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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.

LED Tape Lighting

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.

Strip lighting

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

This lighting is available on our website here 

Plinth lights

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.

Plinth lights

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.

We have these plinth lights available on our website in Satin Chrome (thermo plastic)

Surface mounted LED lights

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.

Surface mounted lighting

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.

We have these surface mounted lights available on our website in satin stainless steel.

LED bulb comparison chart

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).

Lummens ~230 ~415 ~700 ~920 ~1340
Standard light bulb 25W 40W 60W 75W 100W
LED lights ~4W ~6W ~10W ~13W ~18W

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.

Kitchen examples

Here are some examples of kitchens that use additional lighting.

Kitchen lighting Kitchen lighting Kitchen lighting Kitchen lighting Kitchen lighting Kitchen lighting Kitchen lighting Kitchen lighting Kitchen lighting v

 

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14 thoughts on “Types of kitchen lighting”
  • Avatar
    james says:

    Hello, Can you confirm if your wall units have any gap when installed to allow low voltage lighting wiring to run from an LED driver ontop of the wall unit, down the gap between the unit and the wall to the underside of the cupboard?

     
    March 16, 2021 at 8:34 pm
    • Avatar
      DIY Kitchens says:

      Hi James, our wall units have a 17mm service void gap at the back of them.

       
      March 17, 2021 at 6:47 am
  • Avatar
    Paul Hooper says:

    Hi, Planning to use LED light strip (on a roll) with the driver connected to a strip above the worktop under cabinets, and another along the plinth. I will need to run the extension cable in trunking buried in the wall, so would like to know what size the connectors (male/female) on the cables are please so I can thread through the conduit. Also, the accessories part of your site (Product code: SY6976A/NW) quotes 4 watts/metre for the tape lights, but the article above says allow 7.2 watts/meter.. what is the actual value please?

     
    March 16, 2021 at 6:07 pm
    • Avatar
      DIY Kitchens says:

      Hi, the connectors are usually about 1.2cm wide, but these can differ depending on the manufacturer of the lights.

      The example used in this article was 7.2 watts. All lighting differs, you just need to ensure that you have the correct driver with enough output to power them.

      If you need anymore assistance on this then our sales team will be able to help on 01977 608 418.

       
      March 17, 2021 at 6:55 am
  • Avatar
    Martin says:

    I don’t understand under cabinet lighting. Previous houses I’ve lived in have had a light switch to turn on the main kitchen ceiling light and a second switch on the same wall panel to turn on the under cabinet lights. Many lights I look at now appear to only plug in to a socket – and so not hard wired to the lighting circuit – and also seem crazy to be switched on or off individually by touching them etc. Surely some lights can be bought that are the same as a ‘normal’ ceiling light that you switch on and off at the wall switch and are properly wired in and not plugged in to a socket??

     
    March 27, 2019 at 10:44 pm
    • Avatar
      Diy Kitchens says:

      Hi Martin, most of the modern unit lighting uses transformers that plug into the mains and they have remote controls to control them. If you speak with an electrician, then they may be able to help you obtain some lighting that can be controlled from a wall switch.

       
      March 28, 2019 at 8:00 am
  • Avatar
    Heather says:

    Hi, could you explain how drawer lights will work (ones that turn on when a drawer is opened) – what would i need to get? I will have 8 x 60cm wide drawers and 3 x 90cm wide drawers that I’d like to be lit up when opened. Thanks

     
    September 4, 2018 at 4:28 pm
    • Avatar
      Diy Kitchens says:

      Hi Heather, we don’t sell any lighting for the inside of drawers but if you do a quick search in Google you will find some. Basically there would be some lights in your unit and a switch/sensor on the side of the unit that the drawer would butt up to to turn the lights off. As soon as the drawer is open again, the lights would come on.

       
      September 5, 2018 at 11:16 am
  • Avatar
    Ft says:

    Hi, how would you conceal the wiring on a spot light placed in the centre under the wall cabinet? Thanks

     
    August 9, 2018 at 8:13 am
    • Avatar
      Diy Kitchens says:

      Hi, the best way to minimise the visibility of any wires under your units is to use pelmets. This gives you a place then to push the wires up to, so that they are out of sight.

       
      August 9, 2018 at 8:30 am
  • Avatar
    Chris says:

    hi,
    I want to put lights under the counter as shown in the 7th picture down. I cant see how to fit a strip without the top of the door hitting into it. Do you need to put spacers under the work surface to raise it up? Many thanks

     
    May 16, 2016 at 1:12 pm
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      Diy Kitchens says:

      Hi, because the doors are 715mm high and the carcases 720mm high, an equally adjusted door will have a clearance of 2.5mm top and bottom. The clearance at the top will allow the door to open without clashing with anything placed above it i.e., lighting strip or worktop.

      When fitting the lighting strip (assume that it is 15mm thick) 15mm batons will need to be placed strategically on top of the carcases to support whatever worktop is being used. This as a consequence, raises a standard 40mm worktop height to 55mm when incorporating the lighting strip.

       
      May 24, 2016 at 11:54 am
  • Avatar
    Diy Kitchens says:

    Hi, I want to put some under wall cabinet lights into my kitchen but I’m a little unsure as to how the LED strips work. I noticed on your site that you sell LED strip lights, which come in lengths of 300mm to 1000mm long. I have a distance of 3 meters to cover, so my question is, do these LED strips connect to each other to allow me to create a longer piece? Also, would they all share the same power source?

     
    July 16, 2015 at 9:36 am
    • Avatar
      Diy Kitchens says:

      You can link up to 6 lights through the same transformer i.e. power source. these would all work together as one light.

       
      July 16, 2015 at 9:37 am
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