Many home builders install rope lights for kitchen under cabinet lighting whenever a cost effective, indirect lighting source is needed in the kitchen. Generally speaking, this light is adequate for complimentary illumination of small, simple kitchens, but it does not provide the type of high-end low voltage lighting or lighting control necessary to light today’s more sophisticated, larger kitchen frequently found in a custom home. Most rope lights do not feature the specification grade required to truly optimize color rendering and light distribution over counter tops. Consequently, they not only burn out more quickly than linear lighting sources, in larger kitchens, they often create striations and accentuate wall variances, reflecting an uneven distribution of light.
Installing linear lighting strips under kitchen cabinets will correct this problem, provided that the fixture used resides under the front end of the cabinet and directs the forward throw light back and away from the eyes. This creates reflection off both the surface of the posterior wall beneath the cabinet and the surface of the counter top itself. When the under cabinet lights or inside cabinet lights installed are also dimmable, and the correct lamps are fitted to the fixture, the reflection diffuses as a “wash” of light that evenly covers visible surfaces without creating “white spots” or glare.
It is very important to consider overall aesthetic when replacing rope lights or fluorescent under cabinet lights and installing task lights in your kitchen. Larger linear light strips may be clearly visible to people seated at a nearby table who are looking into the kitchen from an angle. Install under cabinet lights in these places that will seamlessly blend into the under surface of the cabinet, or even better, completely hide themselves from open view.
Lamping options should be chosen next, and should be oriented toward complimenting the color and texture of the kitchen counter top. Custom kitchens in today’s larger homes frequently have marble or granite countertops, both of which can be enhanced with a near 3-dimensional appearance when illuminated with a linear light source installed underneath kitchen cabinets. The choice of lamps that you fit to these fixtures will depend upon the color of the cabinet itself. Cooler colors like white and off white look much better under an incandescent under cabinet kitchen light installed with a dimmable control. Phantom linear strips are ideal for this form of kitchen under cabinet lighting because feature smaller, concealed transformers that allow for end users to set the light at whatever level necessary.
Likewise, darker counter tops such as deep red granites and dark blue marble/white finishes look superb under a linear light source that produces a slightly warmer colour temperature. If the counter top you are lighting features dark reds or blue, or an almost “purple” look to the coloring, install kitchen fixtures that are fitted with xenon under cabinet lighting. This will generate a luxurious, slightly golden aura of light that gently penetrates the lighter colored areas of granite and marble and enriches the darker swirls of blue and deep red with an ornate touch.
Although both xenon and incandescent light sources consume a great deal of electricity, this can be offset by using Phantom low voltage lighting strips that minimize electrical consumption. Further savings can be generated by investing now in LED under cabinet kitchen lights. As new legislation requires that incandescent technology be replaced no later than 2010, it might be best to invest now instead of later in the world’s newest and most promising source of LED energy saving lighting or environmentally friendly LED custom cabinet lights.
Call a Phantom Agent for more information on all of these options. We invite you to call toll free 800-863-1184 to request literature online or visit our lighting blog to learn more about Phantom custom low voltage lighting products.
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