Under-shelf and in-cabinet lighting

Under cabinet lighting  
Under shelf task lighting, when it's done properly, is as practical as it is attractive.

Fishing around for pots and pans buried in cupboards can be quite difficut when there's not enough light in a cabinet - particularly if you've got half of your body in the doorway creating a shadow. Localised lights in cabinets will help solve the problem. Likewise, under-cabinet task lighting can do wonders to improve both the look of your kitchen, and how effectively you're able to work on available bench space. This is particularly the case in smaller kitchens where it mightn't be as easy to cast light from the ceiling to exactly where it's most needed.


Types of under-cabinet lighting


There are three main types of under-cabinet lighting available: halogen incandescent, fluorescent, or LED. The type of lamp dictates style and performance of the lighting, controlling things like the amount of light emitted, the colour temperature of the light, the lifespan of the globe, the angular width of the beam and how much energy it uses.

Halogen lamps are the lamps that are used in ceiling mounted downlight fittings. Halogen bulbs are typically encased in 20w G4 lamps and operate at 12v. These are relatively inexpensive and easy to replace. The downside, however, is that they have the shortest lifespan, use far more energy than other types of lights, produce a very significant amount of heat and in many cases they also require a separate transformer assembly which will need to be housed somewhere in your cabinetry. These types of lights produce a warm, directional light.

Fluorescent lamps offer bright light, switch on instantly and don't flicker. These have a reasonably long life, are available as a type of downlight and are quite energy efficient, however some are larger in size and more difficult to install in cabinets.

LED lights can last longer than 10 years, and don't burn out like other lights might. These also use a fraction of the energy used by other types of lights, and are sold both in downlight format and as strips for use under cabinets. LEDs also generate a significant amount of heat, and don't perform as well in higher temperatures.


Common in-cabinet lighting styles

Puck lights - These are typically round or oval in shape and are good for cabinet and display lighting. They create spots, pools of lighting or even illumination across the counter top.

Linear lights or strip lights may be presented as a light strip or as a linear fixture or light bar. Linear fixtures sometimes resemble small puck lights on one mounting strip.