Are you looking for a creative accent lighting option for your room? Go for under-cabinet lighting; this not only enhances the ambiance of your space but also offers a better working experience!
LED strip lights and recessed/puck lights are the most popular options for under-cabinet lighting. However, in choosing the ideal one, you must consider the fixtures’s CCT, CRI, IP rating, brightness, material of the cabinet, and more. Besides, the location of the cabinet is also an important fact to consider. For instance, warm lighting is preferable for bedroom cabinets and cool for kitchen or office cabinets.
But don’t get afraid with so many facts to consider under cabinet lighting, as I’m here for guidance. Go through the article and learn the ins and outs for bringing an ideal under cabinet light settings-
What Does Under Cabinet Lighting Mean?
Under cabinet lighting refers to the techniques of installing light fixtures beneath kitchen cabinets, shelves, or similar locations. The main purpose of such lighting is to ensure proper visibility for comfortable tasking. Besides, under-cabinet lighting is a brilliant way to bring accent lighting to your place. You can highlight your kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and closet shelves by installing light fixtures beneath the cabinets.
LED strip lights are the most popular variants of under-cabinet lighting. They are thin and flexible, allowing you to mount them on the cabinet with ease. You can even install these fixtures on the corners or edges of the cabinet by bending them or using connectors. Check this to learn more- How To Install LED Strip Lights Around Corners?
Impact of Under-Cabinet Lighting On Interior Decor
Under cabinet lighting not only aids you in better visibility but also impacts the entire ambiance of your space. It works as an accent mood lighting and makes your room more beautiful. Here are the impact of under cabinet lighting on interior decor:
Better Tasking: Under cabinet lighting makes your working station better; as a result, you can do your task with sufficient lighting. For instance, the under-cabinet space of your kitchen is usually used for chopping or food processing stations. Installing lights beneath the cabinets will make the space bright so that you don’t face any visibility issues while doing the task.
Enhancing the outlook of your space: Only general lighting is not enough to illuminate your space; layering is important. In this case, illuminating the under-cabinet area works as accent lighting. The soft glow beneath the cabinet gives your room an additional depth that enhances the overall outlook.
Highlighting special elements: Who doesn’t love to bring the exclusive pieces into the spotlight? For instance, you may have designer showpieces or artworks that you keep on the shelves/cabinets of your living room. Installing light fixtures under the cabinet will draw the visitors’ attention toward those exclusive pieces. You can implement this cabinet lighting strategy for your bedroom shelves, showcasing where you keep the cookery, kitchen cabinets, etc.
Mood lighting: You will be shocked to know that under-cabinet lighting can also act as mood lighting; how? Think of the bedroom cabinet; installing warm LED strip lights under the cabinets will help you with good sleep. It is scientifically proven that yellowish lights benefit your sleep cycle. So, you can sleep by turning on the under-cabinet lights at night. In this case, dim-to-warm LED strip lights work best.
Type Of Fixture For Under Cabinet Lighting
There are different types of lighting available for under cabinet lighting. The most common variants are as follows-
A. LED Under Cabinet Lighting
LED technology is well known for its energy efficiency and durability. They come in different styles and sizes, making them an ideal choice for under-cabinet lighting. You can go for LED tap lights or built-in fixtures like puck lights. A detailed discussion on under-cabinet LED lighting is as follows-
- LED Tape Lights
Tape lights are generally affixed with two-sided adhesive or tape backing technology for easy and quick mounting. Based on the lighting output and location of the cabinet, you can either choose strip lights or neon flex-
- LED Strip Lights
LED strip lights are available in different colors, sizes, and temperature series. Single color series, tunable white series, dim-to-warm series, and digital adjustable series are perfect for various types of under-cabinet lighting decoration. Thanks to the LED strip lights for their flexibility, super fast, and easy installation. You can cut the strips following the cutting icon using sharp scissors to get the desired application size. Deal with a warm red or green 2700K-3000K for your bedroom for sweet sleeping. However, avoid a warm blue dimmer that can strain and disrupt your brain’s sleep-wake cycle.
