Installing Under-Cabinet Lighting Can Be a Bright Idea

Stacey Marcus
Written by Stacey Marcus
Updated January 10, 2022
Modern kitchen with under cabinet lighting
Photo: Sonyachny / Adobe Stock

A bright and smart way to light your home

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Looking to shine more light when you’re prepping food or reading a recipe in the kitchen? Under-cabinet lighting is an easy and energy-efficient way to provide light for food prep, counter cleaning, and other kitchen tasks. You can also use it in your laundry room or home office to amp up the ambiance!

But before you click “add to cart” and start installing, there are a few things to consider.

The Benefits of Under-Cabinet Lighting

“Under-cabinet lighting is a form of task lighting that you attach below your upper cabinets to improve work conditions for better food prep and counter cleaning,” says Lucy Dearborn of Lucia Lighting and Design. She notes the now-popular lighting has been around since the 1970s and has since expanded beyond the kitchen.

Key benefits of under-cabinet lighting include:

  • Increases quality of light

  • Improves work conditions

  • Doesn’t cast shadows

  • Energy-efficient

  • Easy to install

  • Creates an inviting ambiance

  • Increases value of your home

Under-Cabinet Lighting Cost

If you are looking to install under-cabinet lighting in your kitchen or another area in your home you can expect to pay between $200 to $300 per light, according to HomeAdvisor. Factors that will influence the ultimate cost include the length of the cabinets, the number of fixtures, and desired brightness.

Why LED Under-Cabinet Lighting Shines the Brightest

Back in the 1970s, under-cabinet lighting used fluorescent light fixtures. But innovations in Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology have moved it to be the leader in illuminating under cabinet lighting. The slow-burning bulbs don’t give off excess heat, are energy-efficient, and come in a myriad of options and types you can get from them.

Additional Spaces to Install Under-Cabinet Lighting

Kitchen with lights under the cabinets
Photo: Cees / Adobe Stock

While under-cabinet lighting is primarily used in the kitchen, it is also a great solution for other areas in your home.

Bathroom

Under-cabinet lights are a bright idea in the bathroom to improve the quality of light under a mirror or use as a nightlight.

Laundry Room

If your laundry room is equipped with cabinets, installing under-cabinet lighting over a workstation is a great way to help see stains and make sure your socks match.

Home Office

Install a few under-cabinet lights under your work area and you can improve the lighting while helping your tired eyes.

Types of Under-Cabinet Lighting

There are three types of under cabinet light categories on the market.

Puck Lights

Puck lights are battery-powered lights that resemble hockey pucks. You can easily attach them with a sticky film and they’re best for small spaces.

Linear Lights

Linear lights can be a single long bulb or a strip of tiny bulbs in a long casing. Examples are rope lights that can be used for long spaces and tape strips that are ideal for oddly-shaped spaces. 

Integrated Lights

Integrated lights are built right into your cabinets. The seamless system is typically installed in the design process and requires hiring a local lighting professional.

DIY vs. Hire a Lighting Professional

While everything you need to install under cabinet light installation can be purchased at a local store, you need electrical experience to wire properly. You may also need a permit to install lighting in your community. If you are upgrading your kitchen and installing under-cabinet lighting, you should hire a professional. 

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