Under Cabinet Lights

Sally Painter
Under cabinet lights make counter top space usable.

Under cabinet lights are a great way to enhance work areas while creating ambiance with a wide range of styles and designs.

Under Cabinet Lights

Lights under your cabinets can transform a dark cold space into one of warmth and light.

Ideal Rooms For Lights:

  • Kitchen
  • Bathrooms
  • Den
  • Office
  • Wet Bars
  • Pantry
  • Laundry Room
  • Garage

Retro Fitting Your Cabinets

This is one project that is fairly simple and straight-forward. Adding lights under your cabinets doesn't take a lot of time. Depending on how many lights you're adding, it can take from an hour to a couple of hours.Most cabinets are built to have an underneath recessed depth between 7/8" - 1". This space is deep enough to accommodate most under cabinet recessed lights and other lighting choices.

Added Benefits

Aside from the obvious ambiance and additional lighting, there are several benefits to having lights installed underneath your overhead cabinets.

Ambiance And Show

Your new lights will create a subtle and rich warmth to your kitchen, bath or den. Any room with cabinets that overhang a countertop area will benefit from adding lights. If you have a tiled, stylized, or mural backsplash, the lighting underneath your cabinets will show it off.

Decrease Risk of Accidents

Adding new lights under your kitchen cabinets illuminates the counter space and what was once a workspace filled with shadows becomes a useable area. Ample lighting is an excellent safety measure for any kitchen workspace. Chances of accidents decrease when you aren't straining against dim light to see what you're doing. Having abundant light while you work is also less stressful and irritating.

Low Voltage Lights

You can choose between high or low voltage lights. Before making that decision consider the advantages to using low-voltage light fixtures under your cabinets.

  • Easy to install
  • Practically invisible
  • Only 12 volts of electricity is required to power most lights under a cabinet

Ease of Installation

If you're a do-it-yourselfer, then this is the kind of project you'll want to undertake. As long as you can handle the wiring aspects of installation (many new construction homes have pre-wired cabinets) all you'll need to do is read the instructions and install the lights.

Accessory Checklist:

  • Transformer
  • Dimmer
  • Connectors
  • Switches
  • Power Plug
  • Power Cord
  • Mounting Hardware
  • Replacement Bulbs

Lighting Choices

There are many styles and designs for you to choose from for your new light fixtures.

Type of Light Bulb

Many of the light bulbs being manufactured are eco-friendly or green light bulbs. These bulbs give little to no heat or have any of the harmful gas emissions once expended.

Light bulb choices:

  • Fluorescent: Fluorescent tube light bulbs are filled with mercury gas that is excited by an electrical discharge. The power flow is controlled by a ballast.
  • LED: Light-Emitting Diode. This is a semiconductor diode that emits a light when electrical current is moved forward in the device. Typically small and come in various colors.
  • Halogen: An incandescent light bulb with a tungsten filament sealed in a compact transparent envelope of inert gas and halogen (iodine or bromine).
  • Xenon: Xenon gas is contained within the glass envelope. These light bulbs are supposed to last up to four times longer than halogen light bulbs.
  • Incandescent: Standard bulbs. Filament resists electricity and heats up creating light. Not very bright, generates heat and has a shorter lifespan. Can be dimmed easily.

Lighting Styles

There are quite a few styles of lighting for under cabinet lighting. You need to decide is you want individual lights spaced along the expanse to be installed or if your prefer a tube light unit.

The available choices for under cabinet lighting include:

  • Slim
  • Standard T8
  • Super Slim
  • Minibar
  • Puck
  • Spot
  • Strip
  • Tube
  • 3-Line
  • Modular
  • Rope: There are two kinds of rope lights.
    • Tube rope with lights embedded within the tube
    • Light fixture like a puck unit that's joined by electrical wiring that ropes between each unit

Getting Started

Now that you know a little more about under cabinet lighting and the choices available, you can decide which room to tackle first.

Analyze the cabinet space where your new under cabinet lights will go and explore which style of lighting will best suit your cabinet style and work space.

Under Cabinet Lights