Installing under cabinet lighting in your kitchen has many benefits. Under cabinet lighting uses low wattage bulbs to make tasks easier and safer by delivering directed light to a specific area. Under cabinet lighting can provide two functions in your kitchen. It can provide countertop food prep task lighting and accent lighting to highlight countertops and backsplash. Although under furniture is also useful in workshops, garages and basements, here we will focus on the kitchen.
Benefits of under cabinet kitchen lighting
1) Energy Saving – You can save energy by eliminating the need to light up an entire room.
2) Variety of bulbs – Energy saving bulbs are most often used for under cabinet lighting fixtures. Common under-cabinet bulbs include fluorescent, halogen, LED, and xenon bulbs.
3) Eliminate Shadows – Under-cabinet lighting reduces shadows created by wall cabinets and ceiling lighting. Proper under-cabinet lighting spacing eliminates dark shadows under countertops. To eliminate shadows, install one light for every 20 to 30 inches of counter space.
4) Add unique style and distinction to your kitchen – Many kitchen countertops are made from granite or marble. A kitchen under cabinet light can make your stone countertops shine.
5) Simple Installation – Many DIYers can install under cabinet lighting in just a few hours.
Types of under cabinet lighting: strip lights, disco lights, linear lights
Light Strips – These are rectangular shaped fixtures and work well with fluorescent bulbs. They are ideal for providing diffuse light to the kitchen.
Puck Lights – These are round fixtures that get their name from their round size and appearance, similar to that of a hockey puck. These lights are best for highlighting countertops and backsplashes. Disco lights work with LED, halogen and xenon bulbs. The disco lights can be mounted in different positions to point downward or toward the splash guard. As an alternative, disco lights can generally be recessed into cabinets.
Linear lights – Linear lights are often used with fluorescent bulbs. They are the most popular types of fluorescent lighting under kitchen cabinets because they are thin, allowing them to be hidden behind the cabinet trim.
Types of bulbs used: fluorescent, halogen, incandescent, LED and xenon.
Fluorescent Bulbs – Commonly used for under cabinet lighting fixtures. They create a bright work area by providing clear light. The downside to fluorescent lights is that they cannot be dimmed and will sometimes flicker.
Halogen Bulbs – Homeowners looking for bright white light choose halogen bulbs. The light emitted by a halogen bulb is warm and bright and provides a good amount of light under the cabinet. These bulbs have an extremely long life, up to 2000 hours.
Incandescent bulbs – These bulbs are the least popular under the cabinet bulb type, as their light is not very bright. Incandescent bulbs are not energy efficient and emit heat. They last half as long as halogen bulbs.
LED bulbs – These bulbs are becoming a more popular choice with homeowners as they are more often available at lighting and home improvement stores. LED bulbs are available in different colors and provide homeowners with the ability to create unique decorative features. LED bulbs are the best for disco lighting.
Xenon Bulbs – These bulbs have the longest lifespan of all the under cabinet bulb options. They can last up to 10,000 hours. They are energy efficient since they do not generate heat.
Tips for Successful Under Cabinet Lighting
o A 12-inch light fixture or 3 disc light fixture must be installed for every 4 feet. of allowance.
o Install lights toward the front of the cabinet to better highlight the surface.