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L&L Design Guide: Indirect Lighting Ideas

Indirect lighting design helps make a room a comfortable and relaxing space, as it provides a soft glow and diffused light. There is a wide range of indirect lighting ideas catering to all areas of the home: from the bedroom, and living room to the outdoors. Here are a number of indirect lighting options to consider.

indirect lighting ideas

Cove Lighting Design

Cove lighting is the best form of indirect ceiling lighting. The most common type of cove lighting is a false ceiling that has light fixtures tucked away within it. The light is bounced off of the ceiling and walls into the room. You can even have multiple levels of cove lighting. This all requires quite a bit of remodeling work as the ceiling needs to be altered.

cove lights

Only a portion of the ceiling has been dropped down

A simpler option is to use crown molding for indirect lighting. This is when crown molding is installed usually a couple of inches down from the ceiling – creating a space above the crown molding where the lights can sit.

cove lighting

Cove lighting

For more, have a look at our cove lighting ideas post.

Using Downlights

Downlights are another indirect lighting idea. These are the same as recessed lights (lights that are fitted into the ceiling hiding all of the parts) except they tend to be smaller and are fitted closer to the wall to highlight a hanging art piece, textured wall, or a decorative piece on a side table.

indirect living room lighting

Downlights highlighting a wall in the living room

The Luxurious Touch of Floor Lighting

indirect lighting floor lamp

Indirect Lighting: A floor lamp and a house plant

Floor lighting is an elegant way of lighting a space. There are a number of ways to do this. A common idea is to install uplights close to the wall, which will wash the wall with light. Other ideas include installing lights at the bottom of cabinets.

Directional lamps can be placed on the floor and faced onto the wall. These can be placed next to a house plant – and the light will cast shadows across the wall, creating depth in the room.

For more, read our floor lighting ideas post.

Painting The Walls with Wall Washers

Wall washers direct light up onto the wall and onto the ceiling. Another way of doing this is to use uplights. Wall washers have a softer glow, while uplights are used more for accenting certain areas.

Accent Indirect Lighting Ideas

Another form of indirect lighting are lights that are used for another purpose like accenting areas, or showcasing items.

Here are some ideas:

    • Display Lighting: This is when a small space has been created within a wall to showcase décor pieces. These spaces will have a recessed light installed above them.
indirect display lighting

An example of display lighting

    • indirect recessed wall lighting

      indirect recessed wall lighting

      A recessed wall usually to house a bathroom mirror or a bed can house indirect light fixtures.

    • A decorative panel on the wall or an art piece can have lights fitted behind to create a glow around it.
wall panels lights

Wall panels being back lit

Other Indirect Lighting Ideas

    • In the bedroom lights can be fitted behind the headboard to create relaxing mood lighting.
romantic bedroom lighting

Lights behind the headboard

    • Lights can be installed behind Plexiglass or frosted glass to create a diffused and soft glow of light. This can be done in the bathroom, or under a desk.
bathroom lighting

A warm glow comes from behind the wall

    • In the living room LED lights can be installed behind the TV like in the picture below.
TV back lighting

Romantic living room lighting using lights behind a TV

    • Rope lights are great for creating indirect lighting. They can be stuck to the back of cabinets, bottom of the cabinets to create floor lighting, or underneath the lip of steps.
    • Don’t forget that mirrors are great in making a room appear bigger, and helps reflect light around.

Indirect Outdoor Lighting

There are a number of ways to create indirect lighting for outdoor spaces:

    • Wrap string lights around trees, railings or overhead beams
    • Uplights shining onto trees, bushes, plants, and the walls of the house
    • Swimming pool lights acts as indirect lighting for patios, and decks

For more outdoor ideas have a look at our post here: home outdoor lighting ideas


Related Posts:

L&L Guide on Romantic Lighting Ideas: From the Bedroom to the Outdoors


image credits: favaro JR., John, Christian, Viet Hoang



L&L Design Guide: Creative and Modern Desk Lighting Ideas [Pictures]

There are two types of desk lighting ideas: you have the functional white lights that help with productivity, and then there are more relaxing lights that helps with creativity. Below are ideas for both kinds.

