Layering is not just for clothes & decor.
Layering your lighting will produce beautiful results in your home.
This is especially true in the kitchen, where layered light sources make it not only look better, but function better too.
Layers of Light in a Kitchen
- overhead (can lights/high hats)
- focal (chandelier, pendant)
- table lamp
- under counter
Under Counter Lighting
Today I am talking about under counter lights as I am in the market for some for my soon to be kitchen.
I have done a LOT of research on this form of lighting. I am sharing so you don’t have to. Read, bookmark and pin this guide for when you are in the market too.
Since I don’t have a kitchen to photograph, I am treating you to some of the kitchens I have looked to for inspiration.
There are two basic types of under counter lights:
- Linear – a long stretch of lights housed in a slim casing producing a length of consistent light
- Puck – disc shaped individual lights producing pops of light
When choosing under counter lights you need to weigh not only whether to use linear or puck but also these 4 considerations:
- Light source
Let’s delve into each consideration.
By this I mean the kind of light, not where you got your light. For under counter lights there are 3 types of light sources. These are:
Incandescent & Halogen bulbs burn too hot to be safe for under counter lights which are generality mounted right on the bottom of cabinets.
Fluorescent light these days is a reliable, efficient and evenly distributed source of bright white light. Not dim-able. (out of the running for me!)
LED light ( light emitting diodes ) is highly efficient, long lasting often harsh white light. Dim-able with a compatible dimmer.
Xenon light is made like an incandescent bulb, except that it has Xenon, a gas, inside the bulb instead of being devoid of air like a traditional bulb. Less efficient then fluorescent & LED. Fully dim-able. I had never heard of Xenon bulbs before – had you?
Installation options for under counter lights are battery, plug in or hardwired.
If your set up & budget allows go for hardwire. It will be a much better look and can be controlled with a switch.
Under counter lights do not have to be recess mounted. They are so slim in most cases that you would have to get under & crane your neck to see them.
If you really want to hide the casing, an inch or two of decorative molding at the base of your cabinets will more than hide it. A molding such as this can even be added to the bottom shelf of an open shelf kitchen. This is my plan for the open shelving on either side of my sink.
Ok, this is where it gets interesting so stick with me, your color consideration is not only the color the bulb emits, but the color it makes everything else in the room.
The measure of that color is called the Color Rendering Index. I told you I did a LOT of research!!
As Fluorescent, LED & Xenon emit different colors they also render colors differently.
Fluorescents give off a cool to neutral white light and on the Color Rendering Index score about an 80 in accurately rendering colors.
LED give off a cool to warm white light and can have covers to alter the emitted color. On the Color Rendering Index they score 80 – 90 in accurately rendering color.
Xenon give off a warm to neutral light and score a perfect 100 on the Color Rendering Index. This means Xenon bulbs render the color perfectly every time. So the paint color you painstakingly chose for your kitchen will look exactly right with Xenon lights.
LED lights are the most expensive, but with the energy savings over time these make sense.
Fluorescent & Xenon are affordable, but do not have the level of efficiency or long lasting capabilities.
My choice after all my research is the bulb I had never even heard of before wins! I will be installing linear Xenon under counter lighting in my kitchen.
Xenon had me at warm light, fully dim-able.
Stay tuned to see the under counter lights installed and in action.
** Kelly **