Shed light on dark nooks and crannies in your kitchen, office, and other rooms with our under-cabinet lighting ideas. Designed to fit in small spaces and provide accent or task lighting, these fixtures can be used under kitchen cabinets, on bookshelves, in curio cabinets, and more. Depending on the look you're going for, installing under-cupboard lighting can be a simple DIY project, or it can require professional installation. We'll walk you through the different options, plus provide tips for picking the right lightbulbs.
If you want to install under-cabinet lighting, select the easiest option. A plug-in fixture attaches to the underside of a cabinet or shelf and can be inserted into any nearby outlet. These fixtures must be turned on and off using a switch on the unit, and the wires are not hidden. Tape or rope lights are one plug-in option. These clear plastic tubes are filled with small LED bulbs that cast a soft glow.
For more serious under-counter lighting, choose a fluorescent strip, a track light with halogen bulbs, or puck lights with halogen bulbs. These touch-operated disks are surface-mounted and easy to install. They are battery-operated and come in several wattages to provide bright light. Be careful with under-cabinet lighting placement, however, as high-wattage halogen bulbs can put off a lot of heat and shouldn't be installed near anything flammable.
For a seamless look, consider investing in hard-wired light fixtures, which become virtually invisible once installed. Recessed puck lights are low-profile lights that must be installed directly into shelves and, if not done during new home construction, require modifications to the cabinet. Unless you have experience doing electrical work, a professional will need to install these and other hard-wired models, which must tap into a power source or have a new circuit added to the area. Other hard-wired options include custom-size track lights and slim-line strip lights.
When choosing an under-cabinet light fixture, it's important to understand the various types of lightbulbs each uses so you can pick the one that best suits your needs: