LED undercounter lighting direction with deeper cabinets

gwloloFebruary 27, 2013

Please give me your feedback on where the LED under cabinet lights should be positioned. We have deeper cabinets 18in uppers over 30in base. We are using CSL ecolights dimmable LED strips with integrated driver which has a warm white light.

Should the light be facing back towards the back of the counter or forward towards the front of the counter?

Should the light be positioned in near the front edge of the upper cabinet, more towards the middle, or in the back?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here are the pics of what my electrician mocked up.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 7:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i plan on putting mine towards the front of the cabinet, right behind the light rail. that way it won't be seen. also, most of the light will be in the center of counters instead of the backsplash.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 8:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ours were too close to the trim in the front and I had shadows. Sparky moved them back about an inch or 2 and they are perfect.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 10:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We had ours wired up and then we held it in a few spots to see where we liked it. Like A2G, we ended up about 1.5 inches back from the front trim.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 11:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Is the direction I have it mounted look right? Should the light face forward?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 12:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My recommendations with LED strip lighting: mount it to the back of the light rail's vertical portion and point it toward the back splash. LED light is highly directional, not omnidirectional, so it will have at most about a 60 degree dispersion. Aiming the light toward the back splash will give you indirect reflected/diffused light off the splash and off the bottom of the cabinets. This will give you the most even light with less glare and shadowing.

GWlolo, your lights are great the way they are. Some down lighting, some aimed toward the splash. That's how it's supposed to be. If you reversed the orientation, your light would be brighter but less even, with more glare and shadowing.

The lighter your splash, counter, and cabinet bottom color, the more task lighting you will get.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 5:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I pretty much use Hafele on my jobs- light spread for them is 120 degrees. Still LED's are a bit more directional than others. Typically we mount them to a block that is beveled 30-45 degrees, or use the angled channel that Hafele offers which is maybe 10 degrees.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 8:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I tried it last night in the dark and David is right. The dispersion is perfect as is. But oh boy! these babies put out a lot of light. I was also glad to see that the light was quite warm not bluish at all. But I am glad that they are dimmable :)

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 11:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I saw a kitchen where the underside of the uppers were routed out in the center of the bottom to fit some sort of undercounter lighting. I don't know what the lighting was or how it was wired. I did not see wires anywhere. I am going to see if I can get ahold of the people who have the kitchen and ask them what they used. I just remember thinking it was such a clean look and fully integrated into the cabinet.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 12:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am on my computer, so can show pictures. Also - take a look at 2LittleFishies - she used a different style light and hers are right at the front.

Now you see the lights(from underneath - also can see the plug mold)

Now you don't - they are hidden

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 2:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A2gemini, where did you get your plug mold and light strip? Are they both direct wired? LED lights?


    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 2:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hope not too much of a hijack
The lights are GMLarc LED dimmable -so yes they are hard wired.
They did require a transformer. They are 3K
purchased at a locally owned lighting store.

The plug mold came from Sparky aka electrician. They are standard GFCI strips and GC built a 45+/- strip to mount them. I didn't like the industrial look of the angle plug mold that I saw. My only regret - I left a couple plugs in the backsplash.

I will start a new thread when back at the ranch on more specifics if you or others are interested

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 4:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, please!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 6:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hang on, you are saying I should point the LEDs towards the backsplash? Really? And this is in part to avoid the reflection of the lights on the counter? If my backsplash is glass subway tile, won't I instead just get the reflection on the backsplash?

davidahn, you are also saying to vary the direction? Some pointed down, some towards the backsplash? How would I do that? Cut the LED strip into little bits and vary it?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 9:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

And how would this affect other things mounted under the cabinets such as CD player, paper towel holder and cookbook holder? I thought I could still do those things with LED lights since they are so skinny.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 10:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

GWlolo - I would test your position before putting them everywhere. I think you are fine with the your lights

Oliver - it depends on the style of lights - I could put a CD or paper towel holder without a problem. Some styles would leave shadows.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 10:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


We tested that question with our setup. With the light pointed at the backsplash it was brilliant indeed, but the tradeoff was less light on the front edge of the countertop which is right where you are standing. So for us it was a clear choice to position the light more toward the front and aim it straight down. The backsplash is still radiant, but the countertop gets the lion's share of the light. I think the angle of the light beam from our LED bars is something like 110 degrees.

Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 12:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

@Olivertwist, I recommend rear-facing LEDs to avoid hot spotting and glare. If you have 110-120 degree LEDs, downward facing is just fine. I was not suggesting varying the angles. I think if you have glare-prone backsplash material or glass tile which I imagine would give you all manner of odd reflections and even sharper glare, I would recommend working hard to source wide dispersion LEDs or LEDs in housings with diffusers like GWlolo's.

LEDs in either orientation should not affect other under-counter items unless they're in the path of the light. And with pure strip LEDs without housings, you can certainly rout out a 1/2-5/8" x 3/8" groove in the bottom of the cabinet and bury the strip light in it. For a cleaner look, you should put a frosted plexiglass strip over it; that'll look pretty snazzy.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 7:12PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Help needed with this beam!!!
We had part of a wall taken down in the kitchen &...
Why are my granite edges lighter than the top?
Perhaps some of you recall my ordeal with my kitchen...
1880s house kitchen: need to work in the current space
Note this is cross-posted at suggestion of a reader Plans...
Faucet for kitchen remodel
I am having trouble finding the right faucet to go...
quartz countertops
I'm so confused. I keep reading that quartz countertops...
Sponsored Products
Stiffel 1320-C550 64H in. Floor Lamp - FL-1320-C550-SB
$393.80 | Hayneedle
Contemporary Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug: American Rug Craftsmen Rugs Hazel Eyes
Home Depot
Portman Square Stainless Steel Two-Light Outdoor Wall Mount Pocket Lantern
$473.00 | Bellacor
Living Room Lamp: 1-Light Table Lamp Chrome Finish CLI-LS445869
Home Depot
Trelis Crema Marfil and White Thassos Marble Tile
$21.50 | TileBar
Crystorama Southport Collection 22" Wide White Ceiling Light
Lamps Plus
Series 484 Antique Bronze One-Light Outdoor Wall Light
$66.11 | Bellacor
Lineage Pendant No. 1272 by Minka-Lavery
$339.00 | Lumens
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™