- LED Neon Lights
LED neon lights are an excellent option for lighting the cabinets of commercial areas like restaurants, bars, or pubs. The bright glow of these light fixtures gives a quirky party-like vibe that matches the party theme best. This type of under-cabinet lighting is on the bar station, where bottles and glasses are arranged on shelves. The most amazing property of LED neon flex lights is that you can shape them however you want. They are available in different bending angles, including- horizontal bends, vertical bends, 360-degree round, and 3D series. So, if your cabinet has an irregular structure rather than plan shelves, you can design them with these neon lights. Follow this link to install LED neon lighting in more creative ways- Top 26 Creative Neon Sign Lighting Ideas.
- LED Puck Lights
LED puck lights are small and round, perfect for task lighting focused on specific areas. It is easy to install, recessed with wires or wireless, and has great light distribution for under cabinet lighting. I suggest you choose a 60-120 degree beam spread for puck lights that give you more impressive lighting output for under cabinet lighting. However, the number of lights you’ll need depends on the area of your cabinet. The brightness of the light fixture is also a major concern here. Below, I’m adding the number of puck lights you will need per the area of the cabinet:
|Measurement of the Under Cabinet Space (inches)||Suggested Number Of Lights|
|6-10 inches||1 light|
|11-18 inches||2-3 lights|
|19-26 inches||3-to 4 lights|
|27-34 inches||4-5 lights|
|35-42 inches||5-7 lights|
|43-50 inches||6-8 lights|
B. Xenon Under Cabinet Lighting Xenon lighting
Xenon light is a gas-discharged light with high pressure. When switched on, electricity passes through the ionized xenon gas at high pressure to produce bright lighting illumination. This lighting is perfect for commercial lighting, such as under studio and hospital cabinets. Using dark bronze or warm white fixtures under the studio cabinet will provide sufficient brightness for photography.
C. Fluorescent Under Cabinet Lighting
Fluorescent lights were quite popular in the early days as under cabinet lighting. Fluorescent tube lights were installed beneath the cabinet to aid task lighting. You will still find them in the cabinet lighting of old houses. These lights illuminate brightly, which is a plus point, but high energy consumption is a major concern with fluorescent undercabinet lights. Besides, these lights contain toxic elements like mercury that are bad for the environment. So, with technology upgrades, LEDs have replaced these fluorescent lights.
Things To Consider For Under Cabinet Lighting
Different materials and colors of cabinets are included with home and commercial decors. You have to choose the correct lighting according to your needs. You need to consider-
Placement And Location
The location of the cabinet matters a lot when choosing the ideal fixture; for instance, when lighting under the cabinet of your bedroom, you shouldn’t go for too many bright lights. This can be irritating when relying on your bed. In this case, go for warm and low-lumen lights. Again, for kitchen lighting, the lumen rating of the bulb should be bright enough to aid in chopping and cutting tasks. So, consider the location of the cabinet before lighting it up.
Material & Color Of The Cabinet
You’ll be shocked to know that the material of the cabinet is a crucial factor in deciding the color of the light you use! For example, wooden cabinets look best with yellowish lighting. You can go for light fixtures with CCT of 2500K to 3000K for wooden cabinets. This color temperature is ideal for any warm color cabinet, including red, yellow, orange, or brown. Again, for cool color cabinets like blue, green, etc., choose high CCT lighting that has a bluish tone. But remember, for dark-colored cabinets, like black; you must go for high-lumen fixtures as these colors absorb light. And for shiny or reflective surfaces like marble or tiles, go for low-lumen lights. If you use high-power lights in flashy cabinets, the reflection from the surfaces can cause glaring issues that can be pretty irritating.
Wiring is a major concern for under-cabinet lighting. In this case, you can choose an option that doesn’t require a plug-in. For instance, battery-powered lights, USb-powered LED Strips, etc. To know more about this, check this article- How To Use LED Strip Lights Without Plug? However, if you have a proper plug-in facility, you can use plug-in power supplies that convert your standard household voltage (e.g., 120V or 240V) to the voltage required for your under cabinet lights (e.g., 12V or 24V).
