When light in the kitchen is at a premium, undercabinet lighting makes a huge difference. Seldom does a Madison WI homeowner say “I have too much light on my kitchen counters.” More likely it’s “I hate working in the shadows. Overhead cabinets, shelves and kitchen helpers all cast shadows on the work space. Traditional light fixtures don’t cover all the nooks.
Kitchen lights come in three basic categories: task lighting, accent lights and decorative fixtures.
- Task lighting – fixtures designed to illuminate work space like food prep areas, inside pantries and above islands. Undercabinet lights are important additions to this category.
- Accent lights – highlight specific areas and add depth and dimension to the room. Track lighting and recessed fixtures fit this group.
- Decorative lights – add interest to the kitchen as well as light. Include chandeliers and wall-mounted fixtures in this group.
The correct lights make a kitchen both functional and attractive. Lighting underneath the upper cabinets provides important benefits:
- Better working condition – when working in the kitchen the entire counter space is illuminated. You can “see what you’re doing.” No more shadows.
- Enhance design and ambiance – the entire look of the space changes when lights shine from beneath the cabinets. The room takes on a warmer look and feel.
Evaluate Undercabinet Lighting Options
Choices for lights beneath the cabinets include LED, fluorescent and incandescent sources. In choosing the type right for your kitchen remodel, consider:
- Voltage – there are two options: normal household 120V; and low-voltage 12V or 24V lights. Low voltage allows the use of smaller fixtures so more lights fit into a small space. However a transformer must be used with the system.
- System wiring – many systems link multiple fixtures and the entire system is “just plugged in.” Hard-wired systems can be included in house wiring and operated by a wall switch.
- Can you dim the lights – modern systems allow you to dim the undercabinet lights to control the amount of light on the counters. Dimming reduces glare from bright counters, as well.
- How hot do they get – LED lights and fluorescent bulbs generate the least heat and remain cool to the touch. They are the first options for most home remodeling projects.
- Energy use – LED lights are by far the most energy efficient.
The High-tech Kitchen Lighting Choice
Advances in technology and multiple design styles give an edge to LED lighting. A typical units has an average lifespan of about 50,000 hours – lifetime in a kitchen. The ability to dim, low-profile designs and cool operation make the natural selections.
LED stands for Light Emitting Diodes. The lack of heat is one of the main values of these high-tech lights. In a room where larger appliances generate plenty of heat, lights that don’t are valuable. LED lights are said to be more than 90% more efficient than standard light sources.
There are two typical LED styles: strip lights and individual or “puck” lights. Your design and style dictate which works best. Both are popular. Both are dimmable many have replaceable lenses to change the intensity of the light.
Consider these benefits of LED undercabinet lighting:
- Energy efficient – enhances the kitchen workspace without increasing energy bills.
- Low heat output – they don’t add heat to an already easily warmed room.
- Long lifespan – they outlive competitors by years.
- Installation options – can be hard-wired to your system or installed as a simple plug-in series.
- Dimmable – control intensity and add ambiance as well.
No system is perfect. There are some drawbacks, too:
- The main drawback of an LED system is its initial cost. Although prices are steadily coming down they are a bit higher than other options. However the cost difference is often overshadowed by the system’s energy savings.
Westring Construction LLC specializes in remodeling Madison area homes. No assignment is too large to take from planning through final finishing. Call Westring Construction LLC at 608-441-5435 or email us to discuss the latest undercabinet lighting for your Madison WI kitchen.