Repair & Maintenance

Choosing kitchen under cabinet lighting

By Pegasus Staff Writer
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under cabinet lighting
Under cabinet lighting can create a dramatic effect
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Kitchen under cabinet lighting is dramatic, functional and effective

Installing under cabinet lighting in your kitchen is one of the smartest remodeling projects you can take on.  Under cabinet lighting will emphasize your countertop design, improve the functionality of your cooking space, and even increase the value of your home.

However, any type of kitchen remodel can be expensive.  Its important to research exactly what type of under cabinet lighting is ideal for your home before purchasing a product.

The first step is to figure out which light source you prefer.  Think about whether you are more attracted to a warm, yellowish glow or a crisp, white light for under cabinet lighting.  If you like the yellowish light, shop for xenon under cabinet lights.  Fluorescent fixtures that use a warm white light bulb or that have a color temperature of 3200K or lower will also create that warm effect. 

If you prefer a bright white light, look for either fluorescent fixtures with cool white light bulbs or for LED under cabinet lights.  Halogen lighting also has a white color quality, but halogen emits too much heat to be installed in such close vicinity to food preparation and storage areas. 

You can also consider energy efficiency and dimming capability to help choose your light source.  The most energy efficient option in providing a given amount of light is fluorescent.  LEDs are extremely energy efficient, but current models do not output as much light as fluorescent under cabinet lights do.   The only light source with full dimming capability is xenon.  Dimmable under cabinet lights are great for providing soft night lighting in the kitchen. 

Second, you need to decide how you want to install the lights.  Under cabinet lights are available in both plug-in and hardwire models.  If you hardwire the lights, you will be connecting them directly to the power source behind your walls using a ROMEX wire.  Plug-in options require less extensive installation.  Many kitchens have an extra outlet in a cabinet above the microwave that is perfect for plug-in under cabinet lighting.

Third, determine how you would like the light distributed on your countertops.  Lights that create a series of mini-spotlights across the countertop are called under cabinet puck lights.  Linear under cabinet lights provide more uniform, evenly-distributed light.

Once you make your decision, be sure to position the new under cabinet lights as close to the front of the cabinet as possible.  This will provide the safest and most effective task lighting for working in the kitchen.

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