IP Rating Of The Lights
Ingress Protection (IP) rating indicates the degree of protection of the fixtures from solid and liquid ingress. An IP rating consists of two digits. The first digit is for solids, and the second is for liquids. Most common IP ratings are IP22, IP44, IP65, IP67, IP68, etc. The higher ratings mean more protection from environmental ingress. IP68 lights are more protective from water and dust than IP54. Different IP ratings for different locations cabinets make your lighting last longer. Check the following chart before purchasing under cabinet lighting-
|Location Of Cabinet||Suggested IP Rating|
|Bedroom under cabinet||IP20 or IP22|
|Kitchen under cabinet||IP44 or higher|
|Bathroom under cabinet||IP 44 or higher|
|Outdoor under cabinet||At least IP65.|
This table will assist you in choosing the desired application fixture. If you need more information, check this: IP Rating: The Definitive Guide.
Have you ever added excess ingredients while cooking just because the food color doesn’t seem as you expected? You surely went through such a situation if you cook regularly. This may occur due to installing low CRI lighting in the kitchen. Now, what is CRI? Color Rendering Index (CRI) refers to the color accuracy of artificial light compared to natural lighting sources. It is measured using a scale from 1 up to 100. Higher CRI means better color accuracy. So, always consider CRI ratings when purchasing under-cabinet lighting for the kitchen or areas where the appearance of the color matters. I suggest you go for 90 or above. For more detailed guidance, check this article- What is CRI?
The color temperature of light can greatly impact on mood and productivity. For instance, installing low CCT lights under the cabinet will create a cozy ambiance, aiding better sleep. Again, a cool color light with high CCT at the office cabinet will bring energetic accent lighting. So, before going for under-cabinet lighting, consider the ambiance/location of the room and then decide on the ideal CCT rating. Here, I’m adding a chart to make your color temperature selection for cabinet lighting easier:
|Temperature (Kelvin)||Colors||Moods Or Effects|
|Less than 2000K||Dim candlelight||Personal intimate|
|2000K-2700K||Warm yellowish/white||Praising mood|
|2700K-3000K||Soft white||Calm warm|
|3100K-4000K||Cool bright white||Clean inviting|
|4100K-4500K||Bluish white tone||Daylight vibrant|
|4600K- 6500K||Bright Blue||Daylight spirit|
If you want to know more details, please deal with this- How to Choose LED Strip Color Temperature?
Voltage rating is a crucial factor to consider, especially for under cabinet lights like- LED strips. These fixtures are highly sensitive to voltage. Usually, 12V is recommended for indoor cabinets and 24V for outdoor cabinets of open kitchens. Besides, in commercial cabinets, for instance, the kitchen cabinets of restaurants or shoe cabinets of retail stores, 24V LED strip lights work best. Whatever the light fixture you choose, make sure its voltage matches the power source. Read this article for details- How to Choose The Voltage of LED Strip? 12V or 24V?
Various flexible control methods are available for under cabinet lighting. A hand-touch control light is brilliant for the cooking spot cabinet. You can control it for a brighter or normal tone while cooking and preparing food. You can also use your smartphone to control your optimal needs, such as a brighter aura for reading or dimmer light for sleeping in the bedroom. Using smart lighting for bedroom and living room cabinets can be a game-changing move for smart homes. For this, you will need an LED controller that is compatible with your light fixture. Check this article for complete guidelines about LED controller- LED Controller: A Comprehensive Guide.
How to Choose the Appropriate Brightness Levels?