Here are some creative and unique desk lighting ideas:

      • Have a lamp pointed to a wall which has a piece of art work, poster, or memorabilia
      • Place a lamp behind the computer monitor to create a soft glow of light around the desk

desk lighting ideas

  • If you have a plexiglass or a glass desk surface, having under desk lighting (either on the floor or attached to the desk) will create a soft glowing space.
      • An adjustable pendant or wall light is a versatile lighting option
      • The desk draws can have lights installed inside of them to come on whenever you open them.
      • Rope lights, LED lights which are encased within a flexible plastic tube, can be used around the desk. They can be fixed to the back of the desk, or under the desk to create floor lighting.
desk light

A lamp behind the monitor creates a relaxing glow around the desk

desk lights

Another example of lights behind the monitor(s)

under desk lighting

An example of a transparent desk using under lighting

desk lighting

Another transparent desk using under lighting

desk lights

A desk lit up by the fish tank, floor lighting, and a lamp behind the laptop

Desk draw light

Automatic desk draw lighting

Desk Light

An adjustable wall light

The Essential Desk Lamp

One thing to remember is that when you have a desk lamp you do not want the light bulb to be higher than your eye line, otherwise the light bulb will be visible and will create glare. A traditional and popular choice is the anglepoise lamp (the one also known as The Pixar Lamp). This can be angled in every direction.

The LEAF lamp - a luxurious desk light

The Leaf Lamp

There are more modern desk lamps, ones that make use of the latest LED technology and have touch pads controls. Like the Leaf Lamp designed by Yves Behar for Herman Miller, which allows you to change the LED lights from functional cold lighting, to more relaxing warm lighting. It was named by Time Magazine as “Best Invention of 2007”. It is priced at $429 and available here.

Space Saving

When it comes to desk lamps, there are a number of different bases to choose from which can help in saving valuable desk space. For example there are magnetic lamps which can be stuck onto a nearby metal surface, there are also lamps that can be clamped onto the desk. Another space saving computer desk lighting option is to use floor lamps.

magnetic work lamps

If you want a more decorative desk lamp, then head on over to Evil Robot Designs and get a custom superhero lamp made. These guys will use old toys to create the base of a lamp, as seen in the awesome pictures below.

golden super hero lamp

golden super hero lamp

Make Your Own Lamp Shades: There is also the Lamp In A Box website that allows you to upload your own images to have them printed onto a lamp shade.

How about trying out one of these DIY desk lamp ideas from our recent posts:

L&L Design Guide: 6 DIY Lamp Ideas and Projects

How To Make Paper Lamps: Simple and Elegant DIY Ideas [coming soon]

Using Picasa to Make Collages for DIY Photo Lamp Shades [coming soon]

DIY Dip Dye Lamps: Create Colorful Gradient Lamp Shades [coming soon]

Natural Lighting

The best lighting to use in the day is natural lighting. Look for good quality blinds, windows, or shades, that let you control the level of light/heat that comes in.

Mood Lights and Modern Desk Lighting

Mood lights help in creating a relaxing and comfortable work setting, allowing you to do more creative thinking. An example of a modern and sleek mood light is the Yantouch Jellyfish. It looks like a blend of a jellyfish and an iPad. It even has a gesture based, touch control pad. Since it uses LED lights the lamp can shine a range of hundreds of thousands of colors, and fade between them. Other mood desk lighting fixtures include the Lune by Cielux, or the Philips Mood Light Collection.

Simple Desk Lighting Ideas

Simple mood lights that could be used on a desk include flameless candles. These are LED lights that use a candle like base. You can find some that use real wax bases, some are even scented.

If you have a window by your desk, you can make use of Sun Jars. These are decorative Mason jars that have a solar panel on the top. At night when it is dark, the light will come on and will look like there is a mini sun floating in the jar.

