Under Cabinet Lighting

Under Cabinet Lighting

Under cabinet lighting might seem like something you can live without, but we propose, after you use it, you’ll never want to go back!  It can highlight your backsplash, add extra task lighting for food preparation and cooking and can also be used as a night-light.  It is the perfect addition to the layers of lighting ((having multiple light sources for different purposes) in your house and you will not be sorry! 

So here is the skinny on under cabinet lighting.  Sometimes it can also be called under mount lights, under counter lights, under cupboard lights, and task lights, so just note they are all synonyms.   Here are some other things to consider when selecting under cabinet lighting.

1.  Fixture Style?

Puck and Button Lights

Puck and button lights are usually small, circular and singular lights.  Puck lights are versatile and can add pops of lighting where you want it or an even row of layered lighting.  They are very affordable and easily installed. They don’t spread their light much beyond the space they are pointed at. 

Tape Lights

Tape Lights are thin, flexible adhesive strips of LED lights that allow you to simply stick them under your cabinets.  They can come in less than 1/10” thick and come with a strong adhesive that stays put to almost any surface.  They are affordable and easy to install.  Their lighting is minimal and best used in a place that is already well lit. 

Rope Lights

Rope lights are similar to tape lights however they are thicker. They also require large mounting clips to secure the rope light to the surface and can be harder to install. They do not have an adhesive backing like strip lights do.  On the positive side, they are affordable and can be plugged into your outlet. 

Light Bars

Light bars are exactly that, a thin, long strip or bar of light that illuminates the entire space under your cabinet. They can be as thin as 1/3” thick and are affordable.   You get your best, even lighting with light bars. They provide more light than tape or rope lights but can also be overkill if you already have good lighting or are hoping for ambiance.  They are also relatively easy to install. 

2. Cost?

Under lighting cabinet can cost anywhere from $10-$200 a light depending on what you select.  As you keep your budget and your preference in mind, you can find one that will fit your needs.  The options are plenty!

3. Bulb Type?

You can choose between Xenon, LED or fluorescent light bulbs for under your cabinet. LED lights are popular because they last longer and use less energy, however the upfront cost is more, but you save on your energy bill and don’t replace the bulbs nearly as often. They also put off little heat, so you don’t have to worry about your lights ruining any items.

Still some people prefer going with fluorescent or xenon lights to save on upfront costs and because of the brighter light they put off. LED lights tend to provide a sort of low, blue light that’s not as warm and bright as the traditional bulbs many are used to.  Just note, xenon lights do put off heat and be careful about what you place directly under the lights. Check out this post for all the more details on light bulbs.

4.  Hardwired, Plugin or Battery Operated? 

This decision will probably be made by your budget and your preference.  Hardwired lighting is where it is connected directly to your light switch.  Plugin means your under cabinet lighting needs an outlet to work and battery powered means you’ll be changing batteries when the lights go out.  Considering placement and installation will also help you make this decision.  If there were not an outlet placed close by, then plugin under cabinet lighting wouldn’t work in your space.  Most cabinet lights can be found in any of any of the three styles, so find what works for you!  Be sure to tell us how it goes. 

5.Recessed or Surface Mount?

Most surface mounts are so thin that they don’t jut out under your cabinets so it is not a bad way to go. Recessed is always classy too. Either way, you can’t go wrong with this decision. 

Best of luck!