What You Need To Know About Under Cabinet Lighting

Ever looked in an interior design magazine or website that shows a beautifully illuminated kitchen? Perhaps there was something about the lighting that created a beautiful ambiance. Chances are, you were looking at under cabinet lighting. 

But what is under cabinet lighting? And what’s the point if a kitchen is already well-lit with ceiling fixtures? 

Find out below, as we discuss what under cabinet lighting is and how it can totally transform your kitchen.

What Is Under Cabinet Lighting?

Click the image to see this full project!

Under cabinet lighting is really just what its name suggests—it’s lighting that goes directly under your cabinets. Like many people, you may think it’s unnecessary to mount lights underneath your cabinets because your kitchen is already well-lit. 

But what about your counters? If you have countertops around the edges of your kitchen, they may create shadows that can interfere with your working spaces. Under cabinet lighting can address this problem, making food preparation easier and safer. For example, it can be dangerous to use a knife when prepping veggies, and you can’t really see what you’re doing because of shadows in your kitchen. 

Under cabinet lighting can also come in handy if you’re using your kitchen at night, as it offers gentle illumination. 

Beyond practical purposes, under cabinet lighting can also add visual appeal to your kitchen by emphasizing colors, backsplashes, and your overall kitchen design. It offers a professional look, providing even, uniform light that’s perfect for kitchen tasks. 

We won’t get too deep into the benefits of under cabinet lighting, as we have an entire section for that. But before getting to that section, we go over the different types of under cabinet lighting to choose for your kitchen.

Types Of Under Cabinet Lighting

If you did get under cabinet lighting, which type would be best for your kitchen? Here, we go over the different types of under cabinet lighting and their pros and cons.

Light Bars

This is the light bar in our showroom

Light bars are the most common style of under cabinet lighting, featuring an aluminum housing and a light diffusion cover. 

This makes them sturdy enough for task-oriented areas of your kitchen. If you’re going for a more professional look, then light bars may be your best bet, as they provide even, uniform light  

You can also link light bars together using connectors or linking cables. As a result, you’ll be able to operate your entire lighting system on the same switch or dimmer. 

The main disadvantage of light bars is their inflexibility. So, it’s important to measure carefully to plan their installation before you buy.

When we install light bars, we like to use Task Lighting. Check out their website to see all sorts of light bar options.

Puck Lights

Looking for something that provides a more focused “pool” of light? Consider under cabinet puck lights. If you’re more into accent lighting instead of an even beam of illumination, then puck lights may be the best choice for your kitchen. 

But if you’re looking for a solution that allows for task specific lighting, puck lights aren’t the most ideal. However, it is possible to space them so that there’s no break in the lighting between pucks.

Tape Lights

Click the image to see this full project!

Also known as strip or rope lights, tape lights have a shallow profile, which allows them to fit in small spaces. 

Plus, they can be cut to size and easily adhered to the underside of your cabinets. If you’re looking for a space-saving lighting option for your kitchen cabinets, then tape lights will serve your needs. 

However, it can be tricky to link the light strips and run the associated wiring because tape strips operate off a standard outlet. So, if your floor plan isn’t straightforward, it’s probably best to hire a professional for installation. 

If you are interested, check out the tape lights that we used in this project.

Types Of Bulbs

When it comes to choosing lighting for under your cabinets, you might want to consider how energy-efficient those lights are. And that all depends on the type of bulbs you use.

  • Xenon lights: Xenon bulbs are usually less energy efficient than LED and fluorescent bulbs. However, you can dim them to set the mood or save energy.
  • Fluorescent lights: Fluorescent bulbs are one of the best options in terms of energy efficiency and heat output. This is because they stay cool when they’re on. While fluorescent lights are good for saving energy, they’re not as energy-efficient as LED bulbs.
  • LED lights: LEDs are the best option if you’re looking for great energy efficiency and heat output. They only use a small amount of energy, while still providing optimal brightness. Plus, LED lights have very low heat output, making them cool to the touch, even when they’ve been on for a while.
  • Halogen lights: Of all the lighting options, halogen lights are the least energy efficient. However, like with fluorescent bulbs, you can dim halogen lights to save energy.

Advantages Of Under Cabinet Lighting

Under cabinet lighting designs offer multiple advantages. Here’s a list of the top benefits of installing lighting under your cabinetry.

  • Modern styling and design: If you love a modern kitchen, then you can achieve this look with under cabinet lighting. While many homeowners use ceiling fixtures or wall sconces in their kitchen, you can install lights under your cabinet to give the room a sleek and stylish design.
  • No shadows in the work area: Have unwanted shadows in your kitchen? Did you know that using ceiling lights can create these shadows? When you use an under cabinet lighting system, you can light even the deepest corners of your drawers and cabinets. 
  • Energy-efficient: If you’re worried about using too much energy in your kitchen, you don’t have to with under cabinet lighting. If you use energy-efficient bulbs like LEDs or fluorescents, you can save much-needed energy in the kitchen.
  • Bulb variations: You can choose from a variety of bulb options for your under cabinet lights. You can choose the right bulb for your budget and preferences.

Is It Worth The Upgrade?

Still on the fence about the benefits of under cabinet lighting? Ask yourself the following questions to see if under cabinet lighting is right for you. 

  • Do you want a well-lit workspace?
  • Do you want to add more ambiance to your kitchen?
  • Do you want to make your kitchen more safe and efficient? 
  • Do you want to add more lighting to your kitchen while saving space, instead of using a lamp on your countertops?
  • Do you want to create dimensionality in your kitchen and soften harsh lines that could be caused by overhead or fluorescent lights?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then under cabinet lighting may be right for you.

Explore Under Cabinet Lighting With McManus Kitchen & Bath

At McManus Kitchen & Bath we like to explore every option available to help you create the space you have always dreamed of. Lighting is one of the most important factors when it comes to the look of any space and we would love to help you make smart lighting choices for your next remodel. Contact us today to schedule a consult.

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McManus Kitchen and Bath is a design and build company specializing in kitchen and bath remodels

McManus Kitchen & Bath

Phone: (850) 354-8090

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