely and efficiently.

Some various sources and fixtures can be used to create ambient lighting, including:

  1. Ceiling-mounted fixtures include chandeliers, flush-mount fixtures, and pendant lights.
  2. Recessed lights: These are lights that are installed within a ceiling or wall and are flush with the surface.
  3. Wall-mounted fixtures: Wall sconces and other fixtures that cast light indirectly can help provide ambient illumination.
  4. Floor and table lamps can also contribute to ambient light when they have shades that diffuse light around a room.
  5. Natural light: Windows, skylights, and other architectural elements can bring in daylight, contributing to the ambient light during the day.
  6. LED strip lighting: When installed in coves, behind furniture, or around the perimeter of a room, these can create a soft, even illumination.

Ambient lighting plays a critical role in setting a space’s overall mood or atmosphere. By adjusting the intensity and color temperature of ambient lighting, one can create various perspectives, from cozy and warm to bright and energizing.

Advantages of Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting does more than light up a space. Its numerous advantages include:

  1. Mimicking Daylight Ambient lights serve as an excellent alternative to natural light. They bathe a room in a glow reminiscent of daylight, offering a genuine feel.
  2. Fostering a Comfortable Setting Warm and cool white lights from ambient sources boost a serene and snug ambiance. Options with dimming capabilities enhance this comforting effect, which can be achieved with floor lamps, table lamps, chandeliers, or LED strips.
  3. Accentuating Key Spots: Use ambient lights to emphasize particular sections or items in a room. For instance, track lights positioned above an artwork can highlight it while dispersing light evenly across the room.
  4. Minimizing Harshness. As an indirect lighting source, ambient lights scatter beams in every direction, eliminating harsh, direct glare.
  5. Influencing Moods The hue of the lighting can profoundly affect our emotional state. Warm lights induce feelings of relaxation and tranquillity, whereas cooler tones can invigorate and energize.

In sum, ambient lighting is a versatile choice for homes, offices, eateries, and commercial settings. It brightens up areas and enhances them with a natural radiance, elevating the overall aesthetic appeal of interiors.

Which Lighting Options Are Best for Ambient Illumination?

Ambient lighting bathes a space in consistent illumination, closely resembling natural light. Whether it’s the sun’s rays streaming through a window or the gentle glow of a chandelier, both represent ambient lighting. Furthermore, even small fixtures such as table lamps contribute to this category due to their ability to affect the overall light mood of a room.

Your Options for Ambient Lighting

There’s a wealth of lighting choices suitable for creating ambient effects. Here’s a glance at some of the most effective options:

Chandeliers: These classic fixtures offer a subtle ambiance. Suspended from the ceiling in various designs and sizes, chandeliers are perfect for dining rooms, living spaces, and bedrooms. Their modern designs allow versatility in placement.

Track Lights: With adjustable fixtures on a track, track lights are both flexible and stylish. They can set the mood in living rooms, dining areas, and offices and spotlight specific regions or objects.

Pendant Lighting: Defined by its elongating stand that positions the light closer to surfaces, pendant lights offer a gentle ambiance. Ideal over dining tables, kitchen counters, or workstations, their designs also enhance room aesthetics.

Pot Lights (Recessed Lighting): Installed within the ceiling, these lights shine downward, spreading ambient illumination. They’re versatile, pairing beautifully with LED strips in bedrooms, bathrooms, and meeting spaces.

Table & Floor Lamps: While table lamps boast a longstanding history, floor lamps have risen in popularity of late. Both cast a soothing ambiance and can be strategically placed for maximum impact – like next to couches or in-room corners.

Halogen & LED Bulbs: These bulbs are common choices for general lighting. Their varied sizes make them ideal for ambient effects. Plus, halogen bulbs can even craft a retro lighting atmosphere.

Flexible LED Strips: LED strips are unparalleled for a touch of modernity. They offer soft, indirect light that elevates interior design. Plus, they’re adaptable for inside and outside use, featuring options like color shifts, brightness control, and music synchronization.

