Indirect / Uplighting Cornice
Most types of cornice are installed with the purpose of softening the join between wall and ceiling. However, in recent years, uplighting cornice has become more and more popular, with the advent of low cost, energy efficient LED lighting and TV designer makeover shows.
Uplighter cornice (sometimes known as an uplighting trough) is a decorative moulding fitted on the point where wall and ceiling meets. Lights are placed into the trough to provide directional upwards lighting, which has a unique effect and can really help create an ambient mood in a room.
Creating mood lighting with uplighter cornice
With an ‘open’ top, the uplighter cornice is fixed to the wall approximately 15-20cms from the ceiling and fitted inside with LED bars or lights along the length of cornice. The effect of this is to give a soft ‘mood’ lighting effect that washes the ceiling with an atmospheric light and takes away the potential harshness of a single pendant light. It is a very clever way of providing additional warmth into a room without being overly dramatic. Alternatively, the cornice can sometimes be inverted and used as a downlighter, maybe to highlight a feature wall or picture.
The choice of light source can be either a T5 tube or, alternatively, cheap to run LEDs which are available in a low lumen or high lumen output - choose depending on what alternative light sources are also used in the room. LEDs can be bought either in a roll format or in the more expensive, but better quality rigid light bars.
Styles of cornice for uplighting
There are many sizes and profiles of uplighting cornice to suit differing room sizes and ceiling heights, from traditional Victorian cornice to match an older period property, to more modern and contemporary designs that will suit buildings undergoing a modern restoration. Again, cornice profile sizes can range from just a few centimetres in height and projection, to those which are nearly 30cm in height and which look terrific in a hotel lobby or restaurant.
How to install uplighters securely
It should be noted that only cornice specifically designed for use as an uplighter should be used since these have been purpose designed with a double fixing point to the wall and mounting lugs to hold the lighting. Normal coving or cornice patterns are not suitable for use as up-lighters. (Standard cornice is normally attached on the top edge to the ceiling and on the back edge to the wall. Trying to fix it by just the single wall mounting point will not give sufficient hold to prevent the cornice from pulling away.)
Similarly an uplighting cornice or trough should be made in a material that is as light as possible, such as hardened high density polyurethane. Hanging a heavy run of plaster projecting from a wall is quite risky, as the natural inclination will be for gravity to pull it out and down. A large amount of mechanical fixing (e.g. screws) would be needed to fully secure the run. This is can be a time consuming process, whereas lighter materials will only require adhesive and minimal fixings.
Of course there is no reason why these cornice profiles cannot also be used in the traditional sense (without lighting) and fitted up to the ceiling.
More advice on uplighting and cornice
If you need any further advice we are more than happy to discuss your requirements with you - please call us on 020 8660 2854.