I first discuss the need for under-cabinet lighting, and then go on to describe ways to install this needed lighting.
Most kitchens have at least one or two shaded areas where more light would be of great benefit. Because the distance from the bottom of the cabinets to the counter top is less than 2 feet in most cases, you do not need lash a beacon under the cabinets. Generally a lower watt decorative fixture is what is required.
In some cases, you may simply choose an inexpensive single tube fluorescent fixture that can be plugged into a nearby receptacle. While these are cheap and install in minutes, you will lose some of your aesthetics if you choose this route. In an older home that is ready for a major kitchen upgrade, this type of fixture is a good choice for temporary lighting until the remodelling starts. To do this one, just buy the fixture at a local discount store, screw it into place, and plug it into the outlet. Turn on the switch, and the job is complete.
Now, for what most people think about when they desire some nice quality under-cabinet light. Since you want enough light to make a difference, steer away from rope lights or lights in tubes. These are great for accent lights above cabinets or in hidden recesses where the objective is ambience and not improved visibility.
For a modern or up-to-date look, small halogen fixtures are probably the best choice. Since you are retro-fitting the lighting, it is nearly impossible to hide the lighting the way it would be done in a new cabinet installation. You have to live with what you have installed already. Unless you are prepared to concede some of your interior cabinet space, you can write off recessed lighting.
This leaves you with two choices. You can buy some small fixtures designed to mount onto the wall surface. These may have adjustable focus points in the better models. The problem is that you may not have room between the upper and lower cabinets to install a fixture on the wall and still get enough light coverage on your counter top.
The second choice is to install the fixtures as a surface mount on the underside of the bottom of the upper cabinets. The good news at this point is that most kitchens are built with extra electric outlets around the back splash. This means you should not have problems finding an easy electric source near where you will be doing the installation. With a shorter wire run, it will make it easier to hide your wiring work to make the job look professional.
Published in: Home Improvement