One of the most useful trends in kitchens is under-cabinet lighting. It will quickly and easily illuminate countertops. Best of all, under-cabinet lights come in a variety of options, so they easily meld with the rest of the kitchen lighting. You can choose slim, energy-efficient fluorescents, miniature track lights or low-voltage linear systems.
The experts at the American Lighting Association, a trade industry group, offer tips on how to make the most of this beautiful, helpful lighting.
- Think about reflection when you’re lighting countertops of marble or granite. Discuss with your lighting expert which lighting options will cause the least reflection.
- Place under-cabinet fixtures at the front of your cabinets, not against the wall. This will distribute the light evenly over the area below.
- Consider putting your under-cabinet lighting on a dimmer switch, separate from the kitchen’s other lighting. Not only will this save energy, but different levels of light can add depth and dramatic impact to your space.
The ALA has other kitchen lighting tips, too.
- In a small kitchen, you may only need a central ceiling fixture and under-cabinet task lighting. Larger kitchens work best with a blend of general, task and accent lighting.
- For island counters or breakfast bars, consider adding a group of miniature pendants. Install one pendant for every 2 feet of counter space. Try to use an odd number of pendants, which creates a better balance.
- You can also add a pendant fixture over your kitchen table. If your table is round, the fixture should be 12 inches narrower than the diameter of the table. For square or rectangular tables, choose a fixture that’s 12 inches narrower than the smallest side.
- Over your kitchen sink, consider recessed downlights. They give you even illumination, and are great task lights for cleaning your dishes.