How To Install LED Strip Lights On The Ceiling - LED & Lighting Info (2023)

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.

How To Install LED Strip Lights 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.

  1. Measure your room ceiling’s perimeter, including all the corners and turns along the way.
  2. Ensure you also measure the distance from your power outlet if the power supply has a short wire. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. So peel the adhesive and stick where you want them to be placed.

By the way, here is a simple perimeter calculator that tells you total length and how many strips you need. Just fill the lentgh of your walls.

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 LED Strip Lights On The Ceiling - LED & Lighting Info (1)

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?

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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.

(Video) How To Install LED Strip Lights On The Ceiling - Smart Bright LEDs

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.

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Where Should LED Strips Be Placed On Ceiling?

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

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 Hide LED Light Strip On Ceiling?

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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.

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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?

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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.

(Video) Install crown molding and LED lighting strips for indirect lighting the easy way! Step by Step!

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?

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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!

(Video) 7 Common LED Strip FAILS and How To Avoid Them

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?


How do you install LED strip lights on a ceiling? ›

Putting Your Lights in Place

All LED strip lights come in a long reel with an adhesive backing that allows you to stick them in place. All you have to do is remove the adhesive covering and then attach the lights on the area(s) of ceiling you want to cover.

Where do LED strips go 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.

How do LED strips connect to electricity? ›

When it comes to led strips, most of them will come with a female 2.1mm connection point ensuring that the connection is seamless. All you'll need to do is plug in the led strips into your plug-in power supply and you'll have a working led light.

Are LED strips easy to install? ›

LED strips typically have an adhesive backing for easy installation and can easily be cut to various lengths from their five metre reels. When choosing the light strips that you wish to install, it's important to consider the width of the tape compared to the width of the area you want to install it on.

How do you wire LED lights in series? ›

LEDs wired in series are connected end to end (the negative electrode of the first LED connects to the positive electrode of the second LED and the negative electrode of the second LED connects to the positive electrode of the third LED and so on and so on...).

How are LED strip lights wired? ›

For each segment the LEDs are wired in series, which means the operating voltages are added up, giving the higher voltage needed. All of the segments are wired in parallel, so they get all get the same amount of voltage all the way down the strip, but the current draw adds up depending on the length of the strip.

Does it matter which way the LED is inserted? ›

LED polarity

LEDs are diodes which are elecronic devices that only allow current to go through them in one direction. This means that LEDs (and other diodes) have positive (+) and negative (-) sides to them. For an LED to work it needs to be connected to a voltage source with the correct side.

What power supply do I need for LED strip lights? ›

The LED strip has a power consumption of 14W / m. 14 x 8.5 = 119 Watts in total. So you need a LED power supply (sometimes referred to as a LED driver) that can deliver at least 119 Watts. However, it is recommended that you make allowances for unintentional overloads.

Do LED light strips need a power source? ›

LED strips, unfortunately, are not as simple as traditional incandescent light bulbs when it comes to installation and set up. Because they run on low voltage DC, they require a power supply device that converts 120V/240V AC (depending on your location) into the voltage signal that LED strips can use.

Do LED strips take a lot of electricity? ›

LEDs Use Less Energy Than Traditional Lighting Sources

LEDs use between 25- and 80-percent less energy than incandescent lights. According to the DOE, the annual energy cost of a 60 W incandescent light is $4.80, but the comparable cost of a 12 W LED, providing the same light as a 60 W incandescent light, is $1.00.

How long do LED strips last? ›

Longevity. LEDs have an unbelievably long expected life-span, compared to both incandescent and fluorescent lights. With an average life-expectancy of some 50,000 hours, LED strip lights will still be burning bright in 17 years' time, long after their traditional counterparts will have expired.

Do LED strips fall off? ›

If you place the LED strips sideways or on the ceiling to face downwards, they will end up falling off, and you should try other fixing options. Always ensure that the surface is clean and flat before using 3M self-adhesive backing to stick the LED tape in place.

What happens if LED strips too long? ›

If the LED light strip you bought is too long, you need to cut off the extra part. The first thing you should do is measure the right length. If you accidentally cut the strip too short, your effort will be wasted.

What are the 3 wires on LED lights? ›

The colors of the wires are red, black, and white. Red becomes the first positive with black the second positive. The white light becomes ground. The 3 wire light can best be installed as a blinker and brake.

Do LED strips need to be connected on both ends? ›

For a 6m long strip, you will need to power from both ends. It is recommended that you use one power supply (10A should do depending on your LED density) and allow the ground wire to run through the entire length.

Can you cut LED light strips and still work? ›

Providing that you cut along the marked cut lines only, LED strips — including certain Hue lightstrips — will work after cutting. Many people experience issues with their light strips if they cut outside of these lines. The cut lines are also the safest place to cut LED strips, as the circuits here are closed.

What are the 4 wires on LED lights? ›

RGB strip light has a 4-wire connection, where green, red and blue are for the green, red and blue LEDs, and the black/white wire is the common +12V connection.

Should I wire my LED lights in series or parallel? ›

Series, Parallel, or Series/Parallel? The requirements of a lighting application often dictate what type of circuit can be used, but if given the choice, the most efficient way to run high power LEDs is using a series circuit with a constant current LED driver.

Are LED strips wired in series or parallel? ›

LED strips are long and come in a series (in the non-engineering meaning of “one after the other”), but they are really made up of numerous parallel branches, each with three LEDs for LED strips rated at 12V, or six LEDs for LED strips rated at 24V).

Do LED lights require a special switch? ›

A standard dimmer switch cannot be used with an LED light as you will never be able to dim the LED light either completely or not very well. LED lights need their own special electronic dimmer switch to have a fully functioning and dimming light.

