For real drama, the way to go is to light from below. Todd, a house tour host in San Francisco, took the utilitarian, straight-from-the-source-route and used 18-wheeler truck running lights. If you are not prepared to run them through a 12V converter, go with the more traditional rope lights. Lighting Plus is a brick and mortar option that has a ton of light strips and can talk you through the installation process.
This is Robert's dramatic bedroom lighting.
Whichever approach you choose, be it along a shelf, or in an alcove, lay the lights behind and as out of sight as possible. The effect is striking, impressive, and easy to achieve.