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Under Cabinet Lighting

How to Create Safer Solutions

 

When you want to enjoy all the benefits a room offers, you must have appropriate lighting. That means multiple layers must be present that address each form and function of the space.

 

In many homes and businesses, task and accent lighting are often overlooked in favor of general illumination. Most rooms benefit from considering both options, especially when the layers have coordinated placement options.

 

If you are in a room containing cabinets, several shadowy areas can develop because of how the storage is fixed to the wall or ceiling. With under-cabinet light installations, that issue is quickly resolved.

 

Under-cabinet lighting illuminates surfaces while delivering the right amount of light to manage your tasks quickly and easily. With today's best LED options, you can select from different Color Rendering Index (CRI) and color temperature options to promote each room's specific aura and environment.

 

This guide takes you through the basics of this installation option so that you can have each day b a little bit brighter.

 

About Under-Cabinet Lighting

 

Under-cabinet lighting is a self-explanatory upgrade. You're placing lights under cabinets to use for specific purposes.

 

Some people use under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen to create task-oriented spaces with improved illumination levels. Others focus on their bathrooms or workshops, and you can even use this option for art or architectural features.

 

What makes this option different is the design of the light fixture. The goal is to conceal everything with the cabinet trim so that the visual effect seen is just the light. Installation options vary based on the room's layout, but most rooms won't need electrical outlets or cords to be placed in obscure locations.

 

Most lighting types that work under a cabinet are designed to operate as a system. That means they contain multiple individual components, including drivers, outlets, lights, and more. Manufacturers create configurable products that enable you to place them where they'll provide the most potential benefits.

 

The Three Primary Types of Under-Cabinet Lighting to Use

 

Three primary types are available for consideration if you are interested in having lights installed underneath your cabinets at home or in a commercial building. Each one has specific advantages to consider, and some homeowners may find that a combination of any or all of them could be helpful.

 

1. Tape Lights

This option, sometimes referred to as strip lighting, is a simple solution that adds improved illumination in complicated areas. You can have it installed as an architectural accent, underneath cabinets, or even under the counter.

 

It's a suitable investment for those who need low voltage options and long reels. Some products are made so that the installer can cut the product to a specific length or lay it over an uneven surface.

 

The installation ease is the primary benefit to consider with tape lights. Its disadvantage is that you don't always get as much illumination as the other available styles in the marketplace. Anyone with granite countertops will need to consider glare spots as part of the installation process.

 

2. Puck Lights

This popular option creates a short, round design that gets placed underneath the cabinet. Most products that use this option use small screws to hold the product in place. Although the largest ones are typically about 3 inches in diameter, they can deliver significant illumination levels.

 

When using modern LED puck lights, a good rule to follow is to place one for every foot of countertop that requires coverage.

 

This under-cabinet option can be powered in several different ways. The standard installation option connects directly to an outlet, especially if you're using xenon or halogen lights. If you select LED lighting for this upgrade, a low-voltage DC source is possible.

 

It is feasible to hide the power supply and transformer in the cabinet to create a clean look.

 

3. Light Bars

With this lighting option for underneath cabinets, consumers receive a long, thin fixture that affixes to the bottom of the storage area. This style is worth considering when even light distribution is essential for the interior décor or overall aesthetic. It avoids the bright spots of puck lights while delivering more lumens than the tape variety.

 

It's not unusual to see light bars using tube-based lights. LED options are popular because you can avoid the potential headache of an incorporated ballast. You can also link LED light bars, one after another, to create a row that covers ample space.

 

That makes the installation process much faster since there won't be separate wiring needs to manage.

 

How to Choose Under-Cabinet Lighting

 

If you're wondering where under-cabinet lighting would work in your home or business setting, here are the key considerations to review when making this decision.

 

Available Space and Placements for Under-Cabinet Lighting

Before deciding what under-cabinet lights to buy, it's essential to understand how much room is available for the installation. The goal for most spaces is to keep the fixture behind the cabinet face to create a seamless look.,

 

When it's tucked upright against the bottom of the installation point, the under-cabinet fixture delivers a desirable level of illumination while keeping the design out of the way of activities in the area. The rule of measuring twice should be followed to ensure the eventual product works in the intended space.

