4 Ways To Illuminate Kitchen Countertops

Posted on: 29 November 2015

Many of the most popular kitchen countertop materials don't come cheap; yet, thanks to cabinets blocking overhead lighting, countertops are often among the darkest spots in the kitchen. Adding light to the area around the countertop -- or even the countertop itself -- allows you to brighten up your workspace for cooking and food prep and can also provide a decorative or aesthetic appeal to your kitchen. Some of the fanciest countertop light options can even serve as a cool conversation piece all on their own. Ready to brighten up? Check out these four ideas for illuminating kitchen countertops.

Under-Cabinet Lights

Under-cabinet lights might not be a new concept, but the technology available to homebuyers has changed dramatically with the widespread availability of LED lighting options. LEDs not only last longer than traditional light bulbs but also offer greater efficiency and more color and brightness options, even in small spaces. For discreet under-cabinet lights, pick puck or bar lights, which mount under the cabinets and illuminate the countertops below. For low-level accent and mood lighting, try LED tape or rope lights, which you can string along the entire length of cabinets or even under the overhang on your countertops. For ease of installation, stick with battery-powered lights, or hire an electrician to wire the lights in place permanently.

Backlit Backsplash

The backsplash above a kitchen countertop has traditionally been made of tile, though glass and metal panels are also popular in modern kitchen design. For a bit of brightness, consider backlighting your backsplash with LED lights. Store-bought versions consist of glass or acrylic panels framed in aluminum and are lit from behind by LED ropes or bars. If you have strong DIY skills, you can also create your own version using basic materials and light strips. Stick to white for basic task lighting and brightness, or use colors to add flair and set the mood in your kitchen.

Fiber Optics

Fiber optics consist of very fine woven fibers of glass or plastic, which are cast directly into concrete to transmit light. A fiber optic countertop can sparkle with hundreds or thousands of subtle, twinkling lights, or you can choose a version with a lighted design -- such as a curving river or food-related pattern -- built right in. This won't necessarily provide a great deal of task lighting, but it's a great way to add visual appeal and uniqueness to your countertops.

Backlit Countertops

You can make your entire countertop glow using LED panels installed beneath the countertop substrate. These panels provide a soft glow that transforms the countertop and come in both white and colored varieties as well as versions that change color on their own. You'll need a translucent substrate, which could include translucent stone, glass or resin to allow the light to shine through.