How to choose LED lighting for your kitchen work area

A rich selection of accessories for mounting LED backlighting expands the capabilities of the home craftsman, but at the same time makes it difficult for him to find the best option. Without the required minimum of knowledge, it is easy to get confused when choosing an LED strip, its installation technology, power supply and control method. The result of the error is incorrect operation of the LED lighting in the kitchen.

Design features of LED backlight
Sometimes, in order to save time and money, when installing the lighting system, one tape without profiles is attached to wall cabinets . This is ugly and impractical. The tape fixed without a profile spoils the appearance of the kitchen. In addition, the light from it is unable to be evenly distributed over the surface of the countertop. This requires diffusers that are fixed in special grooves. They cannot be fixed without profiles.

In order for the backlight for the kitchen to look neat and not cause problems during operation, it is recommended to follow some technologies. For its installation, you need to use all the necessary components:

Often, profiles for tapes are sold in a ready-made kit along with plugs and fasteners. It is not recommended to replace specially designed components with “seemingly suitable” spare parts left over after repair. This will also negatively affect the reliability and efficiency of the lighting system.

The choice of profile and method of installation of the lighting system for the kitchen
To install the lighting system under the hinged modules of the kitchen set, you can use two methods – flush and overhead. Depending on the technology, you need to select profiles.

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Mortise lighting system
The use of this technology allows the lamps to be recessed inside parts made of laminated chipboard, MDF or wood. With this installation, the built-in profiles do not protrude beyond the face of the panel materials. This creates the effect of the shelves glowing from the inside. The built-in system can be installed at any distance from the apron or facade plane.

When choosing this method, you need to take into account that milling of the lower shelves of the wall cabinets will be required. This laborious operation is necessary to make the groove for the inner profile. In theory, if a milling machine is available, this work can be done at home. However, in practice, everything is much more complicated, so it is better to leave the work with cut-in profiles for specialists.

Overhead lighting system
When installing a kitchen lighting system, the second method is often chosen – installation using overhead profiles. They are of two types:

To fix them, you do not need to mill the lower shelves and remove the hinged modules. This technology allows the profiles to be attached to furniture without prior preparation. Therefore, it is she who is popular with home craftsmen. The choice of the type of profile depends on the installation location of the lighting system.

Optimal installation location
Since the main purpose of installing an LED system is to well illuminate the work areas on the tabletop, you need to choose a place for its installation based on this condition. However, do not forget about aesthetics. There are three installation options, and when considering them, you need to take into account that the width of the table top is 600 mm, and the depth of the wall cabinets is 280–320 mm.

The system is fixed against the wall
Fixing in the immediate vicinity of the kitchen backsplash is the best option from the point of view of aesthetics. The profile fixed on the corner looks neat and does not negatively affect the design of the kitchen. However, this method has a drawback – some areas on the countertop will remain darkened.

In this case, the choice of an angular profile will help to solve the problem – the diffuser will be located to the tabletop at an angle of 45 °, due to which the light stream will be evenly distributed over its surface. In addition, the corner profile looks best at the junction of the kitchen backsplash and the lower level of the wall cabinets.

The system is fixed in the center of the hinged modules
If the profile for fixing the tape is moved away from the wall closer to the front plane of the hinged modules, then the tabletop can be evenly illuminated. However, this method also has a minus – the profile will protrude in the middle of the lower shelves. This drawback is not critical, since the system is visible only from below, but it is better to take it into account. For this installation option, you must use a standard overlay profile.

The system is fixed to the façade plane
Today, the trend is for kitchens in which the LED strip is located directly under the facades of the wall cabinets. This is beautiful and practical, since the light flux hits just the center of the worktop and is relatively evenly distributed over the entire work surface of the kitchen.

However, this placement option is not suitable for self-installation of the lighting system. After all, the end of the profile, fixed in the immediate vicinity of the facade plane, will be visible from all sides. This will negatively affect the aesthetics of headsets (especially kitchens with classic designs). To install the lighting in the area of ​​the doors, it is necessary to use a set of handle profiles and other technology.

Backlight mounting methods
There are three ways to fix the profiles on the furniture: glue them, put them on tape, screw them on with self-tapping screws. Each method has its own pros and cons.

Fastening with self-tapping screws
A simple and quick way to ensure accurate and secure fixing of your kitchen lighting system. Self-tapping screws are not visible from the side, since their caps are inside the profile and are covered with an LED strip. However, this practical method also has a serious drawback – after dismantling the system, visible holes from the screws will remain on the hinged modules. Therefore, this method is ideal for fixing the lighting system for the entire life of the kitchen. It will no longer be possible to remove or move it without compromising the aesthetics of the furniture.

