Guide on Where to Install Under Cabinet Lighting

Discovering where to install under cabinet lighting might be daunting, especially with countless options to consider. Fortunately, I’ve put together a step-by-step guide that can help transform your kitchen or business environment with a DIY under cabinet lighting installation. This guide offers all the essential information you need to create beautiful, functional illumination in your space. Follow these under cabinet lighting placement ideas to make the most out of your project and achieve your desired ambiance.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Understand various under cabinet lighting placement options
  • Consider cabinet materials, depth, and distance from the counter surface
  • Optimize light output for functional workspaces and an elegant ambiance
  • Choose the right LED strip light for your project
  • Learn the impact of brightness, color temperature, and voltage options
  • Balance functional lighting with aesthetics
  • Discover professional tips for preventing glare and hot spots

The Impact of Under Cabinet Lighting on Your Space

Under cabinet lighting has the power to transform your living or working environment in various ways. From brightening kitchen countertops to creating warm atmospheres and adding a touch of luxury, these lighting solutions significantly enhance the functionality and aesthetic appeal of any space. In this section, we’ll discuss some under cabinet lighting installation tips and the best location for under cabinet lighting to create the most impact.

Brightening Kitchen Countertops

One of the primary benefits of under cabinet lighting is its ability to brighten up kitchen countertops, promoting safer food preparation and increased visibility in work areas. Proper installation ensures that you can clearly see your cutting board, mixer, and other appliances, making your kitchen more efficient and user-friendly.

Creating Inviting Atmospheres

Under cabinet lighting can also help set the mood in a room, producing a cozy and inviting ambiance with warm lighting options. By installing these lights strategically, you can create an atmosphere that reflects your personal style and taste, making your space feel more welcoming and comfortable.

Personalizing Interior Lighting Design

Another advantage of under cabinet lighting is the customization it offers in terms of interior lighting design. With a variety of colors, brightness levels, and light temperatures to choose from, you can easily tailor your under cabinet lighting to align with your preferences and enhance your home or business’s overall aesthetic.

Eliminating Shadows in Dimly-Lit Areas

By installing under cabinet lighting in darker corners and overlooked areas, you can eliminate shadows that may hinder the functionality of your space. This enhanced visibility not only makes your environment more practical but also contributes to a more attractive and modern look.

Adding High-End Appeal to Your Home or Business

Strategic placement of under cabinet lighting can accentuate the high-end elements in your home or business, adding significant value to your overall design style. With the right installation tips and chosen locations, these lighting solutions can bring attention to unique features and create a luxurious atmosphere in your space.

Choosing the Right LED Strip Light for Your Under Cabinet Lighting Project

Optimizing under cabinet lighting requires a thorough understanding of your space, including the design and dimensions of your cabinets and countertops. Selecting the ideal LED strip light involves considering factors such as cabinet materials and depth, countertop surfaces, and the core purpose of the lighting installation. By accurately assessing these factors and determining the appropriate LED type and control method, you can achieve a beautiful and functional under cabinet lighting system.

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under cabinet lighting placement ideas

Assessing Your Cabinets’ Materials and Depth

Before diving into the world of LED strip lights, evaluate your cabinets’ materials and depth, as these factors will influence your lighting choices. Hardwood cabinets, for example, may require different mounting solutions compared to cabinets made from particleboard. Also, consider the cabinet depths and whether they will accommodate the chosen lights without impeding drawer or door operations.

Understanding the Distance from Counter Surfaces

Consider how far the installed lights will be from the counter surfaces. Ideal under cabinet lighting placement ensures that the lights are close enough to deliver sufficient illumination to the workspaces but far enough away to avoid creating glare or unflattering shadows and reflections.

Integrating Color and Surface Finish into Lighting Choices

Surface colors and finishes, such as countertops and backsplashes, can impact the appearance of the lighting. Light-colored surfaces reflect light, whereas darker surfaces absorb light, so the choice of LED strip light should be consistent with the surfaces in your kitchen or workspace.

Defining the Core Purpose of Your Under Cabinet Lighting

Determine whether your under cabinet lighting’s primary purpose is task lighting, atmospheric lighting, or both. This decision will help you choose the best LED type and control options to meet your desired functionality and aesthetic goals.

Contemplating between Static, White Changing, and Dynamic Tunable Outputs

There are various LED strip light options available, ranging from static white to color-changing RGB and dynamic tunable white. Choose an output based on the desired ambiance and practicality for your space, and consider if additional control methods are necessary to adjust the tone and brightness of your under cabinet lights.

