illuminating kitchen cabinets

ontariomomMarch 16, 2013

Hi folks,

As we continue to build our addition (and live in it at the same time), we are at the electrical rough-in stage. We would like to have lights above some of our cabinets (kitchen cabinets, living room built in cabinets, basement storage cabinets and also mudroom lockers). What is the best way to have some light on top of cabinets and/ or the mudroom lockers? I've been told that puck lighting does a good job of illuminating the inside of cabinets, but I am unsure what would be best to give a nice accent glow over top. Our ceilings our only 8 feet, but we will have crown moulding over the cabinets.



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We used Kimberly triple bright LED lights above our cabinets and on a high shelf in our sun room. These are on a strip that you can cut and add connectors if space between the cabinets, so all on one light switch. They dim but do require a transformer.
You can split into different circuits but each circuit will need its own switch and transformer.
We split ours up into 2 circuits. One for the lighted cabinet and one for the sunroom. DH is hogging the computer. I will try to post a picture of the sunroom later
I assume your molding does not go to the ceiling? We have a trim board but not a true crown molding.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 11:28AM
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Your lighting sounds beautiful. I would love to see a picture if you get a chance. I had thought I would have crown moulding to the ceiling, but have not finalized kitchen plan thus far so could go another route if I need to in order to get the accent lighting. Thanks for your input on what you did. Having high lights above shelves is cool too.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 9:20PM
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Jack Kennedy

i've used simple rope light in the past. It has always looked fine since I had haolgen lighting under the cabinets. I had them set up so they would both dim on the same circuit. I'd be much more apt to do a led strip that had a consistent color temperature from above cabinet, inside cabinet, and undercabinet. When I see three different color values in lighting in an application like this I think it all looks like an afterthought.

I've attached a pic of my last house kitchen. Track lighting in the ceiling was also halogen, so everything had the same color temperature and worked well together.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 10:41PM
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Thank you for your helpful information. You mentioned dimmers with the kitchen lighting. Should all sources of lights in my kitchen dim? The plan is to have pots, pendants and cabinet lighting.

Your previous kitchen was cool -- love the lights. You had much higher ceilings than I have. If I run my crown molding to the ceiling, does that eliminate the chance to have lighting over the cabinets?


    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 8:29AM
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OntarioMom - as far as dimmers go, it's really a personal decision. I love dimmers because I like ambient lighting, so we will have them in many applications for our kitchen. Our plan is to have the UC lights on a dimmer. Our recessed/can lights on a dimmer. And then the pendants also on a dimmer. With our recessed lighting, we are planning on possibly "overlighting", meaning that it may be more than what we need now, but as we advance in age, the additional light will be a benefit...having the dimmers means that we will have the flexibility to turn it down when we don't need as much. I'm planning on getting very bright LED strips for our UC lighting and those will be used both as task and ambient lighting.

We are still a little undecided about having lighting in some of our cabinets. There are a few areas where it might make sense (but we aren't doing any glass front cabinets...I would always do lighting in those. If we light, it will be to facilitate seeing things in the cabinet) and if we do, those wouldn't be on dimmers, but I want to put those on sensors so that when the door is moved, the light automatically goes on/off.

To answer your question about the crown molding to the ceiling and then lighting over the cabinets, I'm not sure why (or even how) you would do that. In Glenwood's photos, there is room above the cabinet so you can see the light - if you have crown molding from the cabinet to the ceiling, that area would be closed and there would be no reason to light it, if I'm understanding your plan.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 11:04AM
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Good thoughts on the dimmers; we will add those to the kitchen lighting. So it looks like above cabinet lighting is out if we want crown molding. Too bad as it nice to light up the upper cabinets. We will add light inside a few upper cabinets that have glass though.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 2:12PM
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