Architectural Home Designs & Decorating Ideas

Install Under Cabinet LED Lighting to Illuminate Your Kitchen

Gabriela Connell
7 minute read

Is your kitchen always shrouded in shadows and darkness? Installing quality under cabinet lighting can transform those dark undersides into illuminated workspaces that brighten and modernize your entire food prep area. Read on to discover the benefits of LED under cabinet lighting and how easy it is to DIY install for your kitchen.

With the popularity of open concept homes, kitchens today serve as multi-functional spaces for cooking, entertaining, socializing, and more. Having ample and flexible lighting options is key to enhancing your kitchen’s appearance and functionality.

Why LED Under Cabinet Lighting is a Smart Choice for Kitchens

Under cabinet lighting offers many advantages compared to traditional overhead ceiling fixtures alone. Strategically placed under cabinet LED strip lights or puck lights provide task lighting directly where you need it most – over countertops and workstations.

under the cabinet lights for kitchen

LED lights consume up to 80% less energy and last much longer than outdated incandescent bulbs. Under cabinet LEDs operate efficiently off either batteries or low voltage wiring. Their space-saving discreet design tucks up out of sight under cabinets to provide both form and function.

Overview of Under Cabinet Lighting Benefits

Types of Under Cabinet Lights for Kitchens

LED Strip Lights

LED strip lighting is a popular under cabinet lighting choice thanks to its sleek, unobtrusive design. Strips of tiny LEDs are encased inside durable plastic housings that mount up out of view under cabinet overhangs.

LED strip lights provide diffuse, uniform lighting that works well for general illumination along the full length of the underside of wall cabinets or kitchen islands. Many LED strip kits include self-adhesive backing for easy peel and stick installation. Flexible strip lighting can be bent and cut to the exact size needed.

LED Puck Lights

For more focused task lighting, LED puck lights aim light directly downward. The small round LED puck lights create a spotlight effect perfect for illuminating specific zones like above sinks, stoves and other workstations.

Puck lights feature a low profile design and sturdy metal aluminum housing to withstand kitchen heat and moisture. The lights affix under cabinets with built-in magnets or mounting clips. Puck lights add high-powered illumination precisely where you need it and often include adjustable heads to aim the light.

Fluorescent Under Cabinet Lights

While less energy efficient and advanced than LED under cabinet lights, fluorescent is an affordable alternative option. Fluorescent under cabinet lighting comes in sleek full-length strip tubes or shorter modular strips with end connectors.

Fluorescent under cabinet lighting requires a ballast transformer component and provides diffused ambient lighting similar to LED strip kits. However, fluorescent tubes have a shorter lifespan and use more electricity than durable, eco-friendly LEDs.

Lighting Effects to Enhance Your Kitchen

Task Lighting

Focused and bright under cabinet task lighting illuminates essential kitchen work zones. Placing LED strips or puck lights under wall cabinets above countertops provides ample light for food prep tasks, reading recipes, and cooking safely. Under cabinet LEDs also direct helpful downlight over sinks, stoves, and other appliances.

Accent Lighting

Accent your kitchen’s best features with strategically placed under cabinet lights. Use puck lights to create a spotlight effect on prized ceramic tile backsplashes, glass door cabinets to show off china displays, or illuminate a decorative plate rail.

LED strips behind toe kicks or under floating open shelves provide unique accent uplighting. Under cabinet lighting allows you to highlight your kitchen’s special touches with an artistic lighting flair.

Ambient Lighting

While under cabinet lighting excels at providing task and accent illumination, it also contributes to overall general lighting needs. The combination of LED strip lighting and puck lights under both upper and lower level cabinets provides ambient lighting to brighten the entire kitchen.

For smaller kitchens, under cabinet lighting alone can sufficiently light the full space. Supplement with recessed ceiling lights as needed. The right mix creates a well-lit kitchen suited for any activity.

Installation of Under Cabinet Lighting

Hardwired vs. Battery-Powered

Hardwired under cabinet lights require professional installation and involve connecting lights to existing electrical wiring. This provides continuous lighting without having to recharge batteries.

Battery-operated LED puck lights and LED strip kits use adhesive backing or magnets for simple do-it-yourself installation under cabinets. Battery powered lights offer wireless convenience but must be recharged when power runs low.

Mounting Considerations

Proper under cabinet light placement enhances functionality and appearance. Install lights back far enough to clear cabinet doors and drawers but close enough to the cabinet front to best illuminate counters.

Space LED strip lighting evenly for consistent coverage across the underside. Place puck lights strategically in zones that need focused task lighting. Also allow for access to switches, plugs and battery compartments.

Steps for Installing Under Cabinet Lights

  1. Determine the best mounting locations for full and focused illumination of key kitchen work zones.
  2. Clean and properly prepare the mounting surface area under your cabinetry.
  3. Peel backing tape and press adhesive LED strips into place or use mounting hardware provided for LED puck lights.
  4. Connect any necessary wiring or insert batteries into battery-powered lights.
  5. Turn lights on and test for adequate coverage. Enjoy your bright and stylish new under cabinet lighting!

Smart Features for Under Cabinet Lighting

Voice Control Compatibility

Today’s under cabinet lighting options go beyond basic on/off functionality. Smart LED puck lights and LED strip kits compatible with home automation systems can be voice controlled. Use voice commands to turn lights on or off, dim, change color temperature, and more.

Top brands like Philips Hue, Cree, and Commercial Electric make under cabinet lighting that responds to popular smart assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit.

Smartphone App Integration

In addition to voice control, many smart LED under cabinet lights work with manufacturer apps you can download to your smartphone. Use the app to conveniently control lighting right from your phone instead of getting up to hit a switch.

App features allow setting schedules, timers, brightness levels, and activating fancy lighting effects. Sync under cabinet lighting with the rest of your connected smart home ecosystem for unlimited customization.

Dimming Capabilities

Look for dimmable under cabinet lights that allow adjusting from bright, focused task lighting to softer nighttime ambient lighting. The ability to dim LED strip lights and puck lights creates just the right light level for cooking, entertaining or setting a relaxing evening mood.

Top Brands for Quality Under Cabinet Lights

Choosing under cabinet lighting from a leading brand ensures exceptional performance and longevity. We recommend these top manufacturers of LED under cabinet lighting products:

With the right under cabinet lighting placement and brightness, you can completely transform the look, functionality and ambience of your kitchen. The impact is immediate but the benefits will enhance your cooking and entertaining for years to come.

Benefits of Ambient and Task Lighting

Kitchens require a delicate balance of well-dispersed ambient lighting and targeted task lighting. Under cabinet LED lighting delivers both:

Energy & Cost Savings

By choosing energy efficient LED under cabinet lighting you’ll enjoy these savings:

Improved Functionality

The right under cabinet lighting improves how you use your kitchen in these helpful ways:

Simple Do-It-Yourself Installation

With easy peel-and-stick adhesive backing, installing battery-operated LED strip lights and puck lights is a DIY project anyone can tackle in about an hour.

Compared to a major kitchen renovation, under cabinet lighting is an easy upgrade that creates dramatic improvements in your kitchen’s appearance for very little cost.

Under cabinet lighting can make a big difference in your kitchen’s appearance, functionality, and safety. Investing in LED under cabinet lighting is an easy DIY upgrade that will illuminate your kitchen for years to come.