Looking for a softer touch to your cabinets? You might not think to add more lighting, but that’s exactly what you should do. Under cabinet lighting is a surefire way to add depth and light to an area.
Under cabinet lighting illuminates corners and dark areas that are also low on space. These fixtures may be small, but they yield a big impact.
There are so many options to consider, so how do you know which one is the best for you? Check out our ideas below to get started.
How Do I Choose Under Cabinet Lighting?
Before you explore fixture styles, lighting colors, and more, first consider your room and where you’ll place the lights. If you need to illuminate your counter space in the kitchen, you’ll opt for a different style compared to a walk-in closet, entertainment center, or even a pantry space.
Now that the space and its function has been decided, next you’ll want to nail down a few more options. Consider light intensity or color, aesthetic, and even ease of installation. LED strip lights are oh-so-easy, sustainable, and ultra-functional. They’re a perfect add-on to a workspace. Plus, they require practically no installation. On the other hand, a warm low-wattage touch light might be perfect for a vanity area or dresser in a walk-in closet. Don’t forget to touch on your aesthetic sensibilities either; consider metals, finishes, and design when adding this small but mighty lighting to your abode.
What are Under Cabinet Lighting Options?
Plug-In Under Cabinet Lighting
Plug-in lighting kits are plentiful and easy to add to your workspace, garage, or kitchen. These lights simply plug in directly to any wall outlet. Plug-in kits are no fuss, while illuminating your space in its full glory.
LED Strip Lighting
This rope lighting is minimal yet bright. The real selling point of LED lighting is its sustainability and longevity.
A bit more subtle, mounted disk lights are perfect for adding large pools of light to a countertop. For kitchens that need a little more oomph, these touch operated lights shine brightly. Puck-shaped lights can have other features like battery operation, so you don’t need to install wires or plug in.
A note of caution: use less or steer clear from halogen bulbs since they give off heat and can be highly flammable.
Direct Wire Lighting
Direct wire lighting requires, you guessed it, more installation, but the results are seamless and tidy. This is an option to strongly consider if you want less cords and plugs in view. If you’re already working with professionals, definitely check out direct wire lighting.
Tape lighting is ulta versatile. This lighting can be cut into various lengths, so strips big and small — or somewhere in between — can create the biggest or smallest impact of light.
What Types of Bulbs or Lights Should I Consider?
Incandescent lights are easy to find and most homeowners probably have a bevy of these bulbs in stock.
These are marketed as affordable, but they don’t have a long shelf life so they need to be replaced somewhat frequently. Depending on how often you want to replace bulbs (or buy them), keep that in mind when browsing lighting options.
Fluorescent isn’t always the most popular option as their greenish hued light can be rather severe. However, fluorescent bulbs are mega long-lasting and very, very low on heat emittance. You might not put this lighting style in your oasis-like bedroom, but they can work well in a garage or shed.
Need less heat? Xenon bulbs burn mighty bright with less intensity than their halogen counterparts.
LED has the longest life span out of all of these options, and it’s certainly a winning feature among many homeowners. LED lights are pricier, but their shelf life may outweigh the cost.
Halogen bulbs are long-lasting, but these bulbs are known to give off quite a bit of heat. You should use halogen bulbs only if they’re adequately far from sensitive areas. Since they’re known to heat up, you might also want to install a dimmer switch with these lights.
Don’t Forget These Accents
Now that you pinned down an under cabinet bulb and lighting design consider these options for additional flair:
- Colored bulbs
- Dimmer switches
- Motion sensors
- Smart tech capabilities
The good news is that there’s a myriad of under cabinet lighting options for you to explore. All you need to do is zero in on what best fits your lifestyle and home. Let us know which idea works best for you, and check out NewHomeSource for more tips and techniques.
Stephanie Valente is a Content Director and Editor in Brooklyn, NY. She’s previously held writing and social media positions at Barkbox, Men’s Journal, and currently works at a full-service advertising agency. She’s a self-confessed home and design enthusiast. Stephanie is an award-winning poet and fiction writer. When she’s offline, you can find her taking a yoga class, running, hanging out with her rescue dog Pepper. Find her on stephanievalente.com.