Instructables
This guide goes over some info and techniques for using LED strips as accent lighting.  LED strips are relatively cheap, the RGB strips can make any color, and they're small and easy to hide.  They also run off 12v which makes them easy to install in cars or boats as well.

We will cover picking out lights, controlling, powering, and different techniques for hanging them. 
 
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Step 1: Ordering your LEDs

300vs150.png
If you search for RGB LED strips you'll see there are a TON of options.  Luckily there's a very specific thing you want; just search for 5050 RGB 5M 300.  Here's a breakdown of the individual parts:
5050 - This is the type of LED.  This is a standard part, it's big and bright but still runs cool.  It's common to see 3528's in LED strips, avoid these, they're a lot smaller and dimmer.  To go bigger than 5050 you're going to get a lot more expensive and a lot hotter.
RGB - Red Green Blue.  This means it's a tri color strip.   By mixing the different colors tri-color strips can do any color in the rainbow.
5M - 5 meters.  This is the longest length I've found.  You can use it pretty fast, go any shorter and you'll pay extra.
300 - The count of LEDs. The most common setups are a 5M strip with 150 LEDs or 5M with 300 LEDs.  I recommend the 300 count ones because the price difference isn't that much and they're a lot brighter.  

If you don't want to search around this set should get you started, it comes with a power supply and controller.
http://www.amazon.com/TaoTronics-TT-SL001-Waterproof-Changing-Controller/dp/B004T0BM0O/

So, to recap:
Search Amazon or eBay for 5050 RGB 5M 300 and pick one.  I've never ordered from the same place twice (I always forget) but I haven't had any issues with any of them.  All of them have been about the same.  The only thing I would recommend is if you're doing a large room, order all the LEDs at once because the whites can be slightly off.  In my living room one set of strips has a warm, pinkish white and the other set is a light cool blue and it drives me crazy because I'm picky about those things.  Order your LEDs all at once and they'll all match.

Other options:
For large areas like a porch it might make more financial sense to order a single color.  White is a good for general lighting.  Red and blue are very dull, don't count on them to provide more than an accent lighting.

Waterproof?
I like the waterproof LEDs simply because it makes the strands easier to work with.  They have a nice weight and flex more easily, plus the coating helps prevent shorts when mounting the strips with staples or other metal fasteners.  The weight can be a problem if you're hanging them off the bottom of something and you want to rely on the built in tape, but other than that I don't see any downside to the waterproof strips.  
izzyanut3 months ago

This is a brilliant guide! Cheers

nazguler9 months ago
if I buy one of these kits, can I cut the part I don't need (the one I saw was 16.6 FT long, I only need like half) can I use the rest? What would I need to use the rest?
Thank you for the information.. Nice Instructable.
izzyanut nazguler3 months ago

You can usually shorten the LED Strip to any length that you choose, you may have to solder the cables directly to the strip. Some strips will have compatible plug in blocks that allow you to cut them to a specific length and then plug the strip into a block.

I have electronics background and this was a great instructable. Covers every area for LED strip lighting and more. I also appreciated your opinions and personal favorites. I have a question about the 5050 LEDs. Do you know what the power for each individual LED is? I think I've heard like .24 W. Is this accurate?
Good write up and a few new ideas for the "list"... Thanks
leofiga1 year ago
good instructable.
Thanks for this guide! I want to have LEDS for a long time already, and this guide will help me to find the right ones.