What happens if you wire LED strip backwards? ›

The reason this is important in an LED light is because a light emitting diode and any electrical diode is a semiconductor. Semiconductors only allow electrical currents to run one way. This means if you have the direction of the current wrong, electricity will not flow through and your LED will not light.

What color wires go together for a ceiling light? ›

Connect the wires as they were in the old fixture.

The ground wire is the bare copper wire and should be connected to the green grounding screw in the crossbar. Wire black to black (hot) and white to white (neutral), and make sure that all connections are snug.

Do LED lights need wiring? ›

LED lights don't need special wiring. They'll work with any standard light fixture, as long as it isn't enclosed, which could cause heat damage. Poor wiring can cause electrical interference, but this is easily solved with a suppressor.

What side of an LED is positive and negative? ›

The positive side of the LED is called the "anode" and is marked by having a longer "lead," or leg. The other, negative side of the LED is called the "cathode." Current flows from the anode to the cathode and never the opposite direction.

How do you tell the direction of an LED? ›

You can try to find the longer leg, which should indicate the positive, anode pin. Or, if someone's trimmed the legs, try finding the flat edge on the LED's outer casing. The pin nearest the flat edge will be the negative, cathode pin. There might be other indicators as well.

What part or side of the LED is the negative side? ›

If the LED has two leads with leads that are equal in length, you can look at the metal plate inside the LED. The smaller plate indicates the positive (anode) lead; the larger plate belongs to the negative (cathode) lead.

How do you hide wires on ceiling lights? ›

You can hide wires in an exposed ceiling by painting the wires or your ceiling beams or using plastic or fabric cord covers, wooden molds, or decorative boxes. However, make sure your wires are safely in place to avoid any accidents. You can do this by pinning them in place, except when you're using fabric covers.

What kind of tape do you use for LED lights? ›

The 3M VHB mounting tape is an excellent choice for mounting LED strip lights. It is waterproof (after curing for 72 hours and while applied in dry conditions.)

Why do my LED lights keep falling down? ›

Make sure to firstly clean the surface that the LED strips will be mounted onto from all dust, water, moisture, grease or otherwise. A cleaning agent such as Methylated Spirits or Rubbing Alcohol may be useful, but allow time to dry. You will need to use a dry and lint-free cloth to properly clean the surface.

What type of glue should be used for LED strip lights that keep falling? ›

Silicon glue , it including the all advantages of PU glue and epoxcy glue ,which with good heat resistance , good low temperature resistance , good yellow degeneration resistance and low toxicity . The glue will not change yellow for use a long time and also good smell .

How many LED strip lights can be connected? ›

Vetco recommends, as a general rule, not to connect more than three complete strips end-to-end without adding in extra, higher gauge power wire or additional power supply units down the line.

How do you calculate how many LED lights do I need? ›

To determine the needed lumens, you will need to multiply your room square footage by your room foot-candle requirement. For example, a 100 square foot living room, which needs 10-20 foot-candles, will need 1,000-2,000 lumens. A 100 square foot dining room, which needs 30-40 foot-candles, will need 3,000-4,000 lumens.

Do LED strip lights need a starter? ›

Conventional fluorescent tubes need a starter. This starter provides ignition voltage. Naturally, this isn't necessary for LEDs, so the ignition voltage is superfluous. If you want to replace a traditional fluorescent bulb with an LED, then you must install a dummy starter or bypass the standard starter manually.

Do LED strips attract bugs? ›

Because LED lights are cooler than other types of lightbulbs (meaning they don't get as warm), bugs aren't as attracted to them in general.

Do LED lights attract bugs? ›

LED lights do not attract bugs the way incandescent lights do. But they do help make bug lights more efficient. The LED options are also quieter than traditional bug zappers. If bug zappers aren't an option for you, color lighting is an alternative.

Do LED strip lights need to be plugged in? ›

The first thing we should note about these lights is that all electricity needs to have an outlet to work correctly. So yes, led strip lights do need to be plugged in. They also require some power source like batteries or solar panels, meaning there's no way around using electricity either way!

What adhesive is used for LED strip lights? ›

Silicone adhesive is aspectLED's recommended option for securing our IP68 submersible waterproof strip lights, or for sealing silicone end caps. Permatex Clear Silcone Adhesive Sealant adheres to a wide variety of surfaces and will provide a secure bond and is UV stable to avoid cracking.

Can you leave strip LED lights on all night? ›

To put it simply, well-manufactured LED lights are extremely long-lasting and can be left on 24 hours, 7 days a week. This is because, unlike conventional types of light, LEDs produce minimal amounts of heat, which means they are unlikely to overheat or set on fire.

Do LED strip lights leave marks? ›

The answer depends on the type of surface you adhere to. If your wall is tiled, wooden, or plastic, you should have no problems. The strips will be relatively easy to peel off and will cause no damage to the wall. If anything, there may be some leftover adhesive residue that needs to be wiped clean.

Do LED strips draw a lot of power? ›

Installed as your light source, LED strip lights guzzle less electricity to produce the same light output. The potential savings are very significant – LEDs draw up to 85% less electricity than conventional incandescent lighting, and around 18% less electricity than CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps).

What can I use to hold up LED lights? ›

Most LED strip lights will come with an adhesive already attached to the strip. You will just need to peel and stick. However, there are some surfaces that are more difficult to stick to and that will require more work. You can use extra adhesive tape, LED mounting clips, or a mounting track.

Why won't my LED strip lights stick? ›

The self-adhesive on the back of the led strip lights typically needs a smooth surface in order to stick securely. Rough surfaces or too many grooves will limit the contact between the surface and the 3M tape backing. Less contact means less of a bond, leading to the flex strips falling or drooping in places.


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