Cabinet Lighting 101


Both decorative and practical, we all use lighting to illuminate spaces and help us to see and navigate within the home. It is especially important that our kitchen spaces are well-lit, which includes taking into consideration the various lighting options for kitchen cabinets. Going above and beyond the mainstay under cabinet lighting options, new innovations for accent and task lighting include lighting both within and above cabinetry as well as the ever-functional (albeit unconventional) option for adding toe-kick lighting to ramp up the performance of your cabinetry, adding ambience and helping to prevent midnight toe-stubbing! Available in strip, tape, rope, or puck format, the options are endless!

custom bar countertop and sink


A must-have for kitchens of all sizes.

Highlight your decorative surfaces and illuminate your workspace as you make those delicate knife-cuts while doing food prep. The most common application of cabinet lighting, under cabinet lighting systems can be hard-wired during construction or added as a retrofit when you realize just how much shadow your upper cabinets cast on your work area. Regardless of the design of your cabinets, there are a variety of solutions available. Many cabinets are constructed with a small reveal on the underside, just large enough to tuck in strip, rope, or puck lighting.

Strip and rope lighting provide several length options to accommodate a variety of kitchen configurations. Many strip lighting options are available that also incorporate electrical and USB outlets to remove the need for outlets in your decorative backsplash. Some cabinet designs also allow for a flush bottom with puck lights to be recessed into a cavity between the bottom of the cabinet and the lowest shelf. Puck lighting requires just a little more consideration during the design process, in order to properly plan placement to evenly distribute the light output.

taupe contemporary kitchen cabinets
custom Butler-Pantry


Options abound for visual and hidden lighting applications.

Especially popular when incorporating glass front cabinet doors, accent lighting adds illumination when used for a china or bar cabinet. Many kitchen designs feature traditional cabinet doors for functional usage with smaller, glass front cabinets installed above for display of items accessed less often. Beyond their decorative use, in-cabinet lighting can also be motion-activated to allow for lighting when opening up cabinets to reach onto darkened shelves. When hidden behind a frame or recessed under a shelf, this use can also be adapted for open shelving to add a dramatic effect.

Custom Kitchen Cabinet Lighting
traditional style cabinetry with lighting


It’s all about the ambiance with cove or crown lighting.

When displaying décor or plants, lighting the area above your cabinets can add visual interest to your spaces while also making the rooms appear larger and the ceilings higher. With high efficiency lighting types that do not put out excess heat, these lights can remain on overnight for added security.

Traditional Kitchen stove and cabinets


Toe-kick lights make it easier to sneak that midnight snack!

Even more practical than kitchen usage, motion-sensor toe-kick lighting can be added to your bathroom vanity cabinets to make those blurry-eye middle of the night trips to the bathroom a little easier, or to serve as a night-light for the littles. Casting a soft glow, these lights make it safer to maneuver while trying to remain asleep enough to fall back into slumber without delay. Available in flexible or linear lighting strip options, these can be added to your toe-kick or even under floating cabinets with ease.

traditional kitchen cabinets

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With so many possibilities available, the knowledgeable team of designers at Classic Cupboards will help you navigate your options for functional and decorative cabinet lighting to shed light on nooks and crannies throughout your home.

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