Every interior designer knows that the use of lighting can make or break the atmosphere in a home. The right lighting over a dinner table can make food look extra delicious and fresh, and proper lighting in a bedroom can create a warm and relaxing atmosphere.
A commonly used way to create a spacious and warm feeling is the use of indirect lighting. The inspiration for the design of this do-it-yourself project came from a visit to a multimillion modern villa in the south of Holland. But to create this same luxurious look you only need to spend about $40,- on materials and spend an afternoon with some basic tools. The end result is shown in the video clip below. We’ll guide you through the steps to create your own luxurious and unique wall lighting.
There are basically three main materials we’ll be using for this project. The first and most obvious is a form of light. To get an evenly spread light from behind the cover it is best to use a tube of lights so there won’t be any extra bright spots or weak spots showing. Outdoor Christmas lighting, as used to decorate the exterior of houses, is perfect for the job. The tubes are relatively thin, so you won’t have to lose much space from the wall, it is properly isolated and the LEDs don’t get very hot. These tubes are usually sold all year round at bigger hardware stores and can sometimes be cut from a reel to fit your own measurements.
As a cover for the lights we used laminate flooring planks. These planks are available in all colors and prints so there’s always one that fits your taste. We used a high contrast color to the wall to make the light stand out more and create an extra wide effect on the relatively narrow bedroom wall.
Lastly you need a wooden stud to create the space between the wall and the planks for the light tube to fit in. Any cheap wood will do here since you won’t see the beams behind the plank. Make sure though that the depth of the beam is about twice a thick as the light tube to leave enough space for error and airflow.
The tools and small materials are: a screwdriver, a saw, a level, extra strong mounting glue, screws, some hook screws or special nails to guide tubes and possibly some nails or tape to help the glue on the first planks dry properly.
First you want to draw the outlines of the project on your wall. If you decide to use three planks as the height like we did, multiply the height of one plank (excluding the ridge used to connect the planks) by three and you’ll know how high your project will be. Once you have drawn the project on the wall with a light pencil and all is level you want to draw a line where the light tube will be hanging. This should be about an inch or more (depending on the width of the tube) inside the outer line to prevent you from seeing the cable once the planks are on the wall. The location and height from the floor of the planks is very important for this matter. If you put the planks too low you’ll be able to look behind the plank while standing and if you put it too high you’ll look behind it while sitting or laying in bed. The goal is to not show the light cable and only see the indirect light coming off it so make sure the center of the planks is at average eye height.
Guide the light cable along the inner line you drew by holding it with hooked screws or cable guiders. The power cable of the light tube needs to connect to a power source so the location of that end of the wire can be important. Therefore you might want to start guiding the tube from that point so you always know the power cable can make it to your power source. (We connected the power cable to the main light switch of the bedroom, but you can also connect it to an outlet and maybe put a switch in between).
Saw the wooden stud in random parts and spread them evenly over the wall where the planks will have to be glued on. (We left a part untouched to keep the option of mounting in an LCD screen in the future). How you secure the studs on your wall depends on the material your wall is made of. Usually screwing them on will do. Make sure they are secured tightly though.
Follow the instructions with the laminate flooring planks and saw them where necessary. Probably the best way to do this is by building the whole ‘floor’ flat on the ground. Once you know the lengths are right and the connections are all on the proper side you can start gluing the planks to the studs. Start off with the bottom planks and make sure they are perfectly level. The bottom planks might be put to some force once you start pushing the upper planks on them to connect, so make sure the glue is dried before you put force on those bottom planks. To hold the planks in position while the glue hasn’t dried yet you can use tape to secure it or hammer some (temporary) nails underneath the planks to hold them in position. Once the bottom planks are secured you can just ‘click’ in the other planks and glue their backs to the studs. Connect the power and the project is done!
If there is any light showing through the left or right side of the planks you can use painter’s putty to close the seal perfectly so it will only show light on the top and bottom of the planks.