When done right, installing under-cabinet lighting can add to the brightness and usability of spaces like kitchens and garages, adding to their aesthetic appeal and making tasks like cooking more pleasurable, not to mention safer. But as with any lighting project, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing under-cabinet lighting.
Many homes don’t have existing wiring for under-cabinet lighting. And if you’re like any DIY-er, you’re probably not keen on spending hundreds of dollars for an electrician to lay down wires and sockets. The good news is that you can install under-cabinet lighting yourself by choosing LED strip/rope lights, which usually come with adhesive tape and plug into any regular outlet. Puck lights are another great choice, especially if they are battery powered.
There are two common types of voltage when it comes to under-cabinet lighting:
- Low voltage, which usually runs at around 12V or 24V
- Normal or line voltage, which runs at 120V
There’s no significant difference when it comes to lifespan, light quality, or energy savings between the two, but they both have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Low voltage lights are great if you want to fit multiple smaller light fixtures in a tight space. They also produce less heat, which means it’s more comfortable to work under their light. On the other hand, normal or line voltage fixtures on the are faster to install as they don’t need a transformer.
When choosing under-cabinet lighting, it’s a good idea to get fixtures that can be dimmed. Sure, they’ll be more expensive, but being able to brighten and dim your lights will make your living spaces more flexible, not to mention more beautiful. If you’re on full-on Iron Chef mode, for example, turn up your under-cabinet lighting so you can see what you’re doing. Dimmers can also help you save energy, making them a great investment.
Fixture Lenses are typically made of glass or plastic and are placed on the bottom or sides of a light fixture to help diffuse light it emits. These are great for creating a uniform light distribution, reducing glare, and minimizing bright reflections on counter tops and tiles. You can find lenses in most hardware and home improvement stores.
Energy Efficient Lights Are the Way to Go
More and more people are now conscious about using lights that don’t just generate great lighting quality, but are also energy-efficient, using less electricity compared to conventional light bulbs. For best results, choose LED bulbs or strips for your under-cabinet lighting. Some LED light fixtures use only about 5 watts of electricity to produce a bright, high quality light. These lights also produce very little residual heat when switched on, which means you can work under them for extended periods of time without feeling hot and uncomfortable.
With these tips, you can brighten up your Scottsdale home’s workspaces and give your cabinets and cupboards a beautiful glow.