Scenario: Brand new kitchen.
You chose the most beautiful counter top or island surface with lots of color and drama. You spent more on it than you spent on your first car. It is a dream.
So of course it would be a crying shame, if you could only fully enjoy the beautiful colors and feel of the exquisite materials during the daytime.
So, now the question is: How to light your kitchen surfaces.
For the work areas undercabinet lighting is a great way to light the counters. Pendant lights over the island add the light that is needed for food prep and meals.
Pendants add a atmosphere in comparison to using just recessed lights, and in rooms with high ceilings they bring the light down to a level where it is needed as task lighting.
Please note: You can find all the fixtures you need at Form + Function.
If you are using good old Edison bulbs in the fixtures over your counter they have a warm tone of light (2700K, as in Kelvin, to be nerdy) that works well with warm colors. This type of light and this color temperature (the 2700K) is what we are all really familiar with. It has a warm tone, makes its surroundings look cozy, inviting, just like candlelight.
Incandescent lighting might, however, not quite have the punch to bring out the colors and pizzazz in your materials.
Halogen provides excellent task lighting and really brings out the sparkle in granite and many other unique stone surfaces. The clean, white light offers illumination that just can’t be beat by incandescent or fluorescent lamps.
The drawback of halogen under cabinet lighting is the heat it produces. It might actually make the surfaces warm to the touch, not ideal for cooking and entertaining on a hot summer day and therefore most likely will increase the cooling cost.
Fluorescent under cabinet lights have a bad rep.
Most of us still remember the cheap garage lights that flickered and hummed, and made us look sickly.
If you haven’t changed out your fluorescent lights since those old days you are in for a surprise.
Recent advances in the technology of fluorescent lights have made this an excellent option.
The color temperature ranges have improved and so has the CRI (Color rendering index), which measures the the ability of a light source to reproduce colors.
What I like about fluorescent lighting is the even distribution of the light without hot spots. They don’t give off much heat and are energy-efficient.
I am, however, worried about the recycling aspect and the mercury they contain.
Fluorescent under cabinet lights can generally not be dimmed. I don’t see this as a huge turn-off. I’d just get the wattage needed for the workspace based on the distance from the bottom of the cabinet to the work surface and not worry about using them as mood lights. But that’s just me.
Xenon lights are very similar to halogen lights. They do not give off quite as much heat as halogen but on the other hand they don’t provide quite as bright a light.
Xenon is a a good choice if you are not after the extra sparkle that halogen produces and don’t want the heat produced by halogen..
Another advantage is its longer lifespan. The average Xenon bulbs last 2-1/2 times longer than their halogen counterparts.
One last selling point for Xenon: Xenon bulbs do not require that special handling you are asked to use when you deal with halogen bulbs. It is sometimes tough enough to exchange those tiny bulbs. Now holding onto them with a tissue while contorting yourself under the cabinet light adds to the excitement. We have seen grown men cry!
Xenon bulbs are not this sensitive. You can eliminate that one obstacle from the procedure and just hold them with your bare hands. Yeah.
But, then there’s the sparkle…… Guess, you can’t have it all.
Cool, long lasting, super energy efficient. What is there not to love about LED?
When LED lighting was first introduced into the residential market cove and under cabinet lighting were some of the first applications it was used for.
Well, LED was obviously not where it is now, and the light output was not quite strong enough for other uses in the home. This has of course changed a lot just over the last few years.
LED has so much to offer. The main advantage is the incredible savings in energy and the long life of LED.
Unfortunately many manufacturers jumped on the LED bandwagon without going all the way with their design. A lot of inferior products have hit the market and we now see a lot of LED under cabinet lights with horrible color reproduction, hot spots where you see the reflection of the individual diodes on you counter top, multiple surface shadows, you name it.
But, there are also excellent choices out there like the Tech Lighting Illume. They are expensive, but worth every penny in the long run.
lease note: You can find all the fixtures you need at Form + Function.