Lighting fixtures that aim light up and away from the eye, effectively bouncing the light off another surface before it fills a room, fall into the category of indirect lighting. Indirect lighting ideas divide into several categories, the first being light fixtures designed to be indirect, wall sconces are a good example. The second category is fixtures that can be adapted to become indirect lighting; rope lighting and fluorescent tube lights are this type.
Types of Indirect Lighting Ideas
Rope Lighting – Use rope lighting to accent or highlight areas of a room. Rope lighting consists of a string of LED lights or incandescent bulbs that are encased in a plastic tube and sold in varying lengths. Rope lighting can be sold by the foot from a spool, but will require the correct accessories to attach it to a power source. Rope lighting also comes in shorter lengths, with plug attached and ready for an outlet. Added to the inside of a curio cabinet, placed as under-cabinet lighting or attached along the lip of stairs and steps, this indirect lighting source illuminates and gives visual guidance in low-lit areas.
Cove Lighting – Cove lighting is built into recesses and ledges in rooms with high ceilings (above 8 feet). This form of indirect lighting crowns a room with an even glow of light, allowing a clear view of the room, but with the light fixture hidden. A cove is a shelf or lip that follows the perimeter of the room and can be added during initial building or at a later point in time. Coves can be created by applying a thick (deep) crown molding along the top of the walls. The molding will need to be deep enough to hide the chosen light fixture. Fixtures that work with a cove include fluorescent tubes, rope lighting and xenon low-voltage fixtures. Neal Barrett’s book, Ultimate Guide To Architectural Ceiling Treatments, includes a section on the ins and outs of cove lighting.
Wall Washing – Reverse the idea of cove lighting, or flip the cove to face downward, and light hallways, entryways and even important rooms like bedrooms and living areas by washing the wall with light instead of the ceiling. The book, Building Systems For Interior Designers, by Corky Binggeli describes this technique used in many commercial spaces. Use it in a residence by placing the lighting on its own switch and dimmer to achieve a warm glow whenever needed, day or evening. Wall sconces can also be used to wash walls and can be directed up toward the ceiling or down toward the floor depending upon the sconce design.
One of the best ways to add interest to home decor features is to add indirect lighting. Once it has been added, one of the challenges with indirect lighting ideas is hiding it effectively. Most often used over cabinetry, these lights can be hidden completely from view using crown moldings available at most home improvement stores.