Sun Jar

The Sun Jar


For more desk lighting ideas, for what to use as ceiling lights, cabinet lights, etc. have a look at our more elaborative post here: Design Guide: Home Office Lighting Ideas


Related Posts:

Sleek Brazilian Design: Modern Designer Desk Lamp

Profile on Kozo Lamp: The Desk Collection [coming soon]

Stunning DIY: The Digital Word Clock Lamp [coming soon]

image credits



Lights & Lights Room Guide: Baby Nursery Lighting Ideas

When it comes to baby nursery lighting ideas the same principles of lighting any room still apply: you want enough general ambient lighting to create a comfortable space and you’ll need task lights (like lamps) in specific areas of the room.

The Basics

Some basic and essential lights to include in a nursery are ceiling lights and table lamps. When it comes to ceiling lights in a nursery a popular choice are pendant lights. These bring the light closer down from the ceiling providing more localized lighting. They also help keep an intimate and cozy feeling in the room.

  • DIY Paper Lantern Map Light

Creative Vintage Map Paper Lantern

Have a look at our post here showing Allison’ DIY paper lamp, where she used an inexpensive, standard paper lantern, and glued cut out pieces of a map to create lovely pendant lighting for a nursery.

An instant pendant light from Home Decorators

  • Modern Nursery Lighting

Another popular ceiling lighting option, seen in many modern and newly built homes, are recessed lights. These are the types of lights that are fitted within the ceiling, hiding all the parts, creating a minimalistic look.

If you want to create a cozy feeling in the room, but don’t want to have pendant lights (which require special wiring) as they might not be suitable when your baby grows up, there is an alternative that merges recessed and pendant lights together. Pendant adapters are pendant lights that easily screw into a recessed light socket. So you can easily switch between the two types of lighting.

  • The Importance of Table Lamps

Table lamps are essential nursery lighting fixtures. Keep one on a side table near the crib. Use a low watt bulb so that you can keep the lighting at a low level even in the middle of night. Or another option is to install dimmer switches so you don’t blind yourself in the middle of the night if you haven’t already done so on the way to the nursery room.

nursery lighting

A table lamp sits conveniently next to the changing station

Floor lamps are also ideal in a nursery room, but will be best taken out once your little one has grown from a baby to a roaming toddler. As you don’t want them pulling at the light.

Night Lights

You don’t want your little baby to wake up in the middle of the night and be in complete darkness. A simple plug in wall night light helps babies be more at ease when they wake up at crazy hours. Or how about a more elaborate and modern night light like the Twilight Turtle that shines constellations onto the ceiling.

The Twilight Turtle night light

Decorative Baby Room Lighting Ideas

Here are two decorative nursery room lighting ideas:

  • White/Orange String Lights: They provide a soft glow of light and turn a room into an enchanting space. If you use LED ones (they give off less heat) you can even wrap them around in drapery creating diffused and whimsical lighting.
  • Chandelier Lighting: A mini chandelier in the middle of the room will create a magical centerpiece and focal point in the room.

image credits: Jon Page


Related Posts:

Nurturing Sleep With Children’s Wall Lights

Design Guide: Kids Bedroom Lighting Ideas



Design Guide: Barn Lighting Ideas from Decorative to Task Based

The Basics of Barn Lighting

Let’s first go over a few basic essential lights that are needed in a barn. Then we’ll go over more elaborate barn lighting ideas and designs, which include such things as uplights, string lights and skylights.


When it comes to the interior of the barn, you’ll need to be looking for lighting that brings light down from the ceiling. Pendant lights/hanging lights are the ideal light fixtures in doing this. There are a number of styles and fixtures that can be used for this, which we go over later. We also go over more decorative and tasked based barn lighting options.


The exterior of barn is also an important area to light for security, and safety – as it allows people to easily walk up to the barn at night. Ideas for the exterior of the barn include:

  • Path lighting up to the barn such as solar stake lights.

barn path lighting

  • For security measures, a motion sensor light can be fitted above the barn door that will go on when anything nearby moves.  
  • Wall lights are another idea for adding outdoor barn lighting: hanging lanterns, gooseneck lights, and wall sconces are a few light fixture types to consider.

Power Type

If you are starting from scratch, or are looking to do a lot of remodeling, then you’ll be able to choose the type of power your lights will be powered by. There are three choices here: low voltage lighting, high voltage, or solar powered.

