I'm about to start making the upper cabinets of a kitchen project and
I was wondering if it would be a good idea to add a couple of extra
inches to the length of the cabinet and face frame to accommodate
under cabinet lighting? All suggestions welcome.
Absolutely! Just added undercabinet lighting to our house 3 months ago.
Luckly the low profile lighting fit within the cabinet lip so the wiring
does not show. Makes a huge difference, functionally and aesthetically. Go
What type of lighting did you install?
It the past, I've tried the halogen 'hockey pucks' and felt they put off too
much heat. I've tried Xenon 'hockey pucks' and 'light rope' and was
We had GE Premium No hum fluorescent lights installed with our new kitchen
cabinets installed last week. 2 13" under the cabinets and a 24" over the
sink. This setup provides accent lighting but it isn't enough for task
lighting. The Corian counter top and the Corian on the wall under the
cabinets has a light grey background. The Corian does not produce any
glare. Just the opposite. The light grey seem to absorb the light.
We are still struggling to find a way to improve the task lighting. Any
thoughts or suggestions from you or the group would be appreciated.
Couple of suggestions --
1) replace the "warm white" bulbs with cool white ones, or 'daylight white'
if you can find 'em. They are somewhat higher output, than the warm
white ones. In addition, the human eye is more sensitive to the 'bluer'
colors, vs the 'reddish' ones.
2) if you look hard, you can find under-cabinet fixtures with two
_parallel_ bulbs. Not surprisingly, these put out significantly
more light than single-row fixtures.
Carefully rubber-cementing a sheet of tin-foil (shiny side towards the
bulbs :) to the inside of the fixture will increase the apparent light
output. (a piece of mirror is the 'ultimate' for this, but it's usually
only a few percentage points better than any kind of 'bright polished'
metal. And tin-foil runs away with the 'budget' honors in that class )
If the fixture is truly 'out of sight', simply _leave_off_ the plastic
'diffuser' that covers the bulbs.
Also, a coat of _bright_white_ paint on the bottom of the cabinetry will
make a surprising difference.
A secret for getting a durable 'bright' white -- add just at pinch of
_black_ tint to it. With the typical custom-tinting systems (ones that
generally use multiples of '4 units' of a given tint, per gallon of paint)
doing up a gallon with the full quantity of 'white', and then adding _two_
'units' of black, works well.
The painting contractor that I learned this from, explained it thusly:
"We add a little bit of black,
to make it look blue,
so it won't turn yellow."
It's impressive how well it works. :)
Undercabinet lighting is great. We put in some halogen bulb strip
lights under all our kitchen cabinets, wired up to wall switches. The
lighting fixtures are completely hidden behind the bottom lip (only
about an inch deep) of the face frame, and the light is really wonderful.
One thing we didn't consider when we did it is that you need to be a
contortionist to get under there to change bulbs, compounded by the fact
that the fixtures we bought are a pain to open up to get to the bulbs.
Look at the fixtures you're thinking of buying and make sure they'll be
easy to get at when bulbs need to be changed.
i've seen this more than once. watched a friend tear out the whole top
above his cabinets after most of them burned out just to change the bulbs.
as you say, buy the ones that you can replace the bulb from the outside
instead of the back side, or build in such a way that you can get to them.
On Fri, 11 Jun 2004 21:09:07 GMT, email@example.com wrote:
I just installed lighting for the second time in a kitchen. We loved
it so much the first time, that it was absolutely on the list for the
We used Kichler. They are fabulous. They are also not cheap, but this
is our last kitchen.
Easy access to bulbs, low power, modular design (but you'll probably
need the parts ;fixture, power distribution box, cables; to figure out
exactly how you'll connect them), two levels of light (plus "off") at
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
Shamelessly whoring my website since 1999
I just finished a set of cabinets with toe kick lighting. I just made a
typical toe space 3 1/2" high and 3 1/2" deep. The strip lighting was
attached at the upper back corner. Unless you are kneeling down and looking
under the toe space, you can't directly see the lighting.
I don't know if you'll have time to read another answer!
I built everything with 2.5" available behind the face frame. I use the
cheap fluorescent lichts from HD or Lowes. There are some about 2". Throw
the plastic diffuser away. I ues 4' wherever there's enough length and
shroter when needed. In the corner I have a 4' along one wall and a 2' on
the other. Put the lights as far to the front as possible.
Absotively it's the best thing you can do for a kitchen.
But first, a thing or two about it.
1) We bought ours from Home Depot. I can't remember the
exact model but it was the "higher end" GE product. These
are the ones that are hard wired into the home electrical
grid. They are the "slim line" (1 1/4" high?/sorry, too
lazy to get off my dead ass to measure) and all are wired to
a central wall switch. You can get the ones with the plug
end and switch them individually but A) I didn't want to be
dealing with the cord and B) it's a pain in the ass to walk
around and flick them on individually. By the way, not all
Home Depots carry this model so don't give up too soon.
Also, you can look for a supplier of Alco Little Inch
fixtures but the cost will increase semi-significantly.
2) Go as large as possible with the lights. The individual
light don't throw off a great deal of light though in
combination they do a great job of flooding the area.
3) Raise the bottom deck (i.e., the door stays put) of your
cabinets by 2 1/2". Install a light valance behind the
doors (3/4" X 2 1/2" toe screwed (Kreg drill) into the
bottom of the cabinet bottom. This will block the light
from shining through the gap between the meeting edges of
4) Wall color (colour David) will affect/effect the look of
things as will the underside of your cabinets.
5) Stand back when you are done and marvel at how damn good
it all looks. No really, you can believe me on this one.
I'm not sure if you meant to just extend the face frame or make other
adjustments to accomodate the extended face frame. Be sure you don't end up
shortening the distance between the upper cabinets and the countertop too
much. There are some countertop fancy coffee makers and electric mixers
that are pretty tall. The kitchenaid electric mixer is a very popular and
tall appliance. We put ceramic tile over existing countertops and now our
electric mixer won't fit under the upper cabinets.
I saw a mention about halogen under cabinet lighting. Be aware that these
little suckers get HOT, even the 10 watt model. I live in a hot area
(Houston) where we worry about heat loads because we have to air condition
so many months of the year.
One thing you can use that doesn't get very hot is rope lights. They are
getting pretty cheap these days. I have rope liight on motion detectors in the
hallways (in crown), kitchen and bath so you can walk around at night and have
the light follow you. It is a lot better than having the wife using the
refrigerator lamp as a night light.
Besides extending the frame to get some additional space, add molding to the bottom
of the cabinet that extends about
1/2" to 1" below the bottom of the face frame. This gives you a fancier look, allows
for a deeper lighting fixture and
adds continuity along the bottom edge of the cabinets.
That's what my cabinet guy did. From the bottom of the molding to the
underside of the cabinet is >2". You REALLY have to get down and under
to see the fixtures.
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
Shamelessly whoring my website since 1999
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