 

The different light types have unique considerations to manage. A puck light is thicker, while a light bar might have length considerations to address.

 

Power Availability for Under-Cabinet Lighting

The connection options for a light installation under cabinets range from battery-operated solutions to direct-wire possibilities. When you have an elaborate configuration to manage, it might be necessary to have someone come to finish the work on your behalf.

 

A polished look comes from direct-wire cabinet lights. Since there aren't wires or receptacles to manage, it creates a clean result. Existing cabinet systems convert to LED versions quickly.

 

If you need a power source for the installed lights, you might need to have a receptacle nearby or be ready to change the batteries frequently.

 

Fixture Type for Under-Cabinet Lighting

The fixture type chosen to be underneath the cabinets depends on where usage is planned. Here are some tips to review to maximize the benefits in this category.

 

  • Kitchen counters tend to have open spaces that require more light than other surfaces. There tends to be extra length here than in different rooms, so light bars are a popular choice when continuous illumination is desirable.
  • When high-impact lighting isn't necessary, puck lights deliver small surface illumination while delivering a pleasing spotlight effect.
  • On shelves or display cases, tape lights make adding extra illumination to confined areas more accessible. More customization options are available here, although there might not be enough lumens to create task lighting benefits in some spaces.

 

Working spaces of any type, primarily located underneath a cabinet, often require extra lighting. You'll receive a more consistent result when you have a permanent fixture installed.

 

What Are the Benefits of Under-Cabinet Lighting?

 

If you're working on a new construction project or in the middle of an extensive renovation, under-cabinet lighting is an affordable way to create several potential benefits.

 

These are the top advantages to review, especially when compared to the electric lamps typically found in the ceilings and walls of rooms where cabinets provide practical benefits.

 

Lighting BenefitWhy Under-Cabinet Lighting Is Beneficial
Modern Style Installing a light under your cabinets is a simple way to create a contemporary style. Although most people place their lights in the ceiling, this option creates a unique and artistic look to enjoy. It's also a practical way to enhance your task lighting needs.
Shadow EliminationUsing lights in this manner ensures that unwanted shadows are removed from the environment. Conventional lighting installations are more prone to creating darker areas than this system, especially when you have deeper drawers and cabinets.
Energy EfficientSince this system typically uses a small number of LED bulbs to create adequate light, less electricity is needed to produce the necessary lumens to be productive in the kitchen, bathroom, shop, or another location. In return, the modern look creates an effective display with more effectiveness than conventional methodologies.
Bulb VariationConsumers aren't locked into a specific bulb type when choosing lighting options installed underneath cabinets. Conventional systems don't provide this flexibility, especially since different bases and shapes are possible. If you don't want LEDs, you can still use CFLs, incandescent bulbs, and other choices.
Interior ValueUnder-cabinet systems enhance the interior value of each room. Once installed, they create a more prominent look for each area. Customers will see the best attributes of each space stand out in positive ways.
Installation EaseIf someone has a little knowledge about light bulbs and wires, they can handle most under-cabinet installation projects. No one is required to rely on a technical installation process to create this result. Some products are designed to install directly to your existing cabinetry, making it a hassle-free experience.
Multiple ChoicesToday's lighting options in this category are suitable for virtually any homeowner. It's a minimal upgrade for those who install new cabinets, while those in a renovation project using existing resources can find plug-and-play options. The goal is to create a user-friendly design that works in most situations.

 

How to Install Under-Cabinet Lighting

 

Each under-cabinet lighting style has different installation requirements to manage. The power options you'll need available often depend on the fixture type desired.

 

A licensed electrician is an investment worth considering if a technical installation is necessary. That way, you have the correct power supply at an appropriate voltage to use for your installed lights.

 

When using tape lights, please cut them at the manufacturer's designated area only. It is possible to destroy this product if the wires get snipped in a non-designation location. Some products cannot be cut, which you'll need to verify with the item's instructions before shaping them to the cabinet's installation point.

 

LED under-cabinet lights are often the most straightforward solutions to install. You can choose different color temperatures and CRI ratings to achieve a beautiful result. Use this guide as a reference when shopping for your lighting options so that you can get the lighting right in each room.

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