Exploring Control Options for Optimal Functionality

Consider the available control options for your chosen LED strip lights. From basic on/off switches to dimmers and smart home integration, different control systems offer varying levels of functionality and convenience. For an optimal experience, select control options that align with your lifestyle and under cabinet lighting goals.

In conclusion, achieving excellent results from a professional under cabinet lighting installation requires careful consideration of various factors. By understanding the unique aspects of your space and incorporating them into your lighting choices, you can create a visually stunning and functional lighting system.

Selecting the Appropriate Brightness Levels

Choosing the right brightness level for your under cabinet lighting can significantly impact the functionality and aesthetics of your space. The brightness levels can be tailored to meet your principal lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting needs. Carefully considering the material of your cabinets and work surfaces can also minimize issues in light absorption and reflection.

Determining Lumen Output for Principal Lighting

Principal lighting serves as the main source of illumination in your space. For general kitchen tasks, it’s best to choose medium to high lumen outputs ranging from 500-1,000 lumens per foot. This ensures that your countertops and workspaces have ample light for efficient food preparation and other tasks.

Balancing Task and Aesthetic Lighting Requirements

Task lighting focuses on illuminating specific areas, while aesthetic lighting enhances the ambiance and visual appeal of your space. For these purposes, a medium lumen output of 200 to 500 lumens per foot is ideal. This level of brightness will provide sufficient light for various tasks and highlight decorative elements without overpowering your overall design.

Setting the Mood with Low Accent Lighting

Accent lighting provides a soft glow that complements other light sources and adds to the overall atmosphere in your space. Lower lumen outputs of 80 to 200 lumens per foot are perfect for creating a cozy and relaxing ambiance. Consider this type of lighting if you want to set a mood while showcasing unique design elements of your kitchen or workspace.

Consistently investing in the right brightness levels for your under cabinet lights can make all the difference in enhancing your space. Keep in mind that your under cabinet lighting installation cost may vary depending on the desired lumen output, but it’s worth it to create an exceptional and functional setup. With these under cabinet lighting installation tips, you’ll be one step closer to achieving the perfect lighting solution for your needs.

Understanding Color Temperature Choices and Their Effects on Space

Color temperature plays a vital role in shaping the ambiance of a room. Measured in kelvins (K), these values help indicate the hue of light emitted by a source. To create a harmonious atmosphere that matches your space’s decor and your personal preferences, it’s essential to choose the right color temperature for your under cabinet lighting.

Understanding Color Temperature Choices

Generally, color temperatures range from warm shades at 3000K to cooler shades at 5000K. Bedrooms and relaxation areas tend to benefit from warmer tones, whereas kitchens and work zones require natural to cool white lighting for better visibility and concentration.

To make an informed decision on color temperature and its effects on space, consider the area’s electrical requirements for under cabinet lighting and the best location for under cabinet lighting that complements the room’s key features.

In addition to warm and cool options, dynamic tunable white LED strip lights offer a versatile solution for adjusting color temperature as needed. Whether you want to create a cozy atmosphere or illuminate your cooking prep areas, tunable lights provide the flexibility to achieve your desired ambiance without hassle.

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A table comparing the various color temperature options and their ideal uses:

Color Temperature (Kelvin) Hue Ideal Application
2700 – 3000K Warm Bedrooms, living rooms, and relaxation areas
3500 – 4000K Natural Kitchens, bathrooms, and work zones
4500 – 5000K Cool Commercial spaces and work areas that require precise color rendering
Dynamic Tunable Adjustable Multi-purpose settings that cater to various activities and preferences

By selecting the most suitable color temperature for your under cabinet lighting, you can enhance your room’s overall design while providing adequate task lighting for your needs.

Deciphering Voltage Options: What’s Best for Your Under Cabinet Setup

When planning a DIY under cabinet lighting installation, it is crucial to consider voltage options and how they affect the performance and setup of your lighting project. The most common voltage choices for LED strip lights are 12V and 24V, with each having its advantages and compatibility with different dimmers and controls. Let’s explore these voltage options and how they can impact your under cabinet lighting.

Comparing 12V, 24V, and 48V LED Strip Lights

The 12V LED strip lights are ideal for small to medium-sized projects, while the 24V strip lights are more suitable for long wiring considerations. There are also 48V strip lights available for high-load projects, although they are less common in residential installations. Keep in mind that each voltage option requires different power supplies and compatible dimmers and controls.

