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Backlit panels. Find an interesting panel and wash it with light from behind. Repeat.
Reap the rewards of Dumpster diving. These "holey" steel plates are offcasts from manufacturing. Mounted, framed and backlit, they make a dramatic and playful statement night or day.
Dumpster diving not your thing? That's cool; no judgment over here. You can purchase interesting panels to mount and backlight.
I love, love, love the laser-cut Parasoleil panels. To make this wall art, the panel was framed with ipe wood, LED lights were attached to the back side, and the finished piece was mounted directly on the stucco wall. Stunning by day, this unique wall art is drop-dead gorgeous when the sun goes down and a soft wash of light shines through its patterned openings.
Unique applications of everyday lighting techniques. Look for uncommon ways to use standard lighting techniques. For instance, say you need a little illumination along a path to find your way to your destination. You could dot the path with pathlights or add some eyebrow lights to a nearby wall. Or you could make a bigger design statement. These artfully placed strip lights provide movement and interest to the night scene — as well as light the route to the front door.
Take this same idea and give it a twist. Use flexible LED light tape or light rope to make sweeping lines of light inset in a wall, a patio or pool decking. Fashion a cover for the inset light tape out of glass tiles, a metal screen or custom-cut polycarbonate, or tuck the light source up under a built-in lip to finish the look.
Don't limit yourself just to strip lighting when tweaking standard lighting techniques — dream up alternate uses of downlights, uplights etc. For instance, why not cut a pattern out of a piece of sheet metal, place it over an uplight and project shadow patterns on a wall? Ditto for downlights, only the pattern will dance on the floor.
Caution: When modifying any light fixture, make sure the fixture doesn't overheat and cause a fire hazard.
Light fixtures as art. Need light? Want that with a side of style and a pop of color? These bad boys have both in spades.
Tip: Look for creative light fixtures, then feature them as you would art in the garden. Consider placing them in clusters, varying the distance between them and setting them at different heights.
Varied lengths of steel posts with random cutouts, a little flat black paint and some LED lights make a stunning art installation — night and day.
Design with shadows. Sure, this light fixture illuminates the night, but it's so much more. It adds artistic panache by day and shadow patterns after dark.
Try these tricked-out water jets in a pond or pool. Air bubbles are removed from the water before it's sent aloft. Light follows the water stream for a glam effect.
Solar-powered orbs add a playful note to the still night water. They can be left to float free or tethered in place.
Tip: Try varying sizes and colors for different effects. Play with placement: multiple orbs tethered in a sweeping line; an orb placed in the middle of a fountain nozzle, held in place like a beach ball by the force of the water; orbs of different sizes submerged below the surface; one or two orbs tethered on the water, plus a few more suspended at varying heights above the water from tree limbs; "clutches" of orbs dotting the landscape; orbs of different sizes tucked into the crooks of a tree ...
Experiment with color. It's not a one-size-fits-all color wheel anymore. RGB (red, green, blue) LED lights can be programmed to cycle through the spectrum or be set for a single color. Change the programmed color to fit your mood.
Feeling blue? Program pure blue and turn up the intensity. Want something more chill? Program golden light and dial it down soft and low.
Tip: RGB LEDs come in a lot of forms — light tape, rope light, orbs, light strings and more. A quick Internet search will reveal your options and get your creative juices flowing.
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