These genius LED lighting ideas look super luxe, but are surprisingly easy to recreate yourself

Bring a touch of sophistication and glamor to your home with these architect-designed LED lighting ideas

led lighting in a modern apartment living room
(Image credit: Ollie Hammick. Design: Brosh Architects)

LED lighting is really on the rise when it comes to designing a home with wow-factor. While LEDs refers to a type of light that can take any form, it's LED strips used as accent lighting that has particularly captured the imagination of architects and designers. 

Where a traditional bulb has its limitations, LED has been an exciting departure for lighting designers looking to shake up what form lighting fixtures take. Yet, while these 9 examples of how to use LED lighting are impressively architectural, it can actually be a great DIY project, a simple way to give your home a modern facelift using affordable mains or battery-powered LED strips.  

'LED lamps are significantly more energy-efficient than equivalent incandescent lamps and can be significantly more efficient than most fluorescent lamps.' says Anna Salomaa of Light Cognitive. So not only is it a change you can make relatively easily at home for a modern, slick and high end look, whether used as a living room, bathroom or kitchen lighting idea, it can actually save you money on your bills, too.

Read on for inspiration for how to up your lighting game using LED.

Oonagh Turner
Oonagh Turner

Oonagh is an experienced homes writer and editor. For this piece, she used her understanding of the industry and wealth of contacts from the interiors world to find out how designers used recessed LED lighting in their schemes.

LED lighting ideas to make your interiors glow

Concealed strip lighting is a great way to add atmosphere to your interiors, removing any need for a lighting fixture, hidden away lighting can give a beautiful halo look to a room, on the flooring, and can create a tranquil and relaxed atmosphere in the room.

'We like to use LED strips in coves in the soffits for an even ceiling glow,' says Emily Aiken of Whipple Russell Architects (opens in new tab). 'Paired with wood ceilings, this really warms up the room. 

'Another location for LED strips are what are called toe kicks. Toe kick lighting is used on the underside lip of base cabinets to illuminate the floor space of a kitchen or bathroom. Other areas where LED is used are islands, kitchen and closet cabinets, bars, and wine rooms. Illumination around the wine storage alcove is also another great place to use it.'

1. Try a mirror backlight light

A mirror with an illuminated circle of light

(Image credit: Bartłomiej Senkowski. Design: Blackhaus Architects)

For a bathroom idea consider using LED lighting to illuminate your mirror, creating a halo affect, as seen in this bathroom of an apartment in Poland by Blackhaus Architects (opens in new tab). Backlit mirrors are proving popular in the bathroom because of the soft glow cast on your face when you're going through your morning or evening routine. 

'This bathroom mirror idea was specially designed by me for this particular bathroom,' explains Karol Cieplinski of the firm. 'The space is divided into two parts - emphasizing the settings of large-format tiles, and illumination brings the whole together. The mirror is both practical and aesthetic,' she explains. 

Backlit mirrors are relatively common to find, but can also be created using an existing mirror and LED strips. You could even use a motion detector to have the mirror illuminate when you walk in the room. 

Get the look
Backlit dimmable bathroom mirror
This backlit mirror gives the same look, with a round, halo-like light that aids the bathroom pampering experience. It's also touch screen and anti-fog for a bit of bathroom technology. (opens in new tab)

Backlit dimmable bathroom mirror

This backlit mirror gives the same look, with a round, halo-like light that aids the bathroom pampering experience. It's also touch screen and anti-fog for a bit of bathroom technology.

2. Embed LEDs around the border of the room

Lighting added to the crown molding

(Image credit: Orac Decor)

Illuminate the flooring and the footprint of a room by lining the border of your room, placing LED lights where the floor meets the wall. Practically, it's a lot easier and more budget-friendly than you might initially think, you just need to buy solid aluminium profiles, and LED flexible strips that glow a warm or cool white. 

For a unique living room floor idea, aluminium can be cut to length, so you can easily screw or glue into place on the wall. Lighting strips often have adhesive on the back, so you can stick them straight into the aluminium, angled downwards if you want to illuminate a dark floor and cast more light. You will also need a diffuser strip to diffuse the light evenly, covering the brightness of the light, and you can buy caps to cover the corners where two strips meet or to cover the end. It gives the room a modern look, and can help to emphasize a beautiful lick of paint.

3. Create an illuminated headboard in the bedroom

A bedroom with light illuminating a headboard

(Image credit: u31)

Your bedroom is a calming space, and the clever use of light can reinforce this purpose to relax and soothe. This headboard idea by U31 (opens in new tab) uses this lighting technique,  illuminating the bed space in a soft yellow glow and makes a great reading light that isn't too harsh on tired eyes.

'LED cove lighting is one of our preferred details,' says Kelly Cray, creative principal at U31. 'The designs and applications available are endless with LED.'

'We like the indirect soft glow that LED releases,' says Kelly. In this case, we chose to highlight the artwork that is leaning up against the headboard to create a frame within a frame. It also provides a pleasant ambient light in the evening.'

Get the look
Wall mounted linear wall light
Create the same effect with a wall mounted lighting strip that you can fit snugly above your bed, giving a cozy glow to your bedroom. (opens in new tab)

Wall mounted linear wall light

Create the same effect with a wall mounted lighting strip that you can fit snugly above your bed, giving a cozy glow to your bedroom.

4. Create a glowing pantry

A glowing cabinet

(Image credit: Photo: Fiona Susanto. Design: Rose Sorkheh)

This newly renovated kitchen features a streamlined layout that continues into the large walk-in pantry across the way. LED lighting accents the bar cabinet, drawing attention to the other half of this kitchen design, contrasting against the dark timber veneer. 

This pantry shelving design from Sydney-based designer, Rose Sorkheh (opens in new tab) is edgy yet refined, and gives the bar area an evening feel, instead of relying on an overhead, ceiling light.

4. Install cornice lighting

LED lighting a cornice in a period property

(Image credit: Orac)

For a modern living room idea, the crown molding can be a great place to fit some mood LED lighting as it disguises from the central light fixture. This will give a sense of atmosphere, and act as accent lighting, washing your ceiling with light. Tuck your light strip neatly into the cornicing, reducing any need for a diffuser strip as the harsh light shines upwards.

This will also beautifully highlight the cornicing detail. Even when this is just a plain cornice, is a beautiful architectural detail that often gets overlooked. If you're working with a patterned cornice, think carefully how the light casts shadows - it might detract from any floral embellishment. This modern twist on an historic detail really shows off your home's heritage, looking perfect in a period property.

5. Illuminate your stairs with LED lighting

Livingetc-House-Tour-Modern-Home-East-London-Hallway-Spiral-Staircase

(Image credit: Future | James Merrell)

An elegant staircase lighting idea, illuminating the treads with LED lighting is a sleek look. Choose LED strips cascading downwards for an unbroken stream of light along the staircases, guiding your way when your home is dark, or go for a strip of lighting under the step, shining light on the step below. This strip has been zig-zagged along the stairs.

‘Warm LED lighting under each step looks more visually impactful and works well with a contemporary interior,’ says Elliot Barratt of Elliot James Interiors (opens in new tab). ‘It also works well for external staircases as it highlights stonework beautifully.’

Get the look
SuperStair Intelligent LED lighting
These motion sensor-activated LED stair lights switch on automatically to light up your stairs when you reach the top or bottom step, and the kit contains everything you need for a quick installation. (opens in new tab)

SuperStair Intelligent LED lighting

These motion sensor-activated LED stair lights switch on automatically to light up your stairs when you reach the top or bottom step, and the kit contains everything you need for a quick installation.

6. Try ceiling kitchen light