Rope lights are good sources of light for tight spots in ceilings because their plastic manufacture allows them to be bent. They are also are ideal for short-term specialty display lighting and decorative holiday lighting. The endless variety of style and bulb options makes them a favorite for event planners for special occasions throughout the year. Perhaps their most widespread application in residential settings is for decorative outdoor lighting.

Rope lights bring aesthetic and supplemental light to any outdoor area such as a gazebo, a back porch, or a patio where home entertainment events are hosted. They also provide a measure of safety lighting when they installed along handrails and steps, and some people even use them to decorate gutters and trellises for an extra touch of sophistication.

A number of advantages accounts for the popularity of these widespread and highly versatile lighting elements.

Rope lights tend to be very cost effective and extremely easy for the end user to install. A broad spectrum of kits is available that offers the novice considerable choices in colors, styles, and measurements. These lights normally include the option to dim the lights, so 120V rope lights can still be rendered cost effective simply by reducing the level of light. Furthermore, almost every lighting manufacturer makes low voltage lighting and high voltage lighting kits to deliver super savings on energy to the home user on a budget.

Rope lights can be equipped with any number of bulb types ranging from traditional incandescent to revolutionary LED lamps. Both offer their own unique benefits. Incandescents produce a very bright light and can clearly be seen when used in conjunction with normal indoor lighting. Event planners hosting company parties normally choose incandescent bulbs because they remain clearly visible when other room lights are on. On the other hand, rope lights used outdoors normally remain on longer and require greater energy efficiency. LED bulbs are generally preferred in this scenario because they only use 20% of the power as incandescents, and they are extremely cost effective when installed on a low voltage lighting system.


Because they are so inexpensive and easy to install, rope lights are often used by builders as adjunct decorations or for cove lighting in spec homes. However, the flexibility they are renowned for has it limitations. If the rope is bent incorrectly, it can fail to work altogether. In tight coves or area where the wall is striated, these lights will accentuate wall variances and reflect an uneven distribution of light. If “hot” burning bulbs like xenon and incandescent are used, the plastic housing will begin to turn brown from exposure to ultraviolet light over a period of time.

When used in this manner, rope lights are short lived and will eventually require replacement. This additional cost cancels out the initial front-end savings they normally deliver. Rope lights are also wired in series, so if a single light fails, the entire string fails. At this point a splice can be placed in the line to restore functionality, but the uniformity of the light is compromised and quality begins to diminish.

For indoor cove lighting, the most popular product to use as an alternative light source are our Phantom LED lighting strips. They are specifically designed for lighting indoor coves.