Under Cabinet Lighting for Indoor & Outdoor Kitchens
If you are in the middle of remodeling or updating your kitchen, you've probably considered installing under cabinet lighting. This type of lighting can be very beneficial for everyday use, as well as go a long way when it comes to increasing the overall value of your home. Before you can truly decide if under cabinet lighting is the best solution for your kitchen, it's wise to familiarize yourself with what it is, the options available, and the various benefits you may receive after installing them.
What Is Under Cabinet Lighting?
Under cabinet lighting is exactly what it sounds like - A type of light fixture that is installed directly underneath your cabinets. This means that if you have this type of lighting you won’t have to worry about blocking the lights when you’re using perimeter countertops. Under-cabinet lighting not only adds efficiency to your kitchen tasks, but also adds depth to your kitchen. Under-cabinet lighting is a useful addition to any kitchen, and luckily there are many options to choose from.
Types of Under Cabinet Lighting
As you consider installing under cabinet lights, you should look at the varieties that are out there. There is a wide variety of electrical choices, formats and types of light on the market, which makes customization easy and fun.
There are a couple of different options for you to choose from when deciding on your under-cabinet lighting. You can choose to install hard-wired, plug-in, or battery-operated under-cabinet lighting. Below is an outline of each of these electrical installation options:
Hard-Wired - You can turn the lights on by a pre-existing switch, but they are also the most expensive option. This can be a difficult DIY job since it involves configuring new wiring, assuming you don’t have this setup already in your kitchen.
Plug-in - You will have a switch on the light bar or pucks themselves, which ends up being a modest cost. As expected, be sure to have an A/C outlet near the installation area before choosing this option.
Battery-Operated - These will have to be turned on individually, and you will need to replace the batteries occasionally, but this is likely the easiest and most cost-effective way to light your kitchen’s countertops, with zero cords involved to boot!
Under Cabinet Lighting Formats:
The next thing that you need to decide before committing to this project is which format of lighting would benefit you the most. The two most common formats to choose from are bar or puck.
Light bars are rectangular and shed light over larger areas.
Pucks are small, round and concentrate light into a smaller area.
You also have to choose between what type of light you want to use. The choices include LED, incandescent light and halogen bulbs. All three types of bulbs have their own set of advantages. However, there's little dispute that LED offers the most benefits. Regardless, it's up to you to decide what will work best for your kitchen.
This well-known lighting type is the most dated and least efficient. Much like in a space heater, an electric current passes through thin filament wire, which heats the filament until it glows. Heat radiates outward from the space heater as it does in an incandescent bulb, and only a small portion of the energy created is converted into usable light; the considerable amount of heat burns the bulb’s tungsten filament until it breaks.
Halogen bulbs are similar to incandescent bulbs but with a couple minor differences. They contain a tungsten filament, but unlike in incandescent bulbs, a small amount of halogen gas mixes with tungsten vapor and deposits it back onto the filament instead of on the inside of the bulb envelope. This process extends the bulb’s lifespan and allows it to work at a much higher temperature than incandescent bulbs, which increases light output. A quartz envelope is used instead of glass because of its ability to handle higher temperatures.
Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs):
LEDs produce the longest-lasting, most energy-efficient lighting available today. A semiconductor rich in electrons and a semiconductor rich in holes are used to create an LED. Passing a current through the junction of these two materials combines the electrons with the holes and produces photons, which is the light that you see. LEDs have endless application possibilities, such as under-cabinet, landscape, vehicle, home, industrial, and commercial lighting.
Because there are a few different options, you get to choose the style of under counter light that is right for your room and budget. The style of under cabinet lighting you choose will have its own benefits, but there are some benefits that surpass the style of light.
The Benefits of Under Cabinet Lighting
If you are still on the fence about whether to invest the time and money into this type of home lighting, here are a few reasons why you should consider it.
Easy to Install:
Another undeniable benefit of under cabinet lights are the fact that they are quite easy to configure and install. Even if you’re not in the middle of a kitchen renovation, installing this type of lighting isn't an overly difficult task to complete. Unlike pendant or recessed lighting that may require professional installation, some under cabinet options only require you to screw or nail a strip of light underneath your cabinets and plug them in.
Lower Your Energy Bill:
Under cabinet lighting can actually save you money on your energy bill, and this is especially true if you opt for an LED light fixture. It has the potential to save money because you don’t have to illuminate the whole room just to get a little bit of light on the countertops below.
Because you are not standing between the light and the counter, there are very few shadows that you will have to deal with. Shadows may impede your ability to cook and prep meals, so having adequate lighting can be very helpful.
Adds Unique Style:
Under cabinet lighting is also able to add a unique style to your kitchen due to the layered aspect of the lights. Having a unique and modern style in your kitchen can add value to your home.
Easy on the Budget:
Under cabinet light fixtures can also be easy on your budget because you can install them yourself, and there are so many different varieties to choose from. Typically, the most affordable option are the battery-powered fixtures.
