Tips on how to build the best lines of light or linear light fixtures with LED strips

Lines of light are a new trend in lighting design and are usually made with an LED strip inside an aluminum profile that has a translucent white cover. The attraction of using such a linear light fixture is that it can be personalized. You can choose as you desire the pattern, place of installation, length (up to many meters), geometric shape or a combination of these elements.  

Line of Light with LED strip inside a profileBecause of their way of construction lines of light are a type of direct lighting. Compared with coves that are indirect lighting, lines of light are more energy efficient but can have greatly increased glare. For this reason lines of light should be designed with care and almost always be dimmable. 

Let's see how we can achieve the best results with lines of light.

1. Use of energy-efficient light sources

Choose LED modules or strips with high energy efficiency, at least 125 lm/w, so that the linear luminaires have the highest luminous flux with the lowest energy consumption.

If the light lines are partially obscured and light enters by reflection, avoid surfaces that are more absorbent than reflective, such as dark paint or wood while white or light-coloured wood surfaces are recommended.

White or light surfaces are best for lighting

2. Select an LED light source with the correct light output and number of LEDs.

Lighting via light lines can have many purposes, to guide people, highlight architectural elements or send a particular design message while providing ambient, general or task lighting.

For visible, direct light lines, it is important to backlight the translucent cover evenly to avoid creating hotspots thus LED strips with at least 120 LEDs per meter should be used.

We strongly recommend that the purpose of lighting in a space determines the type of light source to be used. The following value for luminous flux per metre of LED strip can serve as a useful guide:

A) Ambient light or highlight of objects or furniture elements: up to 600 lumens per meter (200lm per foot)

Line of light for ambient

B) General lighting for residential: up to 1200 lumens per meter or 400 lm/foot

General lighting with lines of light

C) General lighting for commercial and business applications or workplace lighting: up to 2900 lumens per metre (700 lm/foot).

General lighting for commercial and business applications

Suggestion for length of line of light for a living room of 20 sqm with 2.5m in height with the purpose of general lighting:

  • Lines of light with 600 lm / meter: at least 10 meters total length
  • Lines of light with 1000 lm/m: at least 6 meters total length
  • Lines of light with 2400 lm/m: at least 2 meters in total length

3. LED strips must be easy to install and use very few other parts

The LED strips must be easily installed over long distances and use as less auxiliary items as possible, for example wires, connectors, screws or transformers.  A large capacity transformer is recommended instead of many smaller ones.

4. Place lines of light so glare is reduced

By using many lines of light inside a space glare could become a serious issue that affects well-being or productivity. We recommend placing the lines of light at the extremities of a space, so the light will uniformly wash down on a wall. 

 Lines of light for reduced glare

5. Use LED modules or strips with the best light quality, spectrum and color rendering index.

For general lighting with lines of light you should choose LED strips or modules that offer a close imitation of daylight in spectrum or color temperature.

Currently the closest match to the sunlight is offered by LEDs with full spectrum technology, such as Nichia Optisolis and Seoul Semiconductor SunLike, both with almost day-like spectrum and maximum scores for all the CRI test colors. Their spectrum and how it compares to sunlight and other light sources can be seen below. 


Spectrum of Nichia Optisolis LED

Choose LED strips with minimum CRI80 for all work and living places, such as office, living room, dining room bedroom and so on with CRI95+ as the recommended value.

6. Install LED modules or strips with the longest lifetime, the lowest color shift and best lumen maintenance.

Long lasting LED light sources with minimal color shift in time are recommended, especially for installations with considerable lengths. If the brightness of the light source fades too soon or the color temperature changes the total replacement of the installation could be the only solution for uniform lighting.

For example, if "LEDs 1" are used in the installation and the light changes as in the image on the right, replacing only some sections with "LEDs 2" will exacerbate the lack of uniformity, as in the image below.

At Lumistrips you will find many flexible LED strips to build the best lines of light possible.

1. LED strips for lines of light with up to 600 lm/m

2. LED strips for lines of light with up to 1200 lm/m

3. LED strips for line of light up to 2900 lm/m

With our Nichia LumiFlex LED strip you can have lines of light with the highest energy efficacy and lifetime up to 200.000 hours. Minimum CRI for the LumiFlex is 80 with 90+ versions available also.

We also offer full spectrum LED strips with CRI97+ with SunLike Tri-R technology from Toshiba and Seoul Semiconductor, for the most natural lighting possible

For linear fixtures as lines of light you can choose from recessed or surface place aluminum profiles: