Ways to Decorate Your Shelves With LED Lights

From home office to workshop and bookcase to pantry, shelving units enable you to show off your collections, store root vegetables and organize your books. Just as the bright interior of a refrigerator simplifies the task of finding the right ingredients for a recipe, shelf lighting helps you locate the right figurine, parsnip or hardback—and with the same LED technology. To light up storage areas, choose the best LED implementation for each shelving installation.

Energy Efficiency

LED lamps already top other technologies in lighting energy efficiency and continue to increase their lead. As socket-compatible replacements for familiar incandescent bulbs that thread into lamps and fixtures, they require less electricity to produce the same amount of light. A 60-watt incandescent bulb, 15-watt compact fluorescent and 10.8-watt LED all provide the same amount of illumination with dramatically different energy requirements. Unlike CFLs and other fluorescents, LEDs require no warmup time to reach full operating output and work well on circuits with dimmers.


LED lighting tapes create a high-tech, high-efficiency variation on the classic light string that festoons your holiday tree. Made up of a sequence of LED lamps attached to a flexible wired base, these tapes can cling to the edges of architectural details, hide in recessed areas and light the way along hallways. Attached along either the horizontal planes of shelving and its backing elements or the verticals that define its uprights, LED tape can add a diffuse glow that points up prized collections without the potentially damaging heat produced by other lighting choices.

Lamps and Tubes

On larger shelves that provide enough room for a freestanding decorative light source, you can use LED bulb replacements to control heat, reduce electrical use and set the color temperature of the light you add. Because LED replacement lamps consist of miniature electronic devices complete with control circuits, manufacturers can adjust the appearance of the light they produce by changing its color from warm to cool or anywhere in between. LED technology also produces pin-connector replacements for fluorescent tubes that offer four times the fluorescents' life span. On workroom shelves, these lamps can offer enduring brightness that matches your requirements while you sort out parts for a collector car or prepare sculpture for firing in a pottery studio.

Recessed Lighting

New and remodeled interiors often feature recessed lighting fixtures that add illumination from within a wall or ceiling. Designed into a built-in set of shelving, these lighting choices can add a dramatic glow that highlights your collectibles. Because LED lighting's electronics enable manufacturers to define the direction in which it emits light, LEDs produce controlled illumination with defined characteristics. Other lamps can't match this built-in directionality without reflecting or diffusing their output in ways that reduce the light they emit.

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