Maximizing Wiring Layout with Voltage Considerations

An essential aspect of your DIY under cabinet lighting installation is the wiring layout. A well-planned wiring layout can minimize voltage drops and maximize efficiency. When working with 24V or 48V LED strip lights, you can cover longer distances without significant voltage drops, allowing more flexibility in the placement of power supplies.

Matching Dimmers and Controls to Voltage Requirements

Each voltage option requires appropriate dimmers and control systems to ensure smooth operation and optimal control over brightness levels. It is essential to match your LED strip lights’ voltage with compatible dimming and control options to avoid issues with the light output. Consult the manufacturer’s recommendations for the best dimmer and control compatibility with your chosen voltage.

In conclusion, the under cabinet lighting installation cost and performance can vary depending on your choice of voltage. By comparing and understanding the implications of different voltage options, you can make an informed decision on what works best for your under cabinet lighting project, saving time and effort in the long run.

Our Top Picks for LED Strip Lights and Easy-to-Install Options

For those who seek top-quality, easy-to-install LED strip lights for DIY under cabinet lighting installation, we’ve carefully analyzed a variety of options and have selected the best performers based on brightness, color temperature, and voltage options. These lights not only make it easy to decide where to install under cabinet lighting but also promise seamless integration into different design aesthetics.

ClickBright Light Bars: A versatile and user-friendly option with easy magnetic mounting and a 15-year warranty.

The ClickBright Light Bars stood out for their magnetic mounting system, simplifying installation for DIY enthusiasts. This feature, combined with the generous 15-year warranty, demonstrates confidence in the product’s longevity and performance. These light bars offer a range of static white output options, catering to various lighting needs and design considerations.

ClickBright Light Bars under cabinet lighting installation

Below is a comprehensive table highlighting different features of our top LED strip light picks:

Product Brightness Color Temperature Options Voltage Installation Method Warranty
ClickBright Light Bars Medium to High 3000K, 4000K, and 5000K 24V Magnetic mounting 15 years
Product B Medium 4000K and 5000K 12V Adhesive backing 5 years
Product C High 3000K and 4000K 24V Screw mounting 10 years

By considering these top LED strip light options, you can achieve a well-lit, elegant, and functional under cabinet lighting setup tailored to your specific needs and preferences.

Optimal Fixture Placement: Maximizing Light Output and Aesthetics

Proper placement of under cabinet lighting fixtures is essential for achieving the perfect balance between functional light output and attractive aesthetics. In this step-by-step guide for installing under cabinet lighting, we’ll discuss the best location for under cabinet lighting fixtures, including puck lights, strip lights, and linear light fixtures.

Strategic Spacing and Mounting for Under Cabinet Puck Lights

Puck lights should be centered within the cabinet area, taking into consideration their beam angles for even light spread. To ensure uniform illumination, measure the distance between each puck light and maintain equal spacing between them. Be cautious of obstructions like cabinet doors and hinges that may interfere with light distribution.

Front Edge Placement for Under Cabinet Strip Lights

Positioning strip lights nearer the cabinet’s front edge is generally the best location for under cabinet lighting, as it helps minimize diode reflection hotspot glare. Mount the strip light on the underside of the cabinet, aiming the LEDs towards the backsplash to enhance lighting coverage and create a more visually appealing lighting effect.

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Lengthwise Configuration for Linear Light Fixtures

Linear light fixtures are ideal for spanning the length of cabinets and evenly dispersing light. Place these fixtures along the front lip of the cabinet, ensuring the light is projected onto the workspace below. This also helps conceal wiring and makes for a cleaner, more streamlined appearance.

Pro-tip: Always avoid placing fixtures too close to the rear wall to prevent light loss and shadows.

In conclusion, remember that the best location for under cabinet lighting fixtures depends on the type of fixture you choose and the desired lighting effect. By carefully planning your fixture placement, you can achieve both functional light output and an attractive lighting design for your kitchen or workspace.

Preventing Glare and Hot Spots: Where to Install Under Cabinet Lighting

Proper under cabinet lighting placement is essential for minimizing glare and hot spots, ensuring an evenly illuminated and visually appealing kitchen workspace. With a few (under cabinet lighting installation tips) and placement ideas, your kitchen can become a functional and elegant space.

For surfaces that reflect, such as glossy countertops, it’s ideal to position lights towards the back of the cabinet while angling towards the backsplash to diffuse glare. It’s also crucial to choose fixtures with diffuser lenses which can address diode hot spots and create even illumination. Let’s look at some effective approaches for preventing glare and hot spots in your kitchen.

