The Do's & Don'ts of Kitchen Lighting
Do match your colour temperatures; your ceiling lighting should be the same colour temperature as your under cabinet lighting. If you’ve got warm white downlights, then get warm white under cabinet lights.
Don’t have contrasting colour temperatures even from an adjoining room. If you’ve got warm white in your living room and cool white in your kitchen, you’ll keep noticing a contrasting effect as you go from one room to the other. A good lighting scheme should provide sufficient brightness (measured in lux) and not stand out too much.
If you want colour changing lighting, then do consider RGBW or RGBWW LED tape as it gives you both colour (RGB) and ambience in one. It has a true, dedicated cool or warm white light built in, providing you with the best of both worlds. You can also mix them together to create some amazing colour effects.
Don’t use basic RGB colour changing LED tape for under cabinet use. It won’t provide you with the sufficient task lighting lux levels or CRI (Colour Rendering Index) to allow you to perform tasks like chopping up ingredients or reading your cook books, you might get your cucumber mixed up with your courgette!
Do consider LEDs with a higher CRI as they reproduce colours more accurately. Our LED Strip Fit tapes have a CRI90 rating, while CRI80 is the industry standard. Or consider the Philips 4.9W GU10 which also has a CRI90 and doesn't cost too much more than a basic GU10 LED. We've written a dedicated article about the advantages of high CRI lighting.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t dim under cabinet lights, here at Downlights.co.uk we love dimmable lighting as it allows you to adjust the lighting levels to suit your mood, task and time of day.
Even smaller LED cabinet lights can be dimmed such as the Leyton 12V Cabinet Lights with a 12V dimmable driver. They're fitted with plug-in connectors to make wiring quick & easy. You don't want to be messing around with small fiddly cables.
Do consider using LED tape with a dimmable LED driver instead of the more popular mains voltage integrated LED strip lights.
Although the reasons why mains voltage under cabinet strip lights are so popular is because they're cost effective and easy to wire. They don't require any additional items and can be easily connected to each other - a popular choice for replacing older flourescent fittings but not as adaptable as LED tape.
Do consider aluminium profile rails for mounting LED tape. They offer a more professional finish and help to dissipate heat. Also known as LED extrusion profiles, they only cost a little bit extra and give your kitchen that extra pinch of flavour! With options for surface, corner and recessed available - you can create your own bespoke light fittings or we can even supply them pre-made with input and output cables included.
General Kitchen Lighting Q&A
What is the recommended average lux level for a kitchen?
The recommended lux level for a kitchen is 300 lux, although this is only speculative as official recommended lux levels only apply to commercial buildings. Compared with an office, which is officially 500 lux, you can see why 300 lux is a good target.
You also have to consider the higher working plane height within the kitchen as you're aiming at illuminated your kitchen worktops which are usually 900mm high. We've got further information about downlight spacings and working planes in this article below:
What is best lighting for kitchens?
You can't go wrong with recessed GU10 downlights such as the Aurora EFD Pro or Integral EvoFire which provide you with the ability to be able to change the LED lamp. They're fully fired rated, available in a selection of finishes and come with push-fit wiring connectors.
If you're looking for something a bit different, the Forum Pasto series are square and available in singles, doubles or triples, as well as a selection of 4 different finishes. These are non fire rated, but you can add fire hoods for additional safety.
How many kitchen downlights?
In the 50 watt halogen downlighter era of days gone by, you aimed at installing one downlight every square metre. This equated to 1 metre spaces between each downlight and half a metre from the walls or cupboards. You then adapt this to your room shape and increase the spaces to create a uniformed grid layout.
LED lighting gives you more options, with wider beam angles and brighter downlights & LED lamps to choose from. Combining brighter LED downlights with wider beam angles allows you to space them further apart while still achieving a bright and even lighting array. We've written a dedicated article about this lighting conundrum.
Integrated LED or GU10 downlights?
Integrated LED downlights are more technologically advanced than GU10 and generally more reliable and brighter, but the LED isn't replaceable which puts off some users.
One of the best integrated LED downlights is the JCC V50. It has a colour temperature switch that allows you to change from warm white 3000K to cool white 4000K whenever you like. The switch is located behind the bezel which is easily accessible, as some other CCT switching downlights have a switch that's located on the back.
Which colour temperature is best?
This is both a matter of opinion and design choice. The cooler 4000K colour tone can make a room feel cold and clinical but incorporated within the right design, with white gloss kitchen cupboards for example, it can produce an unparalleled, clean and modern look.
Warm white 3000K is our most popular choice as it offers something in-between. Older incandescent lamps like halogen GU10's were extra warm white 2700K, so if you like that warmer, homely glow then you'll want 2700K LEDs.
But why stick to just one colour temperature when you can have colour temperature switching? We've got a more in-depth article about this here: