Home / Style Guide / Learn About Cabinet / Accent Lighting / Cabinet / Accent Lighting Guide / How to Light The "How To" Lighting Guide Specialty Lighting Guide To determine how best to integrate lighting systems throughout your home, first take an inventory of high-use, common and even unique areas. Review each space from floor to ceiling, and every shelf, counter and alcove in between. Now, prioritize each space to determine which of the many areas should truly be lit. To help your thought process, itemized below are some of the most frequent uses of lighting systems, including the best lighting choice for each scenario, and alternate lighting choice, and the pros and cons for each. Under cabinets: How should I light what I want to light? Specialty Lighting Guide Best Choice The best choice for under cabinet lighting is our LED under-cabinet fixtures. LEDs are super efficient light sources that provide low operating costs, minimal heat and long lamp life. Furthermore, LED fixtures have tremendous light output and quality to match which is valuable in task-oriented counter spaces. These fixtures are designed to be direct-wired so no power chord is visible and your outlets remain available for other small appliances. An alternative to LEDs are Xenon under cabinet fixtures. These provide light output and quality that are nearly equivalent to our LED fixtures, but at a lower upfront cost. However, since they are not as efficient as LEDs, the long-term cost to operate the Xenon fixture is greater. Additionally, Xenon fixtures produce a great deal of heat and the bulbs do not last as long as their LED counterparts. Alternate Choices An alternate solution for under-cabinet lighting is LED tape lighting. It has the advantage of being an efficient LED light source that is ultra-thin and flexible . The sleek profile of tape light allows for mounting in almost any location and its efficiency allows for long runs. The drawback to LED tape lighting systems is the lower lumen outputs than the LED fixtures, but they provide more than adequate task light. Another option would be to consider step lights near counter areas. These small, compact lights produce adequate light for small tasks, but are also dimmable to double as a functional night light for the kitchen. Regardless of which system is selected for under-cabinet lighting, be sure to keep the following in mind: When choosing a fixture, the length should be proportionate with the size of the cabinet, filling the full length of the cabinet with light, while allowing space for accessories and attachments. By installing units under each cabinet section you create an appealing, even flow of light across the counter while also achieving consistent task illumination. Over cabinets: How do I choose the right light? Specialty Lighting Guide Best Choice Tape lighting is the best choice for over-cabinet illuminations. In this application, the effect of the light is more important than the lumen output, so equal spacing should be a priority in order to provide the most even flow of light. Many tape lighting systems offer the ability to add directional reflector (spot) accent lights. This lamp type is valuable when attempting to draw attention to artistic or collectable elements positioned in the space over the cabinet. Running a separate system is not required. Alternate Choices A direct wire or modular lighting system will work for over-cabinet lighting. Depending on the user and application, it might actually be preferred. You will generally get more light from an enclosed fixture and it will likely be easier to keep clean in these dust-prone areas. If this type fixture is included, it is important to link them end-to-end to avoid black spots or light voids. It is likely that this lighting solution will be more expensive than linear. Inside cabinets / inside drawers: How do I choose the right light? Specialty Lighting Guide Best Choice Lighting the inside of drawers can only be achieved with tape lighting. The low profile of our LED Tape Light is a perfect fit for the small space available inside a drawer. Discuss this option carefully with the cabinetmaker to determine if he or she has experience lighting and wiring these interiors. Under counters: How do I choose the right light? Specialty Lighting Guide Best Choice Given the minimal amount of space between the underside of a counter’s edge and the drawers/cabinets, tape lighting is truly the only option that’s sleek enough to fit. When planning the installation of lighting here, it may help to have a conversation with the counter manufacturer who might be able to make some accommodations for you. Additions like routered undersides, extended edges, added skirts and raceways may allow more space for better concealment of the tape light and wire. Toekick: How do I choose the right light? Specialty Lighting Guide Best Choice Due to the tight space and minimal clearance, Tape lighting is the suitable option for Toekicks. Since the light source is reasonably close to the reflective surface (the floor) you can expect to see light patterns and beams here more so than in most other applications. However, you can soften the impact of these patterns by selecting a wattage and lumen output that is reasonably low. Since this type of lighting is more of an accent than a functional light source, the low wattage/lumen tape light will help to achieve the desired effect Coves and tray ceilings: How should I light what I want to light? Specialty Lighting Guide Best ChoiceTape lighting is the best option available to illuminate coves or tray ceilings. Because of their tight spaces and limited access, small flexible lighting systems must be employed. The key to effective cove and tray lighting is consistent and even light. Lamping should be spaced equidistantly, unless an array effect is the goal. Higher wattages will tend to distribute a spotty result. In general, lower wattages do a nice job of illuminating these areas. Steps and Hallways: How do I choose the right light? Specialty Lighting Guide Best Choice To create a unique effect while adding an element of safety, step lights are ideal for stairways and hallways. Newly designed fixtures, featuring a screwless faceplate, provide a clean design to add both the form and function to these high-traffic areas. Other places: How do I choose the right light? Specialty Lighting Guide Best Choice There are a number of locations where light can generate excitement and interest. For instance, nurseries, guest rooms and bathrooms are ideal places to consider step lights since these sleek fixtures can serve as a long-lasting, dimmable source of light for those who get up during the night. So, if you can think of a place, it is likely that light can be added. Think about walk-in closets, bedrooms, pantries and garages. If there is an idea, consult with a lighting professional, and ask if they can help. It is likely they will find a way to light almost anything.