Smarter Under Cabinet Light Install

Under cabinet lights make a huge difference in your kitchen, a real upgrade. It’s a simple addition that adds style, ambiance, and functionality.

We are asked all the time for options on under cabinet lights. Our recommendation generally depends on a few considerations specific to the kitchen we are working on.

There are options galore. Puck Lights, LED Strip Lights, short, long, exposed bulb, LED Light Bar, and more. Some are bulky, some are super thin, some oddly shaped and boxy. So many choices, it can be almost overwhelming.

Always consider these details for any under cabinet light:

✓Amount of light the fixture gives?

✓ Will there be shadows created by lack of length or overlap in light beams?

✓ If there is a reflection in the counter, what will that look like?

✓ How long will they last?

✓ Are they dimmable?

✓ Do they look good if you happen to see them?

✓ How are they controlled? Some are individually controlled, some from a switch on the wall, some a separate remote, and some by your voice.

I want a slim, slick, streamlined fixture. We are not exaaactllly able to see the bottom of the cabinets unless we duck down… BUT if I am sitting at my kitchen island, I don’t want to see the fixture. Those details matter to me.

I know I do not want any gaps in the light. If the fixture is not the same length as the cabinets, you could get dark areas or weird overlays in the light beams.

LED light strips are the way to go—dimmable, energy efficient, customize to any length, and generally last forever, no bulbs to burn out!

We went with a LED strip light that has a PVC channel that is shaped to mount in a corner. The PVC channel protects the LEDs, looks prettier than the exposed LEDs, and diffuses them to look like one continuous strip of light instead of seeing each individual node.

Next we needed to decide the placement.

If we mount them in the back of the cabinet, against the backsplash, it creates a down lighting effect. If we mount towards the front of the cabinet, right behind the light rail, it projects the light a bit more softly onto the counter and onto the backsplash. It is just a little more of a flooding effect vs. the down lighting look. We preferred the latter, but that is a personal choice. If I had a really cool textured tile backsplash, I may have preferred mounting them towards the back. You can easily see below the difference. Photo on the left is mounted front, photo on the right is mounted towards the back.

Now onto the best part.

The final touch.

Smart controls.
YES. PLEASE. AND. THANK. YOU.

This is what the app looks like.
Aside from voice controls with the integration with Alexa, you could turn them on and off from here.

They are accessible just like a normal switch on the wall BUT they are also integrated with my iPhone and the Echo – Alexa. Voice control is the best in the kitchen for so many reasons. It’s sanitary, I don’t have to wash off the food I am prepping to turn on some lights, and dang it, it is just plain awesome to make a request out loud and it happens like magic, immediately.

Let’s agree good aesthetics are just as important as usability and function. It obviously matters where you put your switches. However, if I pair that with a touch free control, that adds a big bonus in the function category.

Voice activation has been proven to be useful. Experts are predicting a growth in the use of voice control (such as Google Home and Alexa) as a result of this pandemic. It feeds boredom, helps with loneliness (it can provide conversation, stories, games, and jokes), AND they can work for us, like here they turn on my kitchen lights. Check out my video below.

If your sound is on… you can hear my command and the lights magically turn on.

What do you think?