A lot of people when installing their new kitchen, especially the gloss style ones tend to install under cabinet and plinth lighting. The lighting adds to the wow factor of your new kitchen and creates some excellent mood lighting as well.
So, once you have made the decision that some funky kitchen lighting is in order, your next decision is to decide what kind of lighting you want?
Below you will find some of the most commonly used lighting methods for illuminating kitchens.
LED tape lighting
LED tape lighting is one of the easiest and most flexible lighting systems that you can install. The LED tapes come in white, or for a small additional cost, RGB colour changing strips are available. The tape can then be used under your plinth, pelmet or even above your cornice on your kitchen units.
To power your LED tape lighting requires an LED driver (dimmable if you want to control the brightness). A driver is basically a power source that your LED tape will connect to. The wattage of the driver all depends on the number of metres of tape that you are going to have.
My research showed that 1 meter of LED tape uses about 7.2 watts (different watt versions are available though) of power. So, if you are going to have 6 metres of LED tape, all going into the same driver, then maths tells us that your dimmer needs to be at least 6 x 7.2 watts, which equals 43.2 watts, so you’ll probably need to go for a 60w LED driver to have enough capacity to support your lights.
Once you have your tape and LED driver, you are then going to need a wall mounted switch, most probable a dimmer for the driver to connect to. A standard dimmer switch will allow you to control the brightness of your lights but there are also some very funky dimmers & controllers out there that that will let your lights cycle through all the colours as well as change to music! If you want to be really outlandish then you can even buy a wifi controller that will allow you to change the lights from your Apple or Android smart phone!
So to recap, for LED tape lighting, you are going to need at least:
x number of meters of LED tape lighting strips
An LED driver to power your lights 7.2 watts x the number of metres that you have in this example
A wall mounted switch to control the lights
LED strip lighting
LED cool white strip lighting is formed from straight light sections that will allow you to connect up to 6 lights through the same transformer, i.e. power source. The lights would all work together as one light and can be easily fitted under your kitchen wall units.
These LED strips are powered by a 12V driver (power source) and the lights are turned on and off by touching either the black end shown with a power switch symbol or if you are using the touch dimmer versions then you can touch any part of the aluminium light body to switch them on or off.
To give your lights a little bit more functionality, you can buy add-ons like door sensor switches that can turn lights on that are inside units when the doors are opened.
So to recap, for LED strip lighting, you are going to need at least:
x number of strip light segments
A maximum of 6 lights connected for each LED driver/transformer to power them
Plinth lights are a very stylish way to illuminate the bottom of your kitchen runs and to create a nice little feature of your kitchen, or some mood lighting if the main lights are off.
The plinth lights usually come as packs of 4 and have 4 diodes per square. For easy fixing, the plinth lights have self adhesive backs so that you can easily place them on your kitchen plinth where you want them. You will however need a small hole on the plinth at the back of them for the power cable to attach to the lights but all the other cabling that attaches each light to each other is then hidden behind the plinth.
The lights are powered by a IP44 240v/4w mains plug driver.
A convenient way of lighting the underside of your kitchen units is to use surface mounted lights that attach to the underneath of your kitchen wall units. These are available in all different shapes and sizes, and some lights can even protrude down slightly to create a feature point.
The surface mounted LED lights are powered by a driver power supply unit, which will allow you to connect up to 6 lights on one driver power supply.
Each light gives out 2 watts of LED light which is equivalent to around 120 lumens. To give you some idea of what this means, a typical 60 watt light bulb in your home gives out about 700 lumens. So if you had 6 of these lights on a row, it would give you 720 lumens but only use 12 watts of power rather than 60 watts. See the table below to further understand lumens, watts and LED brightness.
Want to fully understand lumens and how LED lights compare to traditional light bulbs? The following table will tell you everything you need to know. Remember that lumens are the amount of visible light that you can see (brightness).
Standard light bulb
So, by looking at the example above, you can see that a 10 watt LED light gives out as much bright light as a standard 60 watt light bulb.
Here are some examples of kitchens that use additional lighting.
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