How To Install LED Strip Lights On The Ceiling

Here’s the most exciting guide you’ve been looking for. How to make your dream LED RGB room come to life!

Here, you will find tips on the best place to put your LED strip lights, a step-by-step guide to doing so, and alternate setups.

You can install LED strip lights around your ceiling by measuring ceiling perimeter length, using a high-quality strip with built-in adhesive, and opting to install the strip behind a recession or coving for a beautiful, dramatic yet luxurious lighting effect.

Where Should LED Strips Be Placed On Ceiling?

The starting point of your strips really matters because the power outlet will be around that area.

And in case you’re an avid YouTuber or TikToker, then you definitely don’t want unsavory wires showing in your videos.

Otherwise, the wire going up from your power outlet to your LED power supply should be discreet, like behind some furniture or door or near a wall corner.

Alternatively, you can use the cable concealer cover like this one on Amazon.

Once your strip lights are plugged in, you need to decide where they need to be placed on the ceiling.

If you want more of your ceiling lit up, place the strips around 3-5 inches from the ceiling.

If you want more of your wall lit up, place the strips around a foot below the ceiling to allow enough space to glow upwards.

The most ideal way to install LEDs is where their LED individual diodes are not jarringly visible and are hidden while preventing the harsh glare given off the lights from your eyes.

Some ceilings have a built-in recession and are called drop-down ceilings, false ceilings, or suspended ceilings.

There is a small area to insert lights if needed, and in our case, the perfect place to hide exposed LED strips.

How To Install LED Strips On Ceiling: Step By Step Guide

Here’s the step-by-step guide on how to install LED strip lights. However, before you start your process, plug in the LEDs, and check that they are working, then continue the project.

Step #1: Measure your room ceiling’s perimeter, including all the corners and turns along the way. Ensure you also measure the distance from your power outlet if the power supply has a short wire.

Since LED strips come in specific lengths, you can now decide whether you want one or more LED strip reels.

You can easily cut the strips to length if the designated copper cutting points are provided on the reel.

Step #2: For optimal visual appeal and minimum wastage of extra reel or extra wiring, ensure that the power outlet is as close as possible to the source supply that comes with your LED strip reel.

Step #3: Now, to make sure your LED strips last as long as they are designed to, your setup should be well-ventilated with airflow in the room and not stuffed behind bulky furniture or thick curtains.

Also, be sure to use coving that allows good heat dissipation (like aluminum, do not use wood), and is wide and deep enough for ventilation.

Step #4: Here comes the fun part. Sticking it all up! Some high-quality strips come with built-in adhesive on the back of the strips that you peel and stick.

This is a better option as some manufacturers ensure the built-in tape is also designed to carry away excess heat.

Other strips need an external double-sided tape that you need to stick yourself, first to the strip and then to the wall, coving, or ceiling.

This can be a tedious process and may come loose earlier than expected.

However, suppose your ceiling has a porous or textured design. In that case, you need to consider adding external double-tape or wall adhesive to hold it up better.

Remember to peel around 3-5 inches of tape at one time to make the handling easier.

How to install strip lights on the ceiling infographics

Measurements can go wrong, but don’t worry. If you have measured the strip before you have taped it on and find it falling short, leave the extra gap at the end of the whole length.

This way you can add more light strips when you order again, or you can join strips you already have around.

How To Install LED Strip Lights In False Ceiling?

false ceiling

False ceilings, sometimes called a drop ceiling – where you have an extra ‘fake’ ceiling hanging below the main one – are perfect for LED strip lights.

You can have a clean, contemporary ceiling that looks like it’s floating, with LEDs providing the perfect modern accent – especially if you choose RGB lights for a cool color hue lighting up your home.

No need for extra coving or crown molding here.

Installing strip lights on false ceiling shares many of the same challenges as installing them on any other ceiling.

The two main specific challenges come around power supply and positioning.

When it comes to the power source, you have to remember that your floating ceiling is likely to be central.

This means that to reach an outlet, you need to run the LED strips’ cables out of the false ceiling, along the main surface, and then down a wall.

Some floating ceilings do extend to the wall, so hiding the cable is easier.

But if yours doesn’t, you’ll either need to find a subtle way to cover the cable or get really clever (but also quite tricky) and run the cable through the main ceiling and to a space in the wall.

That’s a significant renovation project, though, and not one to undertake if you don’t know what you’re doing.

As for positioning, there are two options that you need to decide on.

You’ll either have the strip lights oriented vertically, attached to the frame holding up the dropped ceiling, or they’ll be horizontal, directed upwards.

