LED light strips

By this time you've probably seen those very artistically taken pictures of somebody's newly remodeled kitchen, or perfectly stocked display case with that ever-so-tasteful indirect lighting that's become so popular.  It looks great.  It let's you light the work surface, or the items of your action figure collection with a warm, uniform glow that seems to come from nowhere.  No more harsh point sources that always cast shadows and spoil poorly framed pictures.  

I've been playing with them, but my application isn't nearly as pretty.  I've found they're great for those dirty, dark, cramped and embarrassingly cluttered spaces you hope nobody ever sees.  You  know, like this one.

Some see my cask of fine wine....

Some see my cask of fine wine....

Our basement has low ceilings, exposed beams, and potentially skull cracking air ducts.  It's desperately needed tidying up for years, and moving the contents of my Dad's old shop into it has only made it worse.  The problem is that it's dark down there.  Fifteen minutes of working in the hunched, cluttered darkness and I'm disheartened and ready for a break.  

There are basically four of the old porcelain bare-bulb fixtures down there.  They don't light the corners and the bulbs hang down just far enough that I could clip them with my head if I'm not paying attention.  LED strips to the rescue.  

The results isn't pretty and I probably won't be inviting friends over for a glass of wine to look at my new installation (unless it's to "come down and partake of my cask of amontillado"), but it really gets the job done.  This is about as much of a kludge as you can imagine.  I wasn't sure if it would be a permanent solution, so rather than use the strips' adhesive backing, I taped them up with clear packing tape.  They're essentially zero-profile, and I can run them over the various obstacles, like heat ducts, pipes and electrical cables.  Each 16-foot strip consumes about 16 watts (by my estimation), and puts out about as much light as a 100 watt bulb.  Unlike the old bulbs, however, the light is distributed across most of the length and width of the basement, so no more dark corners.  

The basement is actually looking a lot better than when that picture was taken.  I can actually spend time down there without going to a "dark place."