While a sleek pendant or stunning chandelier is considered the star of kitchen lighting design, the picture isn’t complete without well-placed under-cabinet kitchen lighting. Although essential to kitchen functionality, task lighting is often overlooked in the design.
Modern kitchens see a lot of action – entertaining, casual dining, homework, and more. But at their core, these are rooms that require lighting in specific areas so that tasks can be performed safely.
Under-cabinet lights are generally not the main lighting in the kitchen; they are accent lights or task lighting that can be strategically placed where needed. Types of under cabinet lighting include:
- Light bars
- Puck lights
- Lighting strips
- Tape lights
Under-cabinet lighting can improve the aesthetics of a kitchen by highlighting a gorgeous backsplash while illuminating the workspace. Additional areas of light make a kitchen seem larger, and when put on a dimmer, under cabinet lighting adds to the room’s ambiance. This lighting also provides a comforting glow that saves you from stubbing your toes and bumping into things on your way to a midnight snack.
Light Bars for Smooth, Even Illumination
The linear configuration of light bars illuminates counters and open shelving areas, emphasizing decorative pieces and providing task lighting where needed. They cast even light along the length of the bar, offering smooth, uniform light distribution.
Three Monza 24 Inch LED Large Pendants by Kuzco Lighting over the island add flair to this beautiful kitchen design. Bar lights bring attention to the objects on the open shelving area, balancing the kitchen’s overall look.
Creating a pyramid of soft light, a pair of Maxim Lighting Giza 11 Inch Mini Pendants throw ambient lighting throughout the kitchen, setting the scene for family gatherings and friendly get-togethers. Light bars under the cabinets shed task light onto the counter, keeping the workspace functional.
Uniquely contemporary lighting, Tech Lighting Sean Lavin Joni 17 Inch LED Large Pendant adds visual interest and drama with its two-tone finish of matte black shade and matte white inner reflector. It makes a subtle contemporary statement that supports any style. Under the cabinet bar lights wash the walls in a warm glow, showing off their elegant simplicity.
Puck Lights for Directed Light Exactly Where You Want It
Called puck lights because they are round like hockey pucks, these lights are mounted under cabinets or inside cupboards to show off unique features. In this kitchen, WAC Lighting LED Puck Lights provide focused light on task areas beneath the cabinets and bring out the architectural features of the cabinets as they glow through the glass panes above. Getting the spacing right is vital when installing puck lights. A general rule is one light for every 8-12 inches of cabinet space to create even light along the surface below.
Lighting Strips to Elevate Kitchen Design
Lighting strips can shed light on out-of-the-way nooks in the kitchen, chasing away shadows cast by upper cabinets. The proper placement is essential, so consider placing Undercabinet and Task 8 Inch LED Lighting Strip by WAC Lighting above cooking areas or even under counters to elevate the design of the kitchen, as seen in the image above. The Elan Lighting Ciri 14 Inch LED Large Pendant offers a modern take on a classic cage-pendant, contributing to the air of sophistication that permeates this room’s aesthetic.
The open cage style of Abbotswell 30 Inch Cage Pendant by Kichler Lighting makes maximum impact with minimal lines. Intersecting pentagons form a shape that works with numerous design styles, from updated traditional, transitional, to modern farmhouse. Under-counter lighting emphasizes the pop of green that makes the design stand out.
Tape Lights for Streamlined Lighting
In a simple, minimalist space, Invisiled 480 Inch LED Tape Light by WAC Lighting is the perfect option. They offer warm, white light that lets the textures and features of the room shine in the background. Streamlined cabinets and surfaces are highlighted with under-cabinet tape lights, while pot lights provide the primary lighting source illuminating the kitchen.
Putting It All Together
In a large space with numerous zones, different types of under cabinet kitchen lighting can work together to brighten the space and place attention on each while maintaining a cohesive look.
A pair of Capital Lighting Fixture Company 8 Inch Mini Pendants serve as a focal point over the island, while tape lights emphasize the shelving display, and light bars provide task lighting.
A pair of Aerin Cristol 28 Inch 10 Light Chandeliers by Visual Comfort and Co. take center stage in the gleaming white kitchen, with under-the-counter task lighting over the workspace.
Definite show-stoppers, all eyes are on these Haskell 34 Inch 8 Light Chandeliers by Arteriors Home. Under-cabinet lighting offers the perfect backdrop, bringing the design together as a unified whole.