If you’re attaching them to the frame that may have gaps, LED tape might not be strong enough to secure them.

You may need wide staples or a stronger adhesive for the points of contact.

If you choose to have the LEDs horizontal, make sure they’re behind a lip – your ceiling needs a lip; otherwise, you’ll still see the actual unsightly light strip.

Get them as close to the lip as possible to prevent light dots from shining onto the frame holding the ceiling up.

You could use sealed rope lights if you want a guaranteed consistent light, but this likely won’t be necessary.

One benefit of a false ceiling is that you likely won’t need to chain on as many strip lights, which could lead to a voltage drop if they are run in series.

How To Hide LED Light Strip On Ceiling?

So hiding ceiling LED strip lights is relatively simple – you’ve got the perfect hiding place already.

Before telling you more ways of hiding the LED strips, I want to tell you why strips look better in moldings, recessions, and hidden.

Consider first of all that your LED light strip will not be on the whole time at night since that would unnecessarily burden your transformer or power supply. Also, think about the daytime! In both these instances, your LEDs are off.

When the strips are off, they are not a very pretty sight to look at. They are covered in numbers, and wiring and all the little electrical components like the diodes and resistors are visible.

Going further, your vision is also affected by uncovered LEDs. Apart from the glare that I have mentioned earlier, the bright undiffused light of the LEDs leaves an imprint on your eyes which is an ‘afterimage’.

So after looking directly or indirectly at exposed LEDs, when you close your eyes, you will see tiny black dots of the lights, which results from overstimulation of the receptors in our retinas.

Now that you know a few deeper reasons for considering hiding your lights, let’s look at some more ways.

So the ideal way to hide your LED strips is, of course, utilizing the drop-down ceiling mountings you already have in your room.

Alternatively, you can use coving to provide extra space to hide and install your strips.

To achieve this look, buy aluminum coving, which is a strip of aluminum with a recession to place your LED strips, and a raised lip to hide them from view.

The lip is low enough to allow the soft and mystical glow to come out.

This setup looks the best as it hides the black-colored strip with dotted lights and maintains a certain mystery and romantic aspect to the light source. In this case, less is more!

One more similar solution is to buy flexible LED profiles, which come in a lot of variety depending on the project’s needs.

An LED profile houses an LED strip completely. The light shines through a diffused surface, allowing for a lovely glow effect around the room.

When used on the floor, this kind of housing allows the LED strip to be walked over without getting damaged.

How To Hide LED Light Connectors?

installation of LED strip lights

So you’ve got your elegant LED lights all installed in your living space, everything’s connected and working great – but now you’ve got some ugly connector wires on show.

And against your walls or ceiling, they really stand out, especially if it’s a black wire against a clean white or light-colored wall.

The easiest way to hide them is with a cord cover (Amazon). These can be made from various materials, so choose the colors that look the best in your room.

You can buy tape which you simply apply straight to the wall – it will have a raised center where the cables sit.

More common is the fixed cover, usually a slim box made from plastic.

You simply place the cables in the open box mount and then fix the cover to the wall, usually using double-sided tape. Still, some will be more permanent if you prefer and can be screwed in.

A box is usually a better option because wires can get trapped under tape if you’re not careful. It will be more visible, but they are still relatively discreet.

Once you’ve installed the cover over your connectors, most can be painted to match the shade of your wall or ceiling.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep any paint can leftovers! Paint the cover in the same shade, and you’ll barely notice it’s there.

Suppose you want more of a DIY project. In that case, you can run the cables to the power source through the wall using a cable faceplate (Amazon).

You’ll need someone with experience in proper cable management

Can LED Strip Lights Be Installed Without The Coving?

You must be wondering from all this talk about hiding strip lights if it is such a big mistake to install any lights without hiding them?

Well, of course, you can install them as it is. In fact, if you are starting out with your LED strip light projects and only have enough budget to experiment with a reel, you may want to not get any extra coving.

Using the tape provided, you can simply stick the strip lights to the walls or ceiling directly, and it could be that you might even prefer that ‘naked’ look!

The reason to hide it in coving or recession is to reduce glare and give a more aesthetically appealing look to the room.

But if you want, you can install a dimmer to your setup and reduce the glow to achieve a less harsh light.

So don’t let the absence of the added cost of coving or the hard work of installing a drop-down ceiling stop you from adding the LED strip lights!

Any LED strip lighting is better than none at all!

You can always add those features at a later time, or not at all!

Final Words

There you have it, a complete guide to take your first steps in installing an LED strip light setup. Check back for more LED projects.

What kind of light projection are you aiming to achieve?

Do you have a drop-down ceiling, or are you considering coving?