Low voltage lighting is the most common type of outdoor lighting. Low voltage lighting is safer for outdoor lighting, it is cheaper to run, and the lights will be slightly dimmer as you can see with most people’s backyard lighting. This is done by connecting a transformer to the house’s main power supply, which lowers the voltage for the lights in and outside of the barn.

For a quick guide on low voltage lighting have a look at our post here: How To Install Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting In No Time

High voltage lighting is taking the electricity directly from the house’s main source and using it outdoors. If you are using the barn a lot and need proper lighting as you would in a house, then high voltage is ideal. You would want the barn to be completely weather proof just like a home. If you are using the barn to store things, and use it every now and again at night, then low voltage lighting would be best or even solar lighting.

Most people won’t have too many light fixtures in a barn (a few hanging lights, wall lights, etc.), so a few solar panels installed on the roof of the barn, or to the side of the barn will be able to power all of the lighting. It could even power other things in the barn (power outlets for tools, etc.).

Barn Lighting Ideas

Ambient Lighting

Here are some general barn lighting ideas:

  • A lot of barn designs are completely closed off, making them dark inside even during the day. If this is the case, then you can make great use of natural lighting. A few ways to do this include: installing windows, a skylight or solar tubes (a tube that goes from the top of the roof outside, to the inside of the barn bringing light in)
solar tube

A solar tube

natural barn lighting

A barn making great use of natural lighting during the day with large windows

  • Gooseneck lights are ideal as they stick out from the wall shining light across a larger area.
Gooseneck barn lights

Gooseneck barn lights from barnlightelectric.com

  • The poles of the barn can make great bases for light fixtures. Wall lanterns or sconces can be attached to them.

Decorative Lighting Ideas

For more decorative barn house lighting ideas try:

  • string lights String lights can be used for decorative lighting in a barn, wrapped around poles or overhead beams. They come in the standard small sized (like the common Christmas lights) light bulb (use white or yellow), or there are a range of decorative and elaborative versions like globe string lights.
barn lights

String lights wrapped around the poles and beams, branch lights, and ceiling uplights decoratively lighting up this barn

  • barn uplights Other decorative ideas include a grand wrought iron or rustic chandelier that can hang down and be a focal point within the barn. Uplights, pointed onto the walls and poles are common in decorating barn weddings, and can be used for everyday barn lighting. These same uplights can be placed overhead on the beams pointing onto the ceiling, adding more ambient lighting in the barn.
  • 2 simple decorative barn lighting options include using paper lanterns, and lighted twigs. Paper lanterns are inexpensive, and are lightweight so they are easy to install. They are popular in decorating barn weddings. Branch lights are branches stuck into a pot of sand or soil and wrapped in string lights.

Task Lighting

If you do any mechanical work in the barn or keep livestock, then you would want to have some specific task lighting within these areas. Low hanging florescent light strips are a popular choice as they cover a wide area, and are suitable in cold climates. Because of the white light they give off, they show true colors, allowing you to see the real color of paint, animal skin, etc.

A good thing to have around is a battery or solar powered lamp that you can carry around in the barn.

Resources: Styles and Barn Lighting Fixtures To Search For

Here are some styles and light fixture terms to keep in mind when searching for your barn lights:

  1. Bullet wall sconces
  2. CGU pendant lights
  3. Shallow bowl pendant lights
  4. Rustic lights
  5. Nautical styled lights work well in barns

A great place to buy barn lights is Barn Light Electric, or Amazon has a range of inexpensive light fixtures.

One Thing to Remember

The key to great lighting design is to layer the light, meaning, using different light fixtures to create different lighting effects. If you were to only use overhead florescent lights in the barn, you would create a monotone and dull look. Whereas if you were to use florescent light strips above the work areas, a few wall lanterns attached to the poles guiding people down the barn, 2-3 pendant lights to break up the space, and 2-3 uplights on walls/poles to add some accent lighting, you would create a more comfortable and well lit space, than the monotone barn with just the florescent lights.

image credits: Lauren, Sebastian


Related Posts:

Pathway Lighting Ideas

Home Outdoor Lighting Ideas



L&L’s Photo Guide To Outdoor Patio Lighting Ideas

Patio lighting creates a relaxing setting and can add value to your home.  Depending on the type of patio you have (some have solid roofing structures, pergolas, or just an open space), there are a number of outdoor patio lighting ideas that can be used to create a well designed space to be enjoyed in at night. We’ve included a lot of photos to help you get an idea of how the different lighting ideas fit into an outdoor patio space.

