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Choosing Linear & Strip Lighting For Under Cabinet, Cove, Under Shelf & Other Accent Lighting

If you are considering installing linear or strip lighting under cabinets, as shown in Figure 1, in a ceiling cove, under a shelf or other accent lighting inside or outside your home, you have a number of choices.

Under cabinet lighting

Figure 1 - Under cabinet lighting

Rope lighting, as shown in Figure 2, using incandescent lamps provides the normal yellow light that we are all used to. Rope lighting can be used indoors or outdoors and provides a continuous light over its span. Because of the continuous light you can obtain a scalloping of the light field.

Rope lighting can also be purchased with LED lamps, as shown in Figure 3, in white (clear), red, blue, green and yellow colors. LED lamps provide a very long life.

Rope lighting is sometimes to referred to as ribbon lighting.

Under cabinet or cove rope lighting

Figure 2 - Under cabinet or cove rope lighting

Under cabinet or cove LED rope lighting

Figure 3 - Under cabinet or cove LED rope lighting

Accent tube lighting

Figure 4 - Accent tube lighting

Clip lighting

Figure 5 - Clip lighting

Tube lighting, as shown in Figure 4, is similar to rope lighting and provides a similar yellow light. Tube lighting can also be used indoors or outdoors. The primary difference between rope lighting and tube lighting is that tube lighting uses bulbs that are evenly spaced along the length of the tube, hence it does not provide a "continuous" light over its length. As with rope lighting, scalloping of the light field is possible.

Under cabinet or cove xenon Lighting

Figure 6 - Under cabinet or cove xenon lighting

Fluorescent under cabinet lighting

Figure 7 - Fluorescent under cabinet lighting

Halogen puck style under cabinet lighting

Figure 8 - Halogen puck style under cabinet lighting

Clip lighting, as shown in Figure 5, is primarily used in outdoor applications and is sometimes referred to as tree lighting. Clip lighting is a length of cable with a number of lamp sockets that can be moved to any position along the length of the cable.

Xenon lighting, as shown in Figure 6, is a good option for under cabinet or under shelf applications. Xenon lamps have 4 to 5 times the life of halogen lamps and operate at a much lower temperature. The light fixtures for xenon lamps are similar to small fluorescent light tubes or to a halogen hockey puck style fixture. Xenon lamps provide a warmer light than halogen. The fixture determines whether or not the unit can be mounted indoors or outdoors. It is most common to use xenon lighting in an indoor application.

Fluorescent under cabinet and under shelf lighting, as shown in Figure 7, provides the proven method of a continuous light over the length of the lamp. Many individuals find standard fluorescent lighting to be hard on the eyes. However, new full spectrum fluorescent light tubes provide a daylight type lighting. Florescent lighting is generally used for indoor applications.

Halogen under cabinet, as shown in Figure 8, and under shelf lighting is generally provided in the form of a disc called a puck due to its similarity of appearance with a hockey puck, with a halogen lamp in the center. Halogen provides excellent lighting, but the lamps run very hot. It is not considered to be a continuous field of lighting and generally will provide shadows. Puck style lighting is now available using LED lamps, however the light intensity of each puck is dramatically reduced.