When fastening with self-tapping screws from the inside of the profile, there is a possibility that the caps will protrude far and prevent the LED strip from starting normally. Therefore, it is advisable to use special fastening clips. They must first be screwed to the furniture with self-tapping screws, and then the profiles must be snapped into them. The clips securely hold the lighting system in suspension and allow you to quickly remove it when replacing the LED strip.

Fixation on tape
You cannot use ordinary double-sided tape to fix the lighting system based on aluminum profiles. A special heat-resistant tape is required. After all, LEDs generate enough heat to heat the profile. At elevated temperatures, ordinary scotch tape quickly loses its properties, and the entire system can collapse on the countertop.

Fixing on double-sided tape allows you to quickly install the lighting system and, if necessary, quickly dismantle it without consequences for the furniture. However, even heat-resistant tape won’t last forever. Therefore, when choosing this method of fastening, you need to be prepared for the fact that the profiles will sometimes come off.

Fixing with glue
Fixing the profiles with glue is long and inconvenient. The only plus of this method is the reliability of fixation. However, it must be borne in mind that after gluing the profiles cannot be removed. Upon completion of their dismantling, traces of glue and even tears will remain on the front surface of the lower shelves.

RGB or regular tape?
At this stage, you need to decide on the functionality of the lighting system. If you plan to install it for the sake of a decorative effect, then you need to buy an RGB tape with colored LEDs. However, in this case, you need to be ready to sacrifice practicality for the sake of beauty – not everyone is comfortable cooking with such lighting. For comfortable work on the countertop, tapes are usually used that have a different glow color:

You can choose any option depending on which spectrum is most comfortable for the eyes. You also need to consider the power of the tape. For normal lighting of the countertop, about 15–20 W / m is sufficient.

Push-button switches, chain switches, proximity sensors, remote control
The choice of control option for the lighting system depends on its operational characteristics and installation features.

Conventional switches: pushbutton or chain
When choosing the traditional way of controlling the lighting system, there is no need to purchase additional components. It is enough to purchase a push-button or chain switch and cut it in any convenient place. Despite the fact that this method is considered morally obsolete, it is still chosen for its simplicity and reliability.

Non-contact sensors
You can turn on and off the backlight in the kitchen with a wave of your hand or adjust the sensors so that they react to any other movement. This modern method may seem convenient at first glance.

However, there are nuances – the sensor needs to be installed in such a place so that it works only when you really need to turn on or off the light. This is not so easy to do. Therefore, when choosing this method, you need to be prepared that sometimes the light will turn on and off in inappropriate situations.

It is also possible to integrate a compact dimmer that will react to touching a metal surface. However, this method cannot be called 100% non-contact, as well as the use of separate touch switches.

Remote control
A practical and convenient option is to control the system remotely . The method is ideal for those who do not lose remote controls. When organizing such control, you will need to additionally install a receiver to receive and convert commands from the remote control (usually this device is included in the kit).

When choosing a remote control as the main way to control the kitchen lighting, you can play it safe – additionally install a conventional switch. This option is ideal for those who have a knack for losing remotes in tight spaces. Also, the combined method allows you to insure yourself in case the batteries run out or the radio signal receiver breaks down.

Power supply and controller for RGB tape
A limited number of LED strips are adapted for the 220-230 V network. Moreover, they are not suitable for use in furniture fixtures. Suitable tapes operate on 12 V, therefore power supplies are required to connect them .

These devices convert the mains voltage to the required parameters. Blocks come in different capacities, so you need to perform a calculation for your system. It is very simple to do this – you need to multiply the linear power of the selected tape by the total length of the lighting system. The resulting value must be multiplied by the safety factor (1.25), which will provide the system with additional power reserve, which is necessary for stable operation.

If you plan to use an RGB tape, then you will need to select a special control unit for it – an RGB controller . Usually, it comes with a remote control that allows you not only to turn on and off the system, but also to change the settings. There are also simplified models, in which the key for switching colors is located on a compact body. According to the method of control, controllers with a remote control can be divided into the following types:The controllers have different output power, which ranges from 72-288 watts. It is calculated in the same way as when selecting a power supply. When choosing a controller, you need to pay attention to the functionality. Depending on the modification, these devices are capable of switching colors, turning on the flickering mode, changing the brightness of the glow and the speed of changing the operating modes.