Linear lighting is a type of lighting system that uses long, straight fluorescent or LED tubes. This type of lighting has become increasingly popular in recent years because it offers increased brightness with reduced power consumption, improved aesthetics, and flexibility to change the light colour for different moods or occasions. Let’s take a closer look at linear lighting systems and how they can benefit homes and businesses.
The use of linear lighting technology dates back to the 1950s when fluorescent tubes were introduced as a cheaper alternative to traditional incandescent bulbs. Since then, advances in technology have allowed for further innovations in linear lighting that improved both its quality and performance. Today, there are many types of linear lighting technologies available such as LED lights, tunable white lights, RGBW LEDs, daylight dimming fixtures, and moving lenses.
Suspended linear lighting incorporates a light fixture that hangs from the ceiling, usually suspended on wires or chains. This type of fixture provides a clean, continuous, linear profile of light, creating a contemporary feel for a range of applications.
Suspended linear lighting can be mounted in a variety of styles, lengths and combinations to enhance architectural interest or complement the chosen space. Suspension lighting is particularly suited to spaces with generous ceiling height.
Similarly, they can be used to create stunning accent lighting. From illuminating a stairway or atrium to showcasing a reception desk, suspended linear lighting is used to make a statement in a variety of spaces.
Traditionally, suspended linear profiles are straight. However, they can also be shaped to create curved profiles. Although subtler, straight profiles can be equally eye-catching, particularly when installed in dramatic, geometric designs.
In open-plan spaces, curved profiles are particularly effective and can be used to create a sense of movement through space. Similarly, circular profiles are often used to divide space into different areas.
Imagine an LED linear ring suspended lower than the surrounding lighting. This application can create a sense of focus in particular areas and is extremely effective when installed in museums or galleries to highlight exhibits.
Recessed linear lighting is installed in a hollow opening in a surface, such as a ceiling or a wall. This type of linear LED can be used to create clean, invisible lines or shapes of light that blend seamlessly into the ceiling and wall surfaces of a space to become a part of its fabric.
Recessed lighting can have a powerful impact and often transforms a space, adding the wow factor to contemporary architectural design. Increasingly popular in the workplace, recessed linear lighting requires thoughtful design.
Surface LED linear lights are mounted on walls and ceilings. Traditionally given the reputation of being somewhat utilitarian in design, today’s surface lighting provides much more than a practical solution.
While surface lighting is the ideal choice for low and vaulted ceilings and can be used effectively to light circulation areas, staircases and spaces with restricted access, thanks to developments and enhancements in both design and technology, unique and striking designs can still be created using surface linear LED lighting.
Surface-mounted linear lighting can be used effectively to enhance architectural features and can be integrated with joinery details to add interest to a range of different spaces.
While wall-mounted lighting may be the only option for illuminating certain spaces in some listed buildings, for example, it is becoming an increasingly popular first choice in a range of contemporary commercial interiors.
Surface-mounted lights are frequently used in office environments. For example, surface mounted linear lights can be installed between wooden slats to create a calmer environment for break-out and informal meeting areas.
Linear lighting designs are not restricted to single luminaries. Many suspended, recessed and surface light products can be linked together to create modular lighting designs. From subtle to standout designs, whether bold or slim lines, modular linear lighting can be used to create schemes to suit any space.
Depending on the application, an effective alternative to linear lighting may be strip lighting.
LED strips are flexible and can be purchased by the length. This allows the user to buy the length of strip required for the application. While linear lighting can, of course, be linked, individual linear luminaires are usually sold in predetermined lengths.
While both are easy to install, the flexibility of LED strips means they are particularly effective for use in hard to reach and peculiarly-shaped areas. Want to know more? Read our Guide to LED Strip Lights to learn more about choosing and installing strip lighting.
LED light strips however usually have exposed circuits and wiring. This can render them less suitable for visible applications, unlike linear lights which tend to be housed in sleek fixtures.
Both linear and strip lights are suitable for use in a range of directional applications, offering style and functionality for any lighting design.
There are several standards and regulations around lighting in general for use in public areas and workspaces. Glare from lighting is one of the main regulations, as excessive glare can cause eyestrain, headaches and migraines and make an uncomfortable space to work in.
UGR (Unified Glare Rating) is used as a measure of glare and calculated by the glare from all visible lamps divided by the background lamination of the room. When it comes to an office environment, a UGR of less than 19 is considered acceptable for best concentration.
LED linear lighting distributes light evenly to help avoid glare, which is another advantage over traditional linear fluorescent lights.