Over Cabinet lighting is mainly done in order to enhance the feeling of a kitchen or to provide ambient lighting for a family room by lighting behind or above the entertainment center. Over cabinet lighting adds an additional layer of light to the general lighting of a room which makes a room feel friendlier and will reduce TV watching eyestrain by softening the contrast. Over cabinet lights are usually linear and have close bulb spacing so that you don’t see individual bright and dark spots. The idea is to create a uniform glow on the ceiling to supplement the lighting in the room. Over cabinet lights can also be used as a night light to add safety for both young and old. Do not use puck lights as over cabinet lights they are designed to shine downward and if directed up, they will build up heat and most likely shatter the glass lens. Proper over cabinet lights are uniform and small in size to fit on top of cabinets or entertainment centers without being seen. LED rope lights are often used as over cabinet light fixtures since they save energy and can be left on for long periods of time. LED rope lighting will last for up to 60,000 hours, which may be 12 years or more, eliminating bulb replacement or other maintenance associated with incandescent cabinet lighting. LED rope light is dimmable with most standard incandescent dimmers and only uses .8 watt per foot of light. LED rope light kits are sold in different lengths that interconnect so that you can make semi-custom lengths for lighting above any cabinets.
Incandescent rope lights are popular for over cabinet lighting since they have a very small upfront cost. Over time, you’ll save more money in the long run by using LED rope lighting, but either one is an effective over cabinet light. Incandescent rope light last for an average of 25,000 hours and by using a dimmer, you can save energy and lengthen the average life span.
Determine the length of the run by measuring from the wall to the front edge of the cabinets, along the face of the set of cabinets, then along the back of the cabinet. Keep in mind that the light at the back should be about 6” from the wall so it doesn’t create a “hot spot” and look odd. Rope light comes with clips to secure the rope lights in place and, in general, you will need no more than one clip per foot of rope. For convenience, plan to use or install a switched 120V AC outlet for controlling the over cabinet light.