Whether you are in a lease arrangement that prevents you from painting your walls or whether you own your home and just can’t seem to commit to a particular wall color, LED lighting is a great, practical and fun way to paint your walls with light. The term is “wall washing” and it refers to any method used to flood a wall with light. Wall washing is easily achieved and is probably the quickest way to dramatically change a room.
Let’s get all the objections out of the way first.
Is all this light going to make my electricity bill skyrocket?
Definitely not! In fact most of the time adding a wall wash element creates enough ambient light that you end up using less lighting than before. Plus, the LED lighting fixtures themselves https://ledwall21.com/ require anywhere from about as much power as a standard nightlight on the lower end, to about half as much power as a single incandescent bulb on the higher end. No matter how bold or colorful you decide to go, it’s more likely that your electricity bill will either drop or stay the same. (We can prepare an energy audit that will show you before and after electricity usage patterns so you can be sure.)
I don’t want to heat-up my rooms with all this light. I have children or pets that I don’t want to get burned by these fixtures.
LED lighting is a completely different technology from the lighting we are accustomed to. LEDs have no filaments to break and they produce little to no heat. For perspective, if you’ve ever used a notebook computer on your lap you have likely experienced more heat than any LED wall wash fixture.
I don’t want to get wrapped up in having to replace burned out bulbs all the time.
Whereas traditional lighting is measured in the average number of hours it will illuminate before burning out completely and requiring replacement, LED lighting is measured in terms of the number of hours the LEDs will illuminate before the light output drops to 50% of its original performance. In other words, a traditional bulb will burn out but LEDs will just be putting out less light. With 8,765 hours in a year and with most LEDs rated in the 30,000 – 60,000 hour range, replacement of LEDs shouldn’t be a concern.
The beauty of LED lighting is that it is not necessary to commit to a single color for your walls. By mixing output intensities of Red, Green and Blue LEDs, we can create any color you can think of. The best part is that the software in the lighting fixture does all the math for you. All you do is press a button on a remote control, on a wall switch, on your smartphone or even on your computer. The same software that creates the lighting color you desire also controls the overall brightness of the light. So for example, if your living room receives a lot of ambient sunlight during the day, the LED fixtures will crank out a brighter overall light. Then at night, you can have the fixtures scale back the brightness and create a mood lighting effect so you can easily see where you are walking while still being able to enjoy a movie in your darkened room.
SO WHAT DO I NEED?
I wish there was an easy way to answer this. What you will need will hinge on several things specific to the area you are wanting to light. The answers to the following will also help dictate what type of LED is used in the manufacture of the LED fixtures.
- Location of existing power outlets
- Ease of adding additional power outlets
- Amount of ambient light in the room
- Size of the area to illuminate
- Texture, color and finish of the existing walls
- Average humidity of the area (bathroom/outdoor patio or bedroom)
- How do you want to control the lighting?
- If you have several walls, do you want individual or synchronized color changes?
- How “portable” does the lighting need to be?
- Do you want to be able to quickly and easily move it to different rooms when needed or do you want it to be fairly permanent?
TYPES OF FIXTURES
In our experience, 90% of all wall washes can be accomplished with 3 – 4 main products.
Round or rectangular wall washers are usually less than 12″ wide by 10′ deep and only sit a few inches off the floor. They tend to have multiple rows of LEDs to concentrate the light output to a small overall package. The total wattage of these kinds of washers can range from about 9 watts, for diffuse or low-throw applications like illuminating a dark bedroom corner, to about 50 watts for extremely high throw applications such as lighting up the side of a three-story home.
Linear-type wall washers generally are about 3″ – 4″ deep and anywhere from 12″ to 40″ long. They usually contain just a single row of LEDs, although certain applications may instead contain multiple rows of smaller, differing types of LEDs. These wall wash fixtures are great for creating a consistent, even light-throw on walls up to about 20′ high. These fixtures are very solidly built out of aluminum or stainless steel and glass and are frequently water resistant enough to be used indoors or outdoors in wet locations without any problem.
Flexible LED ribbon and lightweight rigid LED strips are the lightest and most flexible in terms of usage and fit. They are usually less than 2″ deep and can be manufactured to any widths needed from 4′ to 15′. Because of their compact size, they use high brightness LEDs and are the best solution for indoor or outdoor areas where space is at a premium and the light-throw requirements are less than 10′ – 15′.
Using LED lighting to wall wash within your home is a very practical and beautiful way to completely change the look of a room. Whether you are trying to spruce-up a dated room, accent a wall in your media room, create a dramatic entrance or simply add some light to a child’s room, wall washing with LED light is a great way to make a huge difference to a room with a minimum of effort. Once you see how easy it is to make such an amazing home improvement, you’ll wonder why you waited so long.