Patio Ceiling Lighting Ideas

If you have a patio with a solid structure covering it, then there is a range of ceiling lighting ideas you can use. Here you can have recessed or outdoor pendant lights fitted, including mini chandeliers.

patio lighting

A patio using outdoor pendant lights with wicker basket shades

recessed patio lights

A patio lit with recessed lights

patio chandelier

A chandelier hangs over a patio dining table

Outdoor fan light

There is also the option of having an all in one fan and light

There are other lighting ideas if you have a pergola structure over your patio, or you can create your own ceiling with string lights – both of which we later go over below.

Post Lights

Post lights that are usually used to line paths can be fitted around the perimeter of your patio like in the photo below. You can find post lights that are solar powered or electric low voltage patio lighting fixtures.

post lights

Post lights outlining the perimeter of a patio

Another option is to use tall street lights, like the solar powered one below:

street lights

Solar powered street lights can also be used to light a patio

Wall Lights

There are a number of ways to use wall lights to light up a patio:

wall lanterns

Wall lanterns hung around a patio

swimming pool and wall lights

Wall and swimming pool lights lighting up a patio

wall lights

Another example of wall lights lighting a patio

pillar lights

Patio pillar lights

Pergola Lighting

A patio pergola helps provide shade in the daytime, and is an elegant structure to have lights fitted onto to light up at night.

Some pergola lighting ideas include:

  • Attaching lanterns to the posts
  • Installing recessed lights into the posts
  • Having recessed floor lights pointing up onto the posts
  • Hanging lights from the overhead beams
  • Having string lights wrapped around the posts and the overhead beams
pergola lighting

Lights attached to a pergola lighting up a patio

pergola lights

Another example of pergola lighting

pergola lighting

String lights wrapped around the beams of a pergola

Patio Umbrella Lighting

A patio umbrella makes for a quick and simple lighting structure. There are a number of ways to fit umbrella lights:

  • One option is to hang string lights on the edges of the umbrella and wrap them around the pole
  • Another option is a solar light that uses a solar panel at the top of the umbrella while the lights are attached the pole [search ‘solar umbrella light’ at Amazon].
umbrella lights

Umbrella lighting lighting up a patio

umbrella lights

Another example of umbrella lighting

solar umbrella lights

Solar powered umbrella lights

Ideas Using String Lighting

String lights can be used to create an enchanting setting, are inexpensive and are versatile light fixtures. They also come in a range of different style (i.e. globe lights, mini lanterns) and can be electric or solar powered. As they are easy to install and are lightweight, there are a number of patio string lighting ideas and options. They can be:

    • Wrapped around railings
    • Wrapped around trees
    • Hung from the ceiling
string lights

Patio string lights

tree lights

String lights can also be used to wrap around trees and railings

patio lights

String lights strung from wall to wall to light a patio

string lights

String lights come in a range of styles

Or how about hanging a number of string lights side by side to create a curtain of lighting:

curtain of lighting

String lights creating a curtain of lighting

You can even create a ceiling of lights by hanging a number of string lights side by side overhead. You can attach them from the wall of the house to a tree, a fence or you can erect an arch or just a pole to attach them to, like in the 2 photos below:

string light ceiling

Create a ceiling of lights by hanging string lights side by side overhead

string lights pole

String lights overhead attached to a pole

If you use the small string lights, they will create a starry night sky effect:

starry night

String lights used to create a starry night sky

Fire Power Patio Lighting Ideas

Fire based options provide soft glowing tropical light, some can help keep you warm, and even act as a natural insect repellent.