Crafting Ambient Illumination with LED Strips

LED strips excel at crafting ambient illumination. Here’s a variety of techniques you can employ for such lighting:

  1. Indirect Illumination
    Achieving a natural light ambiance is best done with indirect lighting. In this approach, the light emanates from behind false ceilings or walls. LED strips can be seamlessly incorporated to give that subtle radiance.
  2. Task-Oriented Lighting
    LED strips are adept at enhancing ambient light for specific tasks. For instance, LED strips beneath kitchen cabinets offer ample light for a cooking workspace. They’re also suitable for dining spaces or restrooms.
  3. Dimmable Options
    LED strips with a ‘dim to warm’ capability can mimic the gentle glow of candles. These strips transition through various warm white hues, creating an inviting environment. Adjusting the brightness allows you to modify the LED color temperature to cultivate the desired ambiance.
  4. Highlighting with Accent Lighting
    Accent lighting centers attention on specific areas or items. LED strips are perfect for this, whether drawing attention to bookshelves, showcases, or even elevating the appeal of wardrobes and shoe racks. Retailers can leverage LED accent lighting to spotlight merchandise.
  5. Cove Illumination
    By placing LED strips along wall perimeters, you can achieve cove lighting. This type of lighting casts a glow toward the ceiling, enveloping the room in soft ambient light.
  6. Recessed Lighting Techniques
    Illuminate ceilings in homes or offices with recessed lighting using LED strips. There’s ample room for creativity here – think of crafting unique light patterns on walls with these adaptable strips. This not only elevates decor but also sets the desired mood.
  7. Atmospheric Lighting
    Colors profoundly influence ambiance. LED strips, especially RGB and RGBW variants, are equipped for mood lighting, boasting many color choices that adapt to your emotions. These vibrant strips can embellish spaces like bedrooms, makeup stations, or gaming zones.
  8. Lighting Fusion
    Blending diverse lighting forms can truly optimize ambient effects. Consider encircling walls with LED strips or integrating them into cove lighting. Complement with ornate chandeliers or spotlights. Additionally, LED wall washers can elevate the ambiance further. Such mixed lighting arrangements will surely accentuate your decor’s beauty.

Essential Tools for Crafting Ambient Lighting with LED Strips

To craft ambient lighting, you’ll only need a handful of tools. Here’s your must-have list for this project:

  • LED Strips
  • LED Driver
  • Connector
  • Scissors or a Sharp Blade
  • Measuring Tape

With these essential tools, ambient lighting using LED strips becomes a breeze.

Guide to Installing LED Strips for Ambient Illumination

Setting up LED strips to achieve ambient lighting is a straightforward task. Follow these comprehensive steps to get the desired lighting effect:

Step 1: Measure Your Space

Begin by determining the length of your intended lighting area using a tape measure. Make sure to account for an extra one to two inches in your measurement for adjustments.

Step 2: Trim the LED Strips

Once you’ve got the needed measurement, you can adjust the length of the LED strips. These strips are designed to be flexible and contain designated cut marks on the circuit board. Use a sharp knife or scissors to trim them. And don’t worry—if you shrink too much, connectors can help you adjust the length again.

Step 3: Attach a Connector

Grab an LED connector and fix it to the LED strip’s end. It’s crucial to align the connector’s red wire with the strip’s positive ‘+’ sign and the black wire with the negative ‘-‘ sign. Once aligned, secure the connection by locking the clip on the connector.

Step 4: Secure the Strip to the Desired Area

With the connector in place:

  • Position the strip where you want it.
  • Remove the protective layer from the adhesive back of the LED strip and press it onto the surface.
  • Hold the strip for 8 to 9 seconds to ensure a robust attachment.

Step 5: Connect to the LED Driver

Please take the free end of the connector and link it to the LED driver. After this, plug the driver into your power source. At this point, you’ve essentially completed your LED strip setup!

Step 6: Power Up

Switch on the power and marvel at your illuminated LED strips. If they don’t light up immediately, inspect your connections and try again.

By following this guide, you can effortlessly set up LED strips in various rooms like the bedroom, kitchen, or dining area without a professional’s assistance.

