Under Cabinet Lighting Buying Guide

Make any room brighter, more attractive and more usable with under cabinet lighting. This under cabinet lighting guide will help you illuminate the important spaces in your home.

Under Cabinet Lighting 101

Under cabinet lighting can focus attention on your prized decor pieces and brighten key work areas in your kitchen, bathroom and garage. The three main light sources for under cabinet lighting are long-lasting LED lights, kitchen-friendly fluorescent lights and traditional incandescent lights. All three are available in a range of mount types, including puck lights, linear light strips and linear light fixtures. And with extra features like dimmer switches and tilting mounts to eliminate glare, you can have total control over the look and functionality of your environment.
 
 

Types of Under Cabinet Lighting

LED%20Lights

LED Lights

Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, are an increasingly popular lighting choice because they last longer and use less energy than most other lighting options. Additionally, LED light bulbs are well suited to lighting a space in soft hues as a decor accent or to provide gentle lighting for a midnight snack or a late-night visit to the bathroom. Under cabinet LED lighting is particularly durable, so consider it for high traffic areas where other lighting could get damaged.
Fluorescent%20Lights

Fluorescent Lights

Thin, linear fluorescent lights make excellent under cabinet lighting because they're easy to hide and give off a bright, uniform light. These lights consume less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. They also emit very little heat, making them ideal for rooms with appliances that generate heat, like kitchens. The light from fluorescent bulbs tends to be quite bright, making it suitable for work areas where more light is required. Fluorescent lighting is available in a choice of colours and strengths, giving you plenty of options to use this form of lighting for decor and functional purposes.
Incandescent%20Lights

Incandescent Lights

Incandescent bulbs are an affordable, flexible and widely available lighting choice. These lights are sold in the widest range of colours and intensities. So whether you need soft-hued accent lighting for a dining room bookcase or bright task lighting for your hobby work counter, there's an incandescent bulb suited to the job. You should consider choosing higher wattage incandescent lights for your kitchen and bathroom if you need to see textures and colours clearly for preparing meals or putting on makeup.

Under Cabinet Fixture Types

Puck%20Lights

Puck Lights

Puck lights offer the most control over the intensity and consistency of under cabinet lighting. Due to their shallow depth, they're also the easiest to conceal. As the name suggests, puck lights look like hockey pucks. Some puck lights are designed to be recessed into the cabinetry to hide them completely. The pucks come as plug-in or battery powered units in either incandescent or LED lighting. You can purchase them individually or as a set, depending on your needs.
Linear%20Light%20Strips

Linear Light Strips

Linear light strips are the easiest installation option for under cabinet lighting. This type of lighting uses adhesives to mount the hardware to the cabinet underside. The strips come in various lengths, allowing you to purchase the right length to match your pre-existing cabinetry when remodeling. LED light strips are the most common type of light strip, but incandescent and fluorescent options are also available. With linear light strips, you can quickly add light wherever you need it.
Linear%20Light%20Fixtures

Linear Light Fixtures

A linear light fixture is a solid lighting unit featuring either a single, long fluorescent tube or several smaller fluorescent, LED or incandescent lights arranged in a straight line. When shopping for this type of light fixture, be sure to first measure the length of your cabinet to ensure you don't buy one that's too long or too short. Linear lighting is an easy solution for under cabinet lighting since you need to install and wire just one fixture, not several. Linear light fixtures are available in high wattage versions, making them an excellent choice for illuminating work spaces.

Under Cabinet Lighting Buying Tips:

• LED lights are sensitive to heat, so other bulb types may be better for areas close to appliances that produce heat, like ovens
• Warmer coloured lights complement wood and warmer-coloured tile countertops, while cooler-coloured lights work best with glass, cooler tile colours and grey-scale metals
• If your under cabinet lighting is awkward to reach, consider installing longer lasting bulbs to reduce the replacement frequency
• Incandescent puck lights should be spaced roughly 8 to 12 inches apart, so be sure to buy enough to sufficiently light the space
• Traditional incandescent bulbs emit a warmer light, but xenon and halogen models offer a wider range of colours for different uses and decor options
• To extend the lifespan of LED lights, use mounts to separate them slightly from the cabinet
• LED lights generally last the longest and use the least energy, followed by fluorescent and incandescent bulbs
• LED lights come in a wide range of non-traditional colours, like reds and greens, to support your bold design choices

Under Cabinet Lighting Features

Lighting Colour +

The right lighting colour helps emphasize decor and makes delicate work that much easier. Most under cabinet lighting ranges from cooler blue-white to warmer yellow-white, depending on the bulb and casing. Yellow-white light is best anywhere you need strong illumination to detect details and differentiate colours, such as the laundry, kitchen counter, bathroom vanity or garage. Blue-white light is a softer, more welcoming lighting choice, great for accenting artwork or brightening a gathering spot. Fluorescent, LED, and incandescent lights all come in a wide range of white light for your individual needs.

Glare +

Glare from under cabinet lighting can dramatically undermine a room’s appearance and usefulness. Luckily, there are many lighting styles and options that eliminate or reduce glare, especially from glossy or reflective countertops. In a kitchen, for example, an angled mount can direct light against the backsplash rather than the countertop. An extra inch of moulding added to the bottom of a cabinet will also block glare for people sitting nearby. Finally, lights with a lens over the bare bulbs produce light that is less reflective when shone directly on glossy surfaces.

Dimmers +

Dimmer switches are an excellent lighting feature that provides you with greater control over a room’s appearance and usefulness. With a dimmer, the same light can give you a bright kitchen for cooking, a welcoming hue for dinner guests and a soft light for winding down at night. Dimming capabilities are often easier to add to incandescent and LED lighting fixtures.

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Wire Hiding Tips:

• The easiest wire hiding method is to bundle the wires together with tie wraps, carefully staple them to the cabinet’s underside and conceal the bundled wire in a wood cable protector
• Alternatively, you can hide the wires inside the cabinets by drilling into the cabinet and running the wires along the front of the cabinets towards the power source
• You can also install a wood valance to extend the cabinet’s front face down an inch or two and run the wire immediately behind the extension
• Whenever possible, run the wire as close to your cabinet overhang as possible to reduce visibility
• Consider hiring an electrician to hardwire your lighting
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