Installing under cabinet lighting is a great way to add both functionality and style to your kitchen. Under cabinet lights will illuminate your countertops and make it much easier to see during kitchen prep work, while at the same time adding a nice ambience and warmth to your space. There are a few different types of under cabinet lighting to choose from, and some facts to know before you buy.
LOOKING TO REFACE YOUR CABINETS?
The first decision you should make is if you prefer hard-wired (“direct-wire”), plug-in, or battery-operated under cabinet lighting. Hard-wired lights have the ease of a wall switch, but might require an electrician if you aren’t comfortable installing yourself. Plug-in lights are an easy do-it-yourself project and will plug into any wall-socket, but don’t have completely hidden wiring like hard-wired lights. Battery operated styles easily stick on the bottom of your cabinets.
Puck lights are round, hockey-puck shaped lights that are very popular because of their ease of use and relative low cost. They come in many different styles, and can either be hardwired, plugged in, or battery operated. Battery operated styles are inexpensive and are “peel and stick” onto the underside of your cabinets. This is a good option if you are renting or don’t want to make any permanent changes to your cabinetry. Puck lights are now mostly LED, making them a good energy efficient choice for your home.
The newer fluorescent lights on the market aren’t like the ones of the past, they are much improved. The current lights are sleeker and slimmer and don’t have that annoying hum their predecessors had. They also have a more natural color profile and no time delay while turning on. Fluorescent strips are usually hardwired, but can also be plugged into a wall socket.
LED Box Strips
LED strips are similar in size and shape to fluorescent strips, but the bulbs will have quite a bit longer life. They are also very cool burning, so they aren’t going to put off extra heat in your kitchen. LED light can look a little “cool” for some people’s taste, so you may want to test them out in your kitchen before purchasing. Recently, warmer options in LED’s have started to emerge on the market, so their should be more color choices available soon. These can either be hard-wired or plugged into a wall socket.
LED Rope or Tape Strips
Another more affordable and easy to install option, LED rope can be used for multiple different applications. LED rope or tape is a very thin stip of lights that you can cut to size during install and usually comes with sticky backing that is ready for you to place directly onto your surface. For extra security you can use a few screws at either end to secure in place. If you want to be able to easily change out your strips without ruining the underside of your cabinets, you can simply pre-make an assembly base with an aluminum or wood strip that your LED lights can be affixed to. These lights can either be hard-wired or plugged into a wall socket.