Lighting has come a long way from the first light bulb and there are many options out there, one of which is rope lighting and it can be a unique accent lighting solution in your home.
After decorating hundreds of rooms, Shari and I have learned the importance of accent lighting. While there are many available types of accent lights, few are as adaptable as rope lighting.
Rope light is the generic term for a type of accent light manufactured in long tubes. A rope light consists of numerous small lights housed in a resin tube. Rope lights can be used in lengths up to 150 feet and are very economical to use. Although the bulbs are not meant for replacement, most rope lights are rated for about 25,000 hours of usage, which translates to more than a decade of normal use. Ten feet of rope light uses approximately the same energy as a 60 watt light bulb.
Rope lights come in a variety of colored tubes. Most often the lights are constantly lit, however some versions blink at different rates or patterns. Some lights even appear to chase each other.
The uses of rope light are limited only by your imagination. They are the perfect lighting for patios, and can even mount to patio umbrellas.
They are beautiful around decks and deck railings, and can be used as safety lighting along dark garden pathways and stairways. Some people even wrap their trees in the stuff!
Probably the most common use, though, is in the kitchen. They work well on top of cabinets, and when used under tall wall cabinets, produce a soft glow throughout the entire room.
Installing rope lighting behind cove molding below a ceiling is also a popular use of these accent lights. This type of installation is especially effective when used as a night light in a child’s room.
Rope lights are very easy to install. They can be purchased in a kit, complete with a 30 to 50 foot tube of lights, a power cord connecter, installation clips, and splice fittings. If you need a longer length of roping, the pieces are also available separately.
It’s best to do a bit of planning before beginning this project. Decide where you want to install the lights and measure to determine how much roping you’ll need. Most rope lighting is packaged in 30 foot lengths, although connectors are available allowing you to join up to five 30 foot sections.
Lay out the rope lighting so that it is close to an electrical outlet. A power cord connector is used at one end of the tube to make a power connection between the lights and a household outlet.
1. Cut your rope light to your desired length for any application. Cut only at the marked locations, using a pair of scissors or garden clippers. Be sure your cut is clean and vertical. Bend the rope light to the left approximately two inches from the end and trim off any excess wire that might protrude. Bend the rope light to the right approximately two inches from the end and again trim off any excess wire that might protrude.
Important: Cutting at the marked location is critical. Not doing so will cause damage to your lights. Caution: Never install accessories with your rope lights plugged in.
2. Splice connectors are used to splice sections of rope together end to end. If you need to use connectors, first slide the collars over the ends of the ropes you are connecting. Line up the wire holes and insert the pointed end of the pin pieces into the ends of the rope.
3. Place the split end of the connector fittings over the pins. Screw the collars onto the split end of the fittings. Make sure to secure the end cap on the opposite end of the rope.
In the most common type of installation, the ropes are held in place with small plastic clips which are screwed in place. The rope then snaps into the clips. Space the clips every three or four inches to prevent the rope lights from sagging.
Gently press the rope lighting into the mounting clips. Plug them in and stand back to admire the results. If you really enjoy the look of your new accent lighting, you might consider using a timer to turn your rope lighting on and off automatically.
Rope lighting is one of the most versatile types of accent lighting available. It is easy to install, cost effective, and can be used almost anywhere. Once you try rope lighting in your home, I’m sure you’ll agree that rope lighting is a perfect source of accent light.