Key Aspects When Selecting LED Strips for Ambient Illumination

LED strips enhance the ambiance in homes, workplaces, eateries, hotels, and more. However, diving into such a project requires some LED strip basics. Here’s a breakdown of essential elements to keep in mind:

Intended Location

Think about the setting for your LED strips. These strips are versatile, fitting for both indoor and outdoor applications. For instance, it’s wise to choose waterproof versions for areas like bathrooms, pool edges, or outdoor spaces.

Furthermore, the desired ambiance will dictate the color. Spaces like bedrooms and lounges often call for warm lighting. For this mood, LEDs that transition from dim to warm are ideal. Alternatively, tunable white LED strips allow you to shift between warm and cool tones, matching your atmosphere.

Strip Length

For ambient lighting, consider the length you need. Commonly, LED strips are available in 5-meter reels. Bear this in mind during purchase. However, for tailored measurements, you might consider brands like MyLikeLed.

LED Density

The arrangement and density of LEDs on a strip influence the lighting result. Strips with fewer LEDs can produce uneven lighting, known as hotspots. Therefore, opt for high-density versions like cob LED strips for consistent, dot-free illumination.

Strip Width

The breadth of the LED strip affects its luminance impact. The size of the SMD chips on these strips is generally in line with the strip’s width. Hence, broader strips yield a more intense light, whereas slimmer ones offer a gentler effect.


While most LED strips bend vertically, S-shape or Zig-Zag LED strips enable vertical and horizontal bends. This flexibility makes them ideal for intricate designs, signs, or ads. Evaluate the flexibility you need and choose accordingly.

Luminance Level

Understanding lumens helps in gauging an LED strip’s brightness. A higher lumen count corresponds to more brightness. For instance, an SMD5630 LED strip outputting 50-60lm/LED is exceptionally luminous. To tailor this brightness, pair your strip with a compatible controller to achieve the ambiance you envision.

LED Strip Colors

Choosing the ideal color for your LED strips isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. It would help if you considered factors such as the installation location, the light’s function, and personal preferences. For instance, bright-colored LED strips might not suit a formal office space, but they can elevate the ambiance in bars, pubs, or restaurants. Selecting the right shade is pivotal for achieving the desired lighting effect. Let’s delve into some LED strip options ideal for ambient lighting:

  1. Monochromatic LED Strip: These LED strips emit a single shade. For ambient purposes, opt for calming hues like amber, yellow, UV, or any subtle color that resonates with you.
  2. Adjustable White LED Strip: For ambient illumination, these strips empower you to tweak the color temperature of the white light, producing varying shades between 1800 K and 6500 K. With a compatible LED controller, you can fine-tune your lighting ambiance seamlessly.
  3. Dim-to-Warm LED Strip: This variety offers a tranquil candlelight effect. Their specialty lies in their adaptability – they can adjust color temperatures from 3000K to 1800K, allowing you to recreate sunrise or sunset hues. It’s an excellent choice for a soothing environment.
  4. RGBX LED Strip: A contemporary solution to ambient lighting, RGBX strips present a spectrum of color options. From classic muted tones to vibrant shades, they cater to varied preferences. However, note that multiple RGBX variants are suited for ambient lighting.
  5. Dynamic Color Shift LED Strip: Stepping up in innovation, these addressable LED strips enhance your lighting experience. Each segment can be controlled individually, letting you craft a multi-colored cascade. Often referred to as ‘magic’ or ‘dream’ strips, they redefine lighting.

For ambient lighting, mellow shades often hit the mark, be it warm, cool, or subtly colorful. If you’re seeking recommendations, the adjustable white or dim-to-warm strips stand out for crafting a serene ambiance. However, vibrant shades can be an exhilarating choice for those who lean towards contemporary aesthetics.

Understanding Color Temperature

Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) measures the shade of white light about temperature. Recognizing these shades is vital to understanding a light’s appearance. Refer to the following chart for specifics.

Color Temperature (CRI rating)Lighting Effect
2000KTungsten Light
3000KHousehold Light Bulb
4000KNatural Light
6000KCool White

Remember, different color temperatures influence mood. When selecting LED strips for ambient lighting, understand the color temperature’s impact to create the desired ambiance. Choose accordingly.

CRI Rating

The Color Rendering Index (CRI) denotes the accuracy of color representation under lighting. Opt for LED strips with a higher CRI for vivid and true-to-life colors. Graded on a scale of 1-100, a higher CRI translates to superior color quality. Ideally, aim for a CRI above 90 for the best results.

Voltage Matters

LED strips come in various voltage options: 5Vdc, 12Vdc, 24Vdc, 36Vdc, and 48Vdc. If you need powerful illumination, choose a higher-voltage LED strip. However, for standard residential or office lighting, 12Vdc suffices. There are also options to customize the voltage based on your requirements.

Power Usage

The brightness of LED strips is closely tied to their power consumption. Consider the intended lighting effect when shopping for strips. Typically, they range from 2.4w/m to 30w/m in power usage. Brands like MyLikeLed also offer customizable power consumption options, perfect for specific lighting scenarios like accent or cabinet lighting.

IP Rating

The Ingress Protection (IP) rating reflects a product’s resilience against environmental elements. A higher IP rating means better protection. For instance, IP52 offers dust resistance. For a waterproof option, consider LED strips with an IP68 rating. Base your choice on where you plan to install these strips.

Choosing the Right Controller

An intelligent LED controller enhances the LED strip lighting experience. Control your lighting seamlessly with a smartphone or remote, and experiment with colors. Notably, addressable LED strips with DMX512 technology provide cutting-edge color modification choices.

Benefits of Using LED Strips for Ambient Lighting

While myriad methods exist to achieve ambient lighting, LED strips stand out. Here are compelling reasons why LED strips shine brighter than other lighting options:

1. Durability LED strips are encased in plastic or silicone, ensuring flexibility and robustness. They resist breakage during installation and outlast many traditional lights. For instance, MyLikeLed LED strips boast a five-year warranty but often surpass the lifespan of conventional lamps.

2. Flexibility in Design LED strips offer many colors and dynamic lighting effects. You also gain control over the brightness and hue, allowing for tailored ambient lighting solutions.

3. Energy Efficiency Compared to standard lights, LED strips are power savers. They consume approximately 85% less energy than incandescent bulbs, ensuring both ambiance and savings on your electricity bill.

4. Adjustable Brightness LED strips come equipped with dimming capabilities. This feature lets you modify light intensity and brightness using a remote or smartphone to suit your preferences.

5. Dynamic Color Options Tunable White LED strips present an enticing array of color choices. You can seamlessly shift between warm and cool tones, adjusting the color temperature to your liking. This unique attribute alone can make LED strips a preferred choice.

6. Water-Resistance Considering ambient lighting for damp areas like bathrooms or pools. LED strips are perfect. Available in varied IP ratings, they can withstand water exposure. With the highest IP68 rating, some LED strips can illuminate your pool’s interior.

7. Aesthetic Appeal LED strips enhance indoor and outdoor spaces, adding a touch of elegance to your decor. Whether you desire subtle warmth or vibrant tones to revitalize an area, LED strips are your go-to option.

In conclusion, LED strips not only redefine ambient lighting but also elevate your decor, all while being cost-effective.

How Should You Determine Ambient Light Brightness?

Ensuring adequate visibility is vital when selecting brightness for LED strip ambient lighting. Nevertheless, the ideal light intensity often varies depending on the specific location. Below, I’ve recommended some brightness levels suitable for different parts of your home:

Lightening Area Recommended Brightness 
Bedroom 2000 – 4000 lumen 
Living room1500 – 3000 lumen
Bathroom3000 – 35000 lumen 
Dining Area 470 – 800 lumen 

Furthermore, consider investing in a controller for your LED strip, enabling you to tailor the light’s brightness according to your preference. For tailored advice, consult LED lighting specialists. For instance, MyLikeLed provides customizable LED strips to deliver the correct intelligence for any lighting scenario.

