How to Install Task Lighting in a Kitchen

In order to make your kitchen more efficient and easier to use, consider installing task lighting. Many people believe that a better lit area will reduce common household injuries such as cuts and burns. It will also make dark corners on kitchen counters easier to use. If you are interested in adding task lighting to your kitchen, consider doing it yourself.

There are two types of useful task lighting, fluorescent and track lighting. Fluorescent lighting is the most popular choice for task lighting. Although it does not cast as much light as other forms of lighting, it is inexpensive and easy to install. Fluorescent bulbs are long and emit very little heat, making them ideal for under the cabinet task lighting. Fluorescent bulbs also use much less electricity and last longer than other types of bulbs.

Buy a fluorescent lighting kit. It should consist of a lighting fixture that plugs into a wall and can be mounted on any surface. Before buying a kit, measure the length of the kitchen cabinets. Effective fluorescent task lighting will run at least two thirds of the length of the counter to be illuminated.

Once you pick out the correct size of fixture, use the kit instructions to install the lights underneath the cabinets. Make sure that the screws included in the kit are not long enough to damage the interior of your cabinets. Also try to ensure that the plug is close to an electrical outlet.

If you do not like the quality of light offered by fluorescent bulbs, you may prefer incandescent lighting. This form of lighting is more expensive but offers a better quality of light. The most common form of incandescent lighting used is track lighting. This form of lighting fixture consists of two main parts. The first part is the track, which can be installed just like fluorescent task lighting. Be sure to buy a track that can be plugged in rather than specially wired.

The other component to track lighting are the actual fixtures, which hold the bulbs. The fixtures can be attached to the track in many different formations to accommodate varying needs. The fixtures also swivel within the track and can be positioned to light a very specific area. When choosing a track lighting system to install, be sure to buy a miniature system. Track lighting fixtures can be very large and emit great amounts of heat, so be sure to select an appropriate system for your space.

If you do not have many electrical outlets in your kitchen, you can consider buying fluorescent or incandescent lighting that must be wired into the electrical system. Like any modifications to your electrical system, be sure to pay for a licensed electrician to make the changes. Consult a professional before deciding on the positioning of your lighting; his expertise may influence your decisions.

No matter what lighting fixture you install, consider installing an under the cabinet valance at the same time. Not only will a valance hide the light fixtures, but it will reduce glare. Valances are made of a variety of materials, including wood, metal and plastic. A metal valance is the most difficult to cut and install. It also has the tendency to hold heat, so it should be used only with fluorescent bulbs. Plastic valances can easily be installed, but may make the lighting the focal point of your kitchen. Wood valances can be painted or stained to match your cabinets and cause your lighting to be less intrusive.

Valance kits can easily be installed with brackets. Just measure the length and depth of the cabinets and cut the pieces to fit. If your cabinet is wood finish the valance for the appearance that will match or complement your kitchen.

Task lighting in your kitchen is a small luxury that can make food preparation easier. After you install task lighting, consider adjusting your other lighting. You may be able to use bulbs with less wattage in your overhead lights if you have lighting to illuminate more intricate tasks. As with any home improvement project if you are uncomfortable completing it, enlist the help of a friend or a professional. Just because you aren’t handy around the house doesn’t mean you should suffer with poor lighting.

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