Choosing the appropriate brightness level under cabinet lighting is complex and challenging. Due to poor design and low quality, your lights may lose their brightness. This can cause visibility issues. Again, too much bright light under the cabinet can cause glaring issues that will hamper productivity. You can measure the brightness by foot-candle. See the table below for the brightness of different cabinets-
|Cabinet Location||Recommended Foot-candles|
|Living Room Cabinets||10-20|
|Kitchen Cabinets (In general)||30-40|
|Kitchen Cabinets (Above sink/Stove)||70-80|
|Dining Room Cabinets||30-40|
However, your light fixtures may lose brightness due to several reasons. This may occur due to voltage drop, aging, low-quality lights, etc. To get rid of such issues, read this- How To Make LED Strip Lights Brighter?
Fluorescent vs. Halogen vs. LED Under Cabinet Lighting
Different types of lights can be installed under cabinet lighting, like fluorescent, halogen, and LED. However, all fixtures do not have the same output. LED lights are effective, available, and famous instead of fluorescent and halogen.
|Comparison Of Fluorescent vs. Halogen vs. LED Under Cabinet Lighting|
|Criteria||Fluorescent Light||Halogen Light||LED Light|
|Lifespan||Moderate lifespan (around 10,000 to 15,000 hours).||Shorter lifespan compared to LEDs (around 2,000 to 5,000 hours).||Longest lifespan (typically 25,000 to 50,000 hours or more).|
|Color Temperature Options||Variable color temperature, ranging from 2700K to 6500K||Warm lighting2700K-3000K||Wide range of color temperatures available from warm to cool; 1800K – 6500K|
|Environmental Impact||Contains mercury, which is harmful to the environment||Contribute to a higher carbon footprint||Doesn’t contain toxic gasses and it is environment-friendly|
Installation Process Of Different Types Of Under-Cabinet Lighting
Installation of different under-cabinet lights is accessible and supports versatile power sources. Ensure the surfaces are cleaned and dried and the power source is turned off before installation. Different under-cabinet lighting installation processes are-
A. Hardwired Under-Cabinet Lighting
The hardwired under-cabinet lighting method is not for temporary or occasional decoration. Bathrooms, kitchens, hotels, restaurants, and more places need permanent lighting. Check the electric wiring correctly; after installing the lights, affix the screw tightly to make the connection firmly.
Pros and Cons
|Secure connection |
Perfect for permanent lighting
Drilling and screwing make the installation firm
Need professional assistance
The hardwired under-cabinet lighting is installed directly with the cabinet’s underneath circuit box from the electrical power source. The installation process is as follows-
- Gather the necessary tools for installation, such as a screwdriver, a driller, and a new electric box.
- Ensure the surfaces are dry and clean and the power is turned off.
- Check the old wiring and circuit to install the lights and attach a new box beside the older one.
- Unscrew the old box and bring out the three-color cables. Join the lights’ three colors cables with the old three cables.
- Cover the joint using tape. Put the cable by pressing tighten into the box and close the box by screwing it tightly.
- Turn on the lights and check if it glows. If the lights are flashing or dimming, or the power is not turned on, recheck the process and fix the problem.
If you are using LED strips for under cabinet lighting, this guide will help you- Can LED Strip Lights Be Hardwired?
B. Battery-Powered Under Cabinet Lighting
Installing lights under the cabinet is simple with a battery power source. For a brighter aura, you can use disposal AA/AAA or rechargeable lithium Ion. You won’t need to plug in or hide the cables for such installation.
Pros and Cons
|Adjustable brightness level|
Flexible for battery replacement
No drilling or screwing hassle
|May require battery replacement |
Frequent charging hassle
Select the desired size and color light that matches the battery power. Connect the light’s positive terminal with the battery’s positive terminal and the negative with the negative terminal. Power up for a bright atmosphere. If it is dimming or not glowing, recheck the connection and fix the problem.
C. Plug-in Under Cabinet Lighting
Plug-in under cabinet lighting is easy to install as you don’t need to take hardwiring hassles. Connect the fixtures to a standard electrical outlet, and your lights are set to glow. When designing the cabinets, you may have an electrical outlet fixed for convenient lighting.