Using LED Strips for Enhanced Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting enhances spaces and offers optimal visibility. Consider these locations where LED strips can provide beautiful ambient lighting:


LED strips shine brilliantly as ceiling lights. Utilize various design patterns like tracing the perimeter of the ceiling or innovating with unique shapes. Also, fashioning a false ceiling and incorporating LED strips in a cove lighting manner delivers a captivating indirect lighting experience.


Warm-toned LED strips in bedrooms create a tranquil ambiance. Their warm glow promotes restful sleep. Alternatively, RGBX LED strips infuse your bedroom with dynamic colors, letting you select a hue that resonates with your style.


Illuminate your bathroom using LED strips. Choose between warm or cool tones. Enhance the decor by placing LED strips around mirrors or bathtubs. If you fancy a distinctive touch, consider lighting up the bathroom floor. Ensure your LED strips are waterproof for bathroom use.

Cinema Room

Setting the mood in a cinema room demands versatile lighting. Vibrant RGB LED strips are recommended over tunable white options. Addressable LED strips can revolutionize your space, harmonizing colors with music and screen visuals.

Kitchen Cabinet

LED strips elevate the elegance of your kitchen. Position them atop or beneath cabinets to emphasize your kitchen’s design and ensure adequate illumination for cooking.

Vanity Lighting

LED strips encircling mirrors and drawers elevate your vanity’s elegance. Opt for tunable LED strips that cast a pristine white sheen. When selecting for vanity purposes, prioritize the CRI rating.

Gaming Room

The dynamic colors of RGB or addressable LED strips create a thrilling ambiance for gaming rooms. They offer diverse color blends that seamlessly align with gaming atmospheres.


LED strips redefine a garage’s aesthetics. They can be mounted on ceilings or floors or to delineate parking spots.


LED strips employed as accent lighting vivify staircases. They’re perfect for stairways in homes, offices, eateries, hotels, or business spaces.


LED strips excel in furnishing vehicles with ambient lighting. Install them inside or externally for enhanced aesthetics, like in headlights, below seats, around windows, or beneath the car.

Office Space

Considering your workspace, LED strips can be utilized in dual roles – for focused illumination and as decorative accents. LED strips on your conference room ceiling or over workstations provide efficient task lighting. Moreover, adorning shelves and storage spaces with them can elevate the aesthetics of your office. Additionally, flexible LED wall washers behind the front desk, illuminating the company signage, can be a striking touch.

Clothing Storage

For those with walk-in closets, LED strips are an optimal lighting choice. They’re perfect for showcasing accessories, bags, shoes, and more. Also, installing them inside your wardrobe can be both practical and stylish.

Accenting Artwork

Illuminate the artistic features of your home with LED strips. LED strips can draw your visitor’s attention, whether it’s a captivating painting, a unique showpiece, a framed photograph, or any display item.

Library Display

A bookshelf isn’t just for organization; it’s also a design statement. Incorporating LED strips in your bookshelf enhances its visual appeal and aids in effortlessly locating books.

Aquatic Display Lighting

For aquariums, waterproof LED strips are the way to go. While numerous vibrant choices are available, selecting blue LED strips can impart a serene, oceanic feel to your aquarium’s ambiance.

Exterior Illumination

Illuminate your home’s exterior with either vibrant or classic white LED strips. For instance, tracing the perimeter walls or accentuating decorative plants with LEDs can craft a picturesque ambient setting in your backyard.


Ambient lighting is an excellent alternative to natural light, finding its place in homes, workplaces, eateries, hotels, and various commercial settings.

While there are numerous sources for ambient lighting, such as chandeliers, track lights, and LED bulbs, LED strips stand out as the premier choice. They offer versatility for indoor and outdoor use, boasting durability, water resistance, and affordability.

For those seeking top-tier ambient lighting, MyLikeLed presents an unmatched solution. We specialize in high-quality, certified LED strips and neon flexes. Additionally, we prioritize client-specific needs with our customizable options. Contact us today for unparalleled LED strip solutions for your lighting endeavors!


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