Help finding a replacement for very warm cove lighting at home
February 27, 2017 7:15 PM   Subscribe

Our house has cove lighting in most areas. The previous owner ran really warm incandescent rope lights through the coves, but they're starting to burn out in spots. I've been searching everywhere but I can't find a good replacement that matches what we have now. Help!

This is what we have now. It's a very warm light - much warmer than it seems. In the lower half of that picture, you can see the rope light, and how it's burned out in several places. They need to be replaced. I've been trying to find something to match the warmth, but have been striking out so far. Some of the coves are up to 30 feet/10 meters long, and a few of the possible options I've seen online have length limitations, so we may up having to do something weird to get it to work.

So far I've tried two LED rope lights, one in 3000K and one in 2700K, and both were way too warm. The coves ended up looking flat, and the depth was lost. In both cases, the LEDs did not provide a solid light against the wall, but we got flecks of brightness, which didn't look good. The lights up there now have to be way warmer - I'd guess somewhere between 1900K and 2400K.

Diode LED is pretty much the only company I've found that makes something that might work. The Fluid View comes in 2000K or 2400K, so either of those might be okay. That stuff is pretty expensive though, and it requires a hardwire into the wall, so I'd have to get an electrician here (the current setup is plain 120V plugs) before I could even see what it looks like. (There's another company called American Lighting that has a 2100K rope light listed on their site and several others, but when I tried to order some, I was told that it's been discontinued by the manufacturer, so that's a nonstarter. The rope lights also tend to be fairly dim, and I wish that it was a little brighter.)

So here I am, querying the hive mind for advice. Is there some other solution that I haven't come up with? I feel like I've scoured the internet for anything but have come up with nothing that feels right. Any ideas?
posted by gchucky to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you tried an RGB LED tape?

Most come with a color wheel to help you adjust to the color you seek.
The fancier versions come with an app or USB tool so you can dial in exactly what you want.
posted by madajb at 7:21 PM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm seeing incandescent rope lighting being sold, although you will have to get it installed. (Personally, I've never found LED lighting that reads as truly 'warm.' I've tried the bulbs with the various color options, and even the yellow and orange range of those still do not look warm to my eyes. If you aren't opposed to incandescent, they are still around.)
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 7:32 PM on February 27, 2017

You could use a professional lighting gel filter like Lee or Rosco and dial in the exact colour temperature you desire from most any source light. Example: a 1/2 CTO gel like this one will convert 2700K to about 2000K.

You can buy a roll and then trim and mount it above the light source. Be sure the gel doesn't touch the light. Available at Movie, Stage and Television lighting suppliers.

In addition if you see "flecks" or hot spots of light you can add a home made diffusion filter fashioned from frosted plexiglass which would be a handy place to affix the gel.
posted by Zedcaster at 8:09 PM on February 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

Maybe this won't work for where you are, but if there is a lighting showroom (or more than one, even) store in your vicinity, I'd bring a hank of that rope light to them and tell them it's what you want and what can they suggest. It might cut a chunk out of the "order thing online, hope, be disappointed, rinse, repeat" process.
posted by rtha at 8:22 PM on February 27, 2017

Gel filters - or any filters - do not convert light; they just block some frequencies. If you block some blue light then the light that passes through will be the remaining "warmer" frequencies, but it's a waste of energy and heats up your house.

The LED lights you tried before may have been too dim - we seem to be more comfortable with dim light being warm and bright light being cool (i.e., orangeish sunrise/sunset light is dim, blueish midday light is bright) so if your lights were too dim they may have seemed unnatural. The color of the very same lights might have looked better if they had been brighter.

If you want to use LEDs then you really do need to use ones that are rated to the frequency you want. You can buy ones that go in translucent covers that diffuse the light so you don't get bright spots. I'm in Australia so I can't provide shopping recommendations, but try searching for "linear LED lighting".
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:14 AM on February 28, 2017

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