no way to do undercabinet lighting

suethemidwifeJuly 12, 2009

This is my first post. I'm doing a mini-remodel on my 1939 kitchen which currently has very inadequate lighting. I would like under cabinet lighting as I like lots of light close to the work when I'm doing food prep. My cabinets are old fashioned painted birch, and the uppers are only 12 1/2 inches above the countertop, with no recess at all in which to hide lights. I brought home some "ultraslim" fluorescent tube fixtures and tacked them up just to see, and when sitting at the kitchen table the lights were much too visible and distracting. OTOH, the uppers only project 11 1/2 inches`from the wall (the counters are 24 3/4 inches deep) so maybe with appropriate, well-planned ceiling lighting I can illuminate the counters adequately without lights under the cabinets.

Currently there is one surface mounted central fixture (not very effective in this long narrow room) and a cheap 4 lamp track (50 w MR 16s) over the stove which I put up a few years ago so I could have a clue what I was cooking. Both of these need to go away. I imagine I can get light on the counter tops with appropriately planned and placed recessed lighting (ceilings are low at 91 1/2 inches). Part of me thinks recessed cans are wrong in this somewhat old fashioned kitchen; however the Ikea dual-fuel 36" range that's about to take up residence here will shatter the "original" look anyway. But I wonder how a series of 3 surface mounted fixtures for ambient light would look, with just 2 recessed task lights over the stove.

The real question though, is should I try to find a way to have under cabinet lights, or do you all think there's a ceiling solution? Sorry about the ramble.

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Have you looked at the under cabinet LED or halogen puck lights? You can have these recessed into the bottom of the cabinet.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 6:36PM
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Well, the bottom of the cabinet is 5/8 inch thick plywood. Is there really something that can be recessed into that thickness of bottom shelf? I would consider it although I suspect I would still be able to see the glare of the lights when sitting at the table. Any suggestions for a product that would fit the bill? I am also interested in anyone's opinion who believes I can get away without under cabinet lighting given my upper cabinets only project 11 1/2 inches over the counter (I think this is less deep than ususal).

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 3:57PM
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They sell LED lights that are much thinner than tubes - even the thin tubs. They are very expensive though.

If you have no lip to hide them behind, anything you put on the bottom of the cabinet will be visible. If you want undermount lighting on old cabinets, that is the trade-off.

If the cabinets are painted, is there any way to put a small piece of molding across the bottom to "hide" lighting behind? Obviously, it is a lot easier to match paint than stain.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 4:51PM
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I have thought about adding a lip to the bottom edge of the cabinet, however the uppers are already so low I can't afford to lose more clearance (there are wine bottles that I can't push to the back of the counter--too tall). I think for now I will proceed with ceiling lighting and see if I can't obviate the need for UC lighting by careful placement and choice of fixtures/lamps.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 5:50PM
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Try looking at Kichler Lighting. I think they have very slim profile lights. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 9:47PM
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costco is carrying LED battery operated puck lighting. They are about 1" with a 3" diameter and have adhesive backing. They come in white, and I think metal. 3 for 20.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 10:06PM
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