Enhance Interior Value:
Under cabinet lighting can enhance the way a room looks. This means, if they are installed correctly, this type of lighting can make a room shine. This is one of easiest DIY projects that real estate agents suggest as a way to instantly improve the value of your home. Who wouldn’t enjoy these unique kitchen features?
Consult With A Lighting Design Professional
If you are still not convinced that the benefits of under cabinet lighting are worthwhile and something that would improve your home decor, you can talk to a professional about how they can install them in your home. Whether you simply go to your local home improvement store, talk to a contractor, or call up your favorite online experts on lighting.
No matter how you go about deciding if this is upgrade is right for you, it's recommended that you look at all the variables. First, think about why are you considering under cabinet lighting for your kitchen? Do you want to add another lighting element to help you eliminate shadows and make your kitchen more efficient? If this is the case, under cabinet lighting may be best choice for you.
Are you considering installing extra lighting to make your kitchen safer?
If so, installing lights directly under your cabinets will indeed provide you with a clear view of the countertops below. This makes you less likely to accidentally nick your finger as you cut your veggies and prep for meals.
They can also light up the floor, which can help you stay on your feet at night. A professional can also help you pick out the best bulb for your needs. If you are concerned that a certain type of bulb or “color temperature” will hurt your sensitive eyes, a professional can make sure that safety is kept in mind and help you pick out a bulb that is best for you.
Are you considering installing under cabinet lights for the style of it?
This is a perfectly good reason to install this type of lighting, as it is extremely popular and will likely add some value to your home when it comes to selling. In fact, this style of illumination is known to add a unique lighting dimension and character to your kitchen. It can make the kitchen look larger because it adds light to areas that may not have received it previously.
No matter your reason for wanting to install under cabinet lighting, they may be just the solution you are looking for. Remember, this type of lighting comes with a fairly easy installation process that you can do on your own. For many homeowners, you will likely be able to install on your own, but if you have questions there is someone out there who can help you through the entire process.
Don’t wait around until your energy bill is too high or you have to go to the emergency room because of a kitchen-related accident. Start considering the benefits of under cabinet lighting today, and then start looking at all your options. You'll be surprised at how many options are available, you should have very little problem finding on that is right for your style, your budget and your unique needs.
Whether you’re building an outdoor kitchen for the first time, or updating yours for summer, under cabinet lights can be a valuable addition. In this article, we’ll explore what under cabinet lights can add to your indoor or outdoor kitchen, and how to find the right kind for you.
Which Under Cabinet Lights Will Add to Your Exterior Kitchen Space
Most outdoor kitchens don’t have a constant source of ambient light. Unless your space is complete with a ceiling and some sort of overhead fixture, you can’t just rely on the sunlight. If you like the feeling of cooking in the open air, you’ll need some sort of task lighting, especially when preparing food after dark.
Despite all the variable conditions in the outdoor kitchen, adding lights to specifically illuminate your countertops will ensure you’ll always have adequate task lighting. The lights will come in handy when you grill meat or veggies, allowing you to check that they’re fully cooked before serving. Under cabinet lights help you see when mixing and pouring drinks, and fixing snacks as well. Having extra task lights will also help you see to thoroughly clean your outdoor kitchen, so leftover crumbs won’t attract unwanted pests. Not to mention good task lighting adds a lovely ambiance to an outdoor space after dark.
The first thing to look for in your under cabinet lights is water resistance. Unlike task lighting in a regular kitchen, these need to hold up under the elements. They’ll probably be exposed to rain, so always look for fixtures that are rated for use in wet locations.
Secondly, you should always use LEDs. Unlike other light sources, LEDs don’t emit UV rays, which is what attracts insects to light. There’s hardly much that’s grosser than preparing guacamole while dodging a swarm of moths and gnats. Using LEDs will let you avoid the nuisance altogether.
Then, determine what style fixture you need, depending on the structure of your kitchen:
If you have traditional cabinets or shelves, you can use a more traditional style of under cabinet light. Mount rope lights or indoor/outdoor puck lights underneath the lowest shelf for the perfect task lighting.
If you have a raised bar or ledge above your counter (but no shelves), you’ll need something very low-profile so it doesn’t get in the way. Here you should use LED tape lights for a sleek look. They’ll stick to the lip of your overhang to provide bright task lighting.
For an outdoor kitchen against a wall, with neither cabinets or a bar, you have to get a little more creative. You can run a rope light where the wall and counter meet, or attach a series of battery-operated night lights to the wall so they cast beams down onto your counter.
The trickiest kind of outdoor kitchen to light is one with a flat counter and no bar or walls. If you have a pergola or some sort of overhang, it might be easiest to hang pendants or rope lights to illuminate the counters from above. If your kitchen is simply in the open air, you should try embedding recessed accent lights directly into the countertop for extra brightness.
Ready to get started with your Kitchen's under cabinet lighting project?
Once you’ve answered the questions above, shop our wide selection of under cabinet lighting options that best suits your inside or outside kitchen lighting design desires. Need help? Contact us at Lighting and Supplies today at 888-325-4448 and we’ll answer all your questions to help get you started!