  1. Opt for fixtures that conceal diodes and reduce glare: Choose lights with a diffuser lens or cover that hides the individual diodes, ensuring even light distribution and minimizing visible hot spots.
  2. Place lights wisely: Position your lights towards the back of the cabinet and angle them towards the backsplash to diffuse any glare caused by the reflective countertop surface.
  3. Consider adjusting the beam angle: If your under cabinet lighting is adjustable, try altering the beam angle to improve the distribution of light on the countertop.
  4. Use dimmable lights: Install dimmable under cabinet lighting so that you can control the brightness, reducing glare and hot spots when needed.

under cabinet lighting installation tips

In summary, to prevent glare and hot spots in your kitchen workspace, consider the surface materials and choose appropriate fixtures that help diffuse light evenly. By implementing these under cabinet lighting placement ideas, you’ll make your kitchen not only more functional but also visually appealing. Achieving a professional-looking kitchen lighting setup can be easily accomplished by following these installation tips and considering your specific needs and design preferences.

Advanced Lighting Placement Tips for an Evenly Lit Counter Space

Achieving an evenly lit counter space is crucial for both functional and aesthetic purposes. Aspects such as countertop materials, beam angle, and foot-candle levels must be taken into consideration when planning your under cabinet lighting installation. Let’s explore some professional tips on how to create a well-lit and visually appealing kitchen workspace.

Considerations for Reflective Countertop Materials

When installing under cabinet lighting, the countertops’ materials can significantly impact the light distribution. Reflective surfaces like glossy countertops may require alternative fixture placement or light diffusion strategies to minimize glare. One approach is to adjust the position of your lights towards the back of the cabinet, angling them towards the backsplash for adequate light diffusion.

Importance of Beam Angle in Fixture Selection

Beam angle plays a pivotal role in achieving optimal light coverage in your kitchen workspace. Wider angles often require fewer lights since they provide a more extensive light spread. Selecting fixtures with the appropriate beam angle not only enhances the appearance of your countertop area but also ensures maximum light efficiency for your tasks.

Ensuring Adequate Foot-Candle Levels for Task Efficiency

Having the right foot-candle levels, as recommended by industry authorities like the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) and Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), is essential for efficient task performance in kitchen work areas. Ideally, under cabinet lighting should provide around 50 foot-candles. Careful fixture selection and placement should be considered to achieve this standard, ensuring a well-lit and functional kitchen environment.


What factors should I consider when choosing a location for under cabinet lighting?

Important factors include cabinet materials, cabinet depth, the distance from the counter surface, and your desired ambiance. Consider the lighting’s function, whether it’s the primary light source or for enhancement, and choose a position that illuminates workspaces and adds elegance to the kitchen or business environment.

How do I select the right LED strip light for my under cabinet lighting?

Examine your cabinets’ materials and depth as well as the distance from the counter surface. Consider the surface colors and finishes, like backsplashes and counters, and choose between static white, color-changing RGB, or dynamic tunable white LEDs. Ensure the chosen LED aligns with the functional and aesthetic goals of your lighting project.

What are the ideal brightness levels for under cabinet lighting?

Brightness levels depend on the intended purpose of the lighting. Medium to high output (500 – 1,000 lumen/ft.) is suitable for general kitchen tasks as the primary light source. Medium output (200 – 500 lumen/ft.) is ideal for task lighting or highlighting specific areas, while lower output (80-200 lumen/ft.) works perfectly for mood lighting when used with other light sources.

How does color temperature affect under cabinet lighting?

Color temperature impacts the atmosphere of the space. Warmer and cooler shades (from 3000K to 5000K) can be selected to match the decor, other lighting present, and the desired ambiance. Bedrooms and relaxation areas generally favor warmer tones, while kitchens and work zones benefit from natural to cool white lighting.

What voltage options are available for LED strip lights, and which is best for my setup?

Common voltage options are 12V and 24V, with 24V being popular for long wiring considerations. Choose a voltage based on your project’s size and practical constraints, like the placement of power supplies and compatibility with your existing electrical system. Always match the voltage with appropriate dimmers and control systems to ensure optimal performance.

How can I prevent glare and hot spots in my under cabinet lighting installation?

For reflective surfaces like glossy countertops, position lights towards the back of the cabinet and angle them towards the backsplash to diffuse glare. Use fixtures with diffuser lenses to address diode hot spots and aim for even illumination and visually appealing workspaces with minimal reflections or shadows.