Pros and Cons
|May damage for wrong voltage match|
LED strip lights are the best options for plug-in under cabinet lighting. Select the accurate color and temperature fixture for the application. Install using adhesive backing. Peel the adhesive and press on the surface for 10 seconds. You also use clips or an aluminum channel to make the installation firm. After installation, plug in to connect the power and light up. To join more ways, read this- Installing LED Flex Strips: Mounting Techniques.
Safety Tips for Using Under Cabinet Lighting
Safety tips prevent the risk of electric shock and premature damage to the fixture. For these, you need to follow some common issues. They are-
Check For Certification
Many lighting manufacturers and companies are available in the markets with different fixtures. But all do not produce the same quality products. For this, you must check out the international standards and certifications to ensure quality. UL, ETE, and RoHS are some essential certifications to consider. Check this article to learn more- The Certification of LED Strip Lights.
Follow Installation Instructions Carefully
The packaging of the light fixtures comes with a manual instruction note. You should read this instruction and follow these guides carefully for correct installation.
Turn Off Power Before Installation
Installing under-cabinet lighting will be dangerous if the electric power is turned on. Check to ensure the power is turned off and the surfaces are dried. Otherwise, there is a chance of a circuit breaker or fire on the circuit board.
Avoid Overloading Outlets
Using one electric switchboard or plug for all electric purposes with lighting is risky. It may create an overloading issue for the power outlet, which can cause fire breakouts. Avoid using the same power source and use a separate outlet only for the under-cabinet lighting. Plugging a 24V fixture into a 12V outlet may dim the lights. Again, if you plug a 12V light into a 24V power source, it may be damaged by overheating.
Use Outdoor-Rated Lighting for Wet Areas
Outdoor lights will have different IP ratings than indoor lighting. So, installing lower-rated lights on outdoor cabinets is not a good choice to go for. If you do so, it will get damaged due to water, dust, UV rays, overheating, and sunlight. Selecting a high IP rating like an IP65 light will be more weather ingress protective than an IP54 light.
Keep Flammable Materials Away
Keeping all flammable materials far from the lighting or power source is an important safety caution. The flammable liquid should be stored in an approved container and a spark-free area outside the cabinet. Otherwise, you must face an unwanted situation, even fire from a shock circuit.
8 Ideas For Under-Cabinet Lighting
There are different types of under-cabinet lighting. You can use different types of fixtures following creative tricks and tips. It would be best to consult with a professional to choose your ideas for the correct lighting.
A. Bathroom Under Cabinet
Bathroom cabinet lighting will be different than under other cabinet lighting. A warm golden or yellow tone IP54 light is ideal for the bathroom cabinet. Using a cool white 4000K spot or cove lighting in the sink area’s mirror cabinet underneath will be a perfect fit. If you want to know more, read this- Top 26 Creative Bathroom Lighting Ideas.
B. Kitchen Under Cabinet
Various lighting designs are available for kitchen under-cabinet lighting decoration. Kitchen cabinet lighting helps to create larger visibility for the small kitchen by providing a brightening atmosphere. Go with cool 4000K tunable white or yellow LED strips for cooking and preparing meals. Install adhesive backing LED with connector for remodeling the kitchen after a few months. For further creative ideas, check this- How To Choose LED Strips For Kitchen Cabinet?
C. Closet Under Cabinet
The closet under-cabinet lighting will create a relaxing mood in any closet cabinet. Installing cool white lighting using a controller creates a sharp and clean atmosphere. If you wish, you can increase the light brightness for daylight work purposes and reduce the brightness for a dim sleeping aura by using a remote control. Installing any single-color cool or warm accent lighting for customized lighting that matches your closet design will be excellent.
D. Office Under Cabinet
Mounting the right lighting in the under-cabinet enhances the office area’s productivity. 4000K-5500K color temperature works best for office cabinets. The calm color tone keeps the employees energetic and helps in increasing productivity. However, for cabinets in the reception or restroom areas, you can go for warm lighting. For more information- Office Lighting: The Definitive Guide.
