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Check out our useful hints and tips articles to help you get the best out of your home interiors projects.

LED strip lights can save you money

White LEDs. Photograph by Tristan Benninghofen

LED (Light Emitting Diodes) lighting is truly the lighting option of the future.

It is made up of multiple small lights each emitting a very low wattage. It is not only very economical but also extremely versatile. With traditional lighting, a large amount of heat is released and therefore it is not a very energy-efficient option. LED lighting is cool, and so it uses nearly all its energy to produce light. It utilises far fewer watts to produce the same brightness as traditional incandescent lighting. It also does not heat up a room, which in turn makes air conditioning unnecessary. They are cool to the touch and therefore safe and will not cause fires.

Apart from LED lighting being five times more energy efficient than traditional lighting, it lasts up to twenty times longer as well.

Fluorescent lights are more efficient than incandescent lights, but their flickering and harsh light are always a disadvantage, especially in domestic use. They are also noisy when switched on and while they are lit, which is not a problem with LED lighting. Compact fluorescent lighting also contains mercury, a pollutant not present in LED lights. LED strip lights are available in bright white, a more natural yellowish, a combination of the two and also a very wide variety of colours. When LED lighting is dimmed, it retains its original brightness and colour and does not turn yellow.

LED strip lights are particularly versatile. They are available in strips, tape and ribbons in any length and can easily be extended using connectors. They have self-adhesive strips attached. Some are rigid; others are flexible, and can be shaped around bends and into figures for decoration and advertising. This means that you do not need to have signage made but can design it yourself, thus saving money. Ribbon and rope lighting can change colour, making the effect even more striking. By adding a controller you can change the order in which colours appear or the sequence of flash patterns, and even make use of a remote device to do so. LED strip lights could even be set to flash to the rhythm of music, such as Christmas carols or club music.

Placing LED strip lights in a glass cupboard, under a glass shelf, in a ceiling recess or around any object creates a wonderful atmosphere. You could opt for low-voltage lighting, in which case you would need a suitable transformer. Because strip lighting is splash proof, it is safe and suitable for use in bars and kitchens - unlike other lighting options. It is also protected against dust, insects and any foreign substance. There is no glass that can break, making it much safer for use, especially at home. It is resistant to heat and cold and is shock resistant. All this means it has a much longer life and needs to be replaced far less often than conventional lighting.

LED lights reach their full brightness practically immediately, so are very suitable for use as brake lights in vehicles. Strip lights for car headlights are also very much in vogue at the moment and are a comparatively cheap way to customise the appearance of your car.

Whatever you decide to do with your LED strip lighting, it will save you money - and help you reduce the energy that you consume.

Photo credit: Tristan Benninghofen

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