One fire based lighting idea is to place tiki torches around the patio area. If you fuel the torches with citronella oil, it will act as a natural insect repellent. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of having to light each tiki torch then there is the option to have permanent gas powered torches that you can turn on from a central valve.

tiki torch

Tiki torches can be used to light up a patio

There are elegant fire pits that can light and heat a patio. These can come as propane gas fueled, wood or coal burning. Modern versions include fire glass pits and sculptural pits like the ModFire.

patio fire place

An outdoor fire place on a patio


ModFire: A modern outdoor fire pit

fire glass

A fire glass pit out on a patio

Table Lighting

One way to easily add outdoor patio lighting is to use table lights. Candles are a popular choice (while battery operated LED candles are a good alternative). Oil lamps are another option, as well as tabletop tiki torches – these can be fueled by citronella oil that acts as a natural insect repellent (DIY oil lamps).

table lights

Table top fire bowls are another option that are fueled by a small propane tank or non toxic fuel gels:

fire bowl

A tabletop fire bowl

Recessed Floor Lights

Recessed lights that are fitted into the floor are another outside patio lighting option. These can be placed to line paths, or can be installed up close to a wall for more decorative lighting. They can be solar patio lighting fixtures or electric powered.


floor lights

Recessed floor lights

Indirect Patio Lighting

Lighting other areas in and around the garden will provide indirect lighting for the patio deck. If you have a swimming pool, the soft glowing lights will spill over into the patio. Or wrapping string lights around nearby trees will provide indirect patio lighting.

pool lighting

The glow of the pool, softly lights up the patio

Other Patio Lighting Pictures

patio lighting

patio lighting

gazebo lighting

String lights lighting up a gazebo on a patio

image credits

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How To Install Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting In No Time

Outdoor lighting gives you the opportunity to totally transform the look of your house after daylight as well as increase its safety. Much more aesthetically pleasing than those harsh and obtrusive floodlights, this guide will show you how to install low voltage outdoor lighting quickly and easily.

low voltage lighting

The Transformer: Step 1

low voltage transformer First, select your transformer. Low voltage lighting is easier and safer to work with than interior lighting because the transformer lowers the standard 120-volt wattage to a harmless 12 volts. Choose a transformer that allows you to connect several cables. Mount it either on a stake or on the outside of your home, making sure that it is no less than one foot above the ground and no more than one foot away from your ground-fault circuit-interrupter outlet. Some contain photocells that require exposure to direct sunlight. Make sure it is turned off while you install it. You may also want to add a waterproof covering to the outlet for additional weather-proofing.

Lighting Ideas: How To Install Low Voltage Lighting Step 2

low voltage light fixtures Next, plan the design of your lighting. Do you want to optimally light landscaping and foliage? Do you just want to light a walkway for safety purposes? Do you have ponds or a pool that could benefit from some nighttime lighting? Create a comprehensive lighting plan that includes all lights for paths and their surrounding greenery, offset lighting for footpaths, tree-mounted spotlights for mimicking moonlight, and/or waterproof fixtures for aquatic purposes that you may need. Look into low voltage outdoor lighting kits for hassle-free pre-selected packages and supplies.

For some ideas on what low voltage outdoor lights to use have a look at our related posts:

Wiring Up Your Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting Parts

The fixtures you buy will have instructions included that will tell you the proper gauge of cable to use. Layout your light fixtures beginning with the farthest away from the transformer and work your way towards it. Once you have placed all your fixtures, leaving about eight to ten inches between each source, and laid out the wiring you can connect the wires to the transformer. Remove about three quarters of an inch of insulation from the cables and insert the exposed wires underneath the terminal screws located at the bottom of your transformer.

Burying The Wires and Connecting To The Light Fixtures

Now you can bury the cables in a shallow trench (it only needs to be about three to six inches deep). Be sure to leave some slack and a small amount of cable sticking up out of the dirt at each juncture so that you can easily link the fixtures. Attach all lights and cables according to manufacturer specifications. Turn on the transformer to ensure everything is in working order. It is best to check the functioning at night to determine if everything is to your liking. Then, push all those visible cable connectors about two inches into the soil.

So there you have it, a basic guide on installing low voltage landscape lighting.

image credits: Landscape Design Advisor,  Tyler