I would like to use LED lighting in my apartment and be able to change colors and brightness. how do I go about that?
July 5, 2012 7:46 AM   Subscribe

I would like to use LED lighting in my apartment and be able to change colors and brightness. how do I go about that?

I just moved into my new apartment where I have a very long and dark hallway. currently there are three light fixtures installed. but instead of merely hanging a bunch new lampshades I thought it would be fun to have a long line of LEDs or OLEDs that I could tell to be any brightness or color I would want. you probably already realized I don't know much about this.

I started googline OLED and LED lighting and was overwhelmed by tons of not very approachable sites. (this question sounds right, too but I didn't understand it.) could you please give me a better idea of what's possible within a reasonable budget? I'd be willing to invest three digits, not four and I will hire people to do practically everything. I cannot solder, weld or do anything else much beyond drive a nail into a wall. crooked.

thank you!
posted by krautland to Technology (10 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
You could just use the existing fixtures with light bulbs with color- and brightness-changing LEDs that are controlled by remote. I bought this one as a gift last year and got to play with it a bit after the giftee opened it. It's pretty cool. The one concern I'd have would be the overall brightness, but in terms of a cheap, easy way to install customizable LED lighting in your existing fixtures, I give it high marks.

And it's very cheap -- under $10/bulb on Amazon, and it looks like there may be cheaper buying options now. My understanding is that one remote controls multiple bulbs, but I haven't tried that out.
posted by pie ninja at 7:56 AM on July 5, 2012

Ikea (if you have one near by) sells a few light fixture setups which are strips of colored LED's with a color changing dial.
posted by Captain_Science at 8:17 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Brightness is always going to be an issue, unless you're happy with the dimly-lit-club look.

If you can find a friend willing to help with the soldering, Big Clive supplies some excellent kits that will get this sort of thing done on a very small budget.
posted by pipeski at 8:17 AM on July 5, 2012

Multi-color LED lightbulb with a remote control from ThinkGeek.
posted by get off of my cloud at 8:44 AM on July 5, 2012

I have this at home, works great for coloring a whole part of the room without stringing wired lights.

posted by wongcorgi at 9:49 AM on July 5, 2012

I purchased a 3m LED strip similar to this (cheaper on EBay but less support, obviously). It's on a strip with self-adhesive on the back and I intend to use it for under-cabinet lighting so it'll illuminate without being seen.

There's RGB addressable stuff available too. You'd need to gin up a controller of some sort or find an experimenter willing to do it for you. But if you can live with the look and sticking it onto the ceiling you can achieve whatever color you want.
posted by phearlez at 10:10 AM on July 5, 2012

These come in a kit with 4 strips that can be independently wired or chained together (with the 4 short wire segments on the right side of the photo) off of a single port on the junction box. The colors change by a toggle on a control module (which is separate from the box the lights are plugged into). The strips are tiny & lightweight and could be affixed easily to a wall or baseboard. Brackets (for screw-mounting) & adhesives are included.
posted by ijoyner at 10:33 AM on July 5, 2012

There's a kit of long strips of color-tunable light plus a controller box, like this on Amazon that is quite cheap and would be fun to try out. I have the white version of this (cheap off-brand from China) as under-cabinet lighting in my kitchen, and it's great; 3-color tunable with controller is a bit more complicated, so may be more prone to problems.

This is the raw materials of lighting, though - if you bought this for your hallway, you'd probably also want some kind of lampshade. One option would be installing wooden crown molding or a picture rail, and you'd just hide the strip on top of it to make it "cove lighting". Another option would be to cover the strip with a frosted or white plastic as a diffuser.

This is more than you'd want to do yourself, it sounds like, but any competant and reasonably creative handyman would have no trouble.
posted by aimedwander at 10:33 AM on July 5, 2012

I installed the Ikea strips that ijoyner linked to in my sailboat. I like them very much.
posted by humboldt32 at 11:10 AM on July 5, 2012

I completed a project using LEDs to light an outdoor deck using about 90 feet of RGB LED strips. After a lot of research I ended up getting the supplies online at someplace called usledsupply. You can call the guy and he answers any questions you have. He has power supplies, rgb remotes, and lots of instructions. I did have to do a minimal amount of soldering, but it was all pretty easy.
posted by OrangeGloves at 11:14 PM on July 5, 2012

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