Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Cabinet lighting brightens up kitchen workspace

by Karl Fendelander
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

A dark kitchen isn't just depressing; it can also be a recipe for disaster. Without proper lighting on your food prep area, you could chop your finger instead of your fingerling potato or filet your hand along with the fish. Even if you've got a sizable ceiling light, the simple fact is that the light doesn't illuminate your workspace as much as your body casts a shadow on it. A kitchen might seem nicely and appropriately lit up until you have to work in it. Two solutions are in- and under-cabinet lighting, both of which throw light from different angles, brightening things up and letting you get a better look at the tasks at hand.

Types of cabinet lighting

Placement is key when it comes to lighting:

  • Under-cabinet lights are great for lighting up countertops and providing mood lighting.
  • In-cabinet lights are usually used with open or glass-front cabinets to add ambient light, but deep, dark cabinets can benefit, too.

Take a stroll around your kitchen looking for dark spots, factoring in daylight and ceiling light blockage. This helps you gauge how much light you need and where. Do you want even lighting throughout or spotlights? Do your cabinets have room underneath to conceal unsightly fixtures or should you opt for something more stylized? Once you've got the basic idea of how much illumination you'd like and where the lights might go, it's time to think about different types of lights.

  • Incandescent lighting is on its way out in most homes due to high power consumption and short bulb lifespan, but many still prefer the warm glow of a filament, which has made stylized, antique-looking bulbs hot accent items. But keep in mind that roughly 90 percent of the energy incandescent bulbs consume is lost to heat, making these a poor choice for anywhere you might brush up against.
  • Fluorescent lights have progressed by leaps and bounds, making the flickering, buzzing, headache-triggering tubes of yesteryear look like dinosaurs. Today's fluorescent and compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs come in a variety of tones and shapes, allowing you to use them for both linear lighting (tubes producing even light) or spot lighting. You'll need sufficient space to hide all but the most advanced fixtures.
  • LED lighting is a bit more expensive than other options, but it's the smallest, most versatile, longest lasting and most energy efficient of all lighting options. You can find LEDs to suit almost every lighting need.

While retrofitting your kitchen with these lights isn't necessarily a major project, having these lights installed by a professional contractor when you reface your cabinets can be a good idea. Choose someone who is experienced with handling electrical wiring. One of the local bonded, licensed and insured* contractors found through this site can integrate these cabinet lighting solutions for you.

*See terms and conditions at: http://www.streetcertified.com/about/Terms.jsp

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