E. Book Shelf Under Cabinet
Bookshelves under cabinet lighting will be different for the home and commercial library. The commercial bookshelf color will be more robust and brighter than the home bookshelf. Warm white 3000K-3500K task hidden lighting creates ideal illumination for the home library shelf. On the other hand, cool white or golden 4500K-5000K LED lights or neon flex is a more affordable and efficient outcome approach.
F. Bar Under Cabinet
The warm lights under the bar cabinets create a romantic shadowy aura that matches the bar’s atmosphere. Install multiple addressable or RGB lighting highlights for the cabinet where you arrange the bottles and glasses. Such digital lighting will fit the party or quirky vibe of the bars and pubs in the best way possible. Check this for more ideas- Top 31 Restaurant Lighting Ideas and Top 43 Creative Kitchen Lighting Ideas.
Top 5 Under-Cabinet Lighting Solutions
The under-cabinet lighting has endless style and design. Install different types of under-cabinet lighting to create a brilliant, cozy, inviting atmosphere. The top 5 cabinet lighting solutions are-
LEDYi is a Chinese LED strip light and LED neon flex manufacturing brand. We produce high-quality fixtures and offer customization facilities to our customers. This makes our product ideal for under-cabinet lighting. You can ask us for LED strips for cabinet lighting, and we will customize it as per the suitable voltage and power consumption ratings. All our strip lighting comes with adhesive backing, so you won’t face issues installing them under your cabinets.
2. TorchStar Voice Control Smart LED Lighting Kit
TorchStar Voice Control Smart LED Lighting Kit is safe and easy to install under cabinet lighting. It comes in three white colors and has 33 LEDs in a 12-inch strip. It connects directly with the cable, making installation quick and easy. This kit offers three controller types- switch, smartphone, and voice control that allow you ten layers of color customization (10%-100%).
3. Brilliant Evolution Wireless Ultra-Thin LED Light
Brilliant Evolution Wireless Ultra-Thin LED Light is the best budget wireless and battery-powered LED light under cabinet lighting. It includes a durable plastic body, screw, or adhesive mounting. It has warm and cool white features that are perfect for daylight and night work in the dark.
4. SZOK LED Wireless Under Cabinet Lighting
SZOK LED Wireless Under Cabinet Lighting includes a package with 4 LED lights, 2 USB cables, one remote control, and one user manual. These battery rechargeable lights take 3 hours to recharge and illuminate blue color after a full charge. These fixtures’ magnetic strips make the installation easy with no hassle of screwing or drilling. You can control these fixtures via a remote; quickly press the switch for on/off and a long press for dimming aura.
5. JUSJUBR 12 Inch Plug-in LED Under Cabinet Light
JUSJUBR 12 Inch Plug-in LED Under Cabinet Light is designed with a plug-in option. Peel the adhesive and mount it under the cabinet. Make the connection secure with the cable hook. It offers you five color choices; you can choose the one that suits your cabinet best.
Where You Can Get Top-Notch LED Lights To Light Up Your Under Cabinet?
There are various types of LED fixtures available in the market. However, it is challenging to source quality fixtures. You can go for both local markets and online purchases. For bulk quality, contact a professional LED light manufacturer or supplier. This way, you will find high-quality LED lights at affordable prices. If you want premium quality lighting for the under cabinet at an affordable price, LEDYi is your first choice to go for. We offer many LED strip lighting solutions with extensive customization options. So, why wait anymore? Check the product list and place your order now!
Under cabinet lighting is a brilliant idea for improved tasking experience and accent lighting of your room. LED strip lights and puck lights are the most popular variant for undercabinet lighting. However, whatever light you choose, the CCT is an important factor here. Make sure the light color and brightness are well-off to the location of your cabinet. Besides, LED lights, Xenon, and fluorescent under cabinet lights are also available, but they aren’t very popular due to low energy efficiency. This is what makes LEDs more popular for under cabinets.
If you are looking for a smart under-cabinet lighting solution, LEDYi is here for you. We provide customizable LED strip and neon flex lights ideal for residential and commercial cabinet lighting. So, Contact us and place your order now!