Whether you are framing a favorite photograph or an original canvas painting, the use of LED light strips can bring the art within the frame to life.  This guide will share step by step instructions to construct a simple but modern art frame that is complemented by the integration of LED light strips.
Before getting started, here is a list of materials needed for this project:

1 x 3 x 8 pine furring strip - $2*
2 x 2 x 8 furring strip - $2*
Brad nails and construction adhesive - $6
LED lighting kit(s) - $46
1/8th in. glass pane - $4 (optional)
*quantity of furring strips will vary with size of frame.  This material list is for the construction of one 18” x 24” frame

 Total Cost:   $60

Federal energy initiatives push to inform the public on different lighting options for their homes and businesses.  The recent implementation of the Lighting Facts product label is possibly the epitome of this energy efficient lighting movement, as lawmakers continue to try to outlaw incandescent light bulbs.  One of the most important metrics on the Lighting Facts label is brightness.  Appropriately listed first on the lighting facts label, its purpose is to guide the consumers to making the correct purchase for their home based on sound principles.

For years, homeowners bought light bulbs based on their watt rating; with the understanding that the more watts that the light bulb was rated, the brighter it would be.  The truth is the relationship between watts and brightness of light output is rather indirect.  A watt is a unit of power, or energy consumed by the light source. A watt rating, as indicated on the traditional incandescent light bulb and on the lighting facts label, represents the amount of watts consumed by the light bulb in one hour of use.  If consumers want to buy a light bulb that will emit a certain level of  brightness, then they should buy a light bulb based on its rating of lumens. 

Building a shadow box wall can be done many different ways.  This guide will share step by step instructions to building the wall from scratch, and embedding the shadow boxes in the structure of the wall for a clean, unobtrusive finish.  If you are modifying an existing wall, supplemental instructions will be included along the way.

Before getting started, here is a list of materials needed for this project:


Drywall screws, joint tape, and joint compound -

 10 ft. piece Wood Trim - $8-17

Total Cost:   $130   (Modifying an existing wall can be done for as little as $69)

Making a unique, modern LED headboard is a fun  project that can be built and mounted in a weekend for only a few bucks.  This article will cover materials and  products needed to complete the project; as well as a few helpful tips to  guide you along the way.  Here is a list of materials you will need:
Total cost: $76
Other miscellaneous materials include screws and construction adhesive.
First, start with a sheet of melamine.  This will be the primary structure of your headboard.  Melamine is a  building material that has similar properties to a laminate countertop, but is  sold in thinner sheets that are dimensionally similar to plywood and drywall.  Melamine is also commonly used to build cabinets and shelving.   If you prefer to keep this process as simple as possible, purchase a pre-cut shelf that comes in a variety of sizes.  It comes in white but can be painted a desired color to match your bedroom.   Don’t forget to cover the unfinished edges of your headboard with BAND-IT iron on edging for a professional look.

In a recent post, we discussed how occupancy sensor switches can be combined with low voltage lighting in a harmonious union of energy efficiency.  Even without the occupancy sensor, low voltage lighting systems are very energy efficient.  It is important to recognize the benefits of using low voltage lighting where practical, and how building codes are starting to adopt energy efficiency initiatives that require low voltage lighting.

Often, low voltage circuits come with dimming switches to decrease energy consumption when full illumination is not required.  They also often include built-in timers with auto on and off functions; this is especially useful for outdoor landscaping lighting and low voltage security lighting.  These applications often demand electricity for longer periods of time compared to indoor artificial light.  For this reason, energy efficiency is important.  The built-in automatic timer will also add to the convenience of the lighting system.

 It is often difficult to effectively light a kitchen.  Traditional methods of lighting use recessed lights, or hanging fixtures.  These
methods require more power consumption and light output to illuminate countertop workspace.  Many times you can't help but block the light as you are working and upper wall cabinets tend to shade a generous portion of your countertop.  There is a very simple solution to this inconvenience that seems to annoy us as we work in the kitchen.  The solution is this:  Place the light source in front of you and under the cabinets!  Under cabinet lighting can come in a variety sources.  There are three types of low voltage lighting that range in complexity, price, and function.  Each type is a sleek, energy efficient method of lighting the countertop space in your kitchen using LED's.  

Battery Operated LED Spotlights

 The most budget friendly method of lighting under cabinet work space is battery operated LED spot lights.  These individual lights come in packs of pod lights or in track light assemblies and can me mounted directly underneath your cabinet and spaced out as desired.  A benefit to this option is that they can be installed cleanly and simply without wiring.  

Battery operated under cabinet lighting can either be switched on or off at the source or many times are capable of turning on or off automatically.  The Slyvania Golden Dragon kit can be switch to an automatic mode controlled by
motion sensor.  Using the energy efficient occupancy sensor switch function you will never have to remember to turn the lights off!  Other products such as the Lumen LED High Output Spotlights come with a remote control that eliminates the need to reach under the cabinet to find the switch.  

If you are concerned about changing batteries all of the time,  the energy efficiency of LED high output lights is unparalleled compared to traditional incandescent, fluorescent, or halogen light bulbs.  This technological advantage combined with features such as occupancy sensor switches is sure to keep your battery changes to a minimum, and more money in your

LED Strip Lights

Thin LED strip lights are possibly the most sleek and efficient under cabinet lighting source available.  More than convenience this option provides a modern and high-end look to any kitchen.  The low voltage transformer plugs into a conventional 12V outlet and provides balanced power to the lighted strips.  LED's burn at a very low temperature and consume very little energy making them a safe lighting application to mount right up against your wood cabinets. 

A main advantage of LED strip lights is that they offer a seamless stream of light underneath a large span of cabinets unlike spotlight or tracklights.  When retrofitting an existing kitchen, a sleek installation may involve a little bit of demolition, but once installed the LED's will provide bright, efficient lighting for years that require no batteries or maintenance.

 LED thin strip lights also come with energy efficient capabilities of dimming and automatic switch settings similar to battery operated options.

LED Rope/Ribbon Lighting

LED rope or ribbon lighting provides a similar look and functionality of LED strip lighting.  One advantage is that the rope can bend and form longer continuous runs of light.  A disadvantage at times is that structural composition underneath cabinets may interrupt a clean installation with rope or ribbon.  When calculated per length of cabinet, rope lighting can be more
expensive but necessary and essential to some custom kitchen designs.  

Overall, these three types of under cabinet lighting deliver the same exeptional LED light source to an otherwise desperate place in your kitchen.  In addition to energy efficiency and convenience, they offer an essential design aspect to any modern kitchen. 


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    Energy Efficient Lighting
    Led Light Bulbs
    Led Rope Lights
    Led Spotlights
    Led Strip Lighting
    Led Under Cabinet Lighting
    Occupancy Sensor Switch
    Wall Switch Occupancy Sensor