Using Under Cabinet Lights In Your Outdoor Kitchen

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Whether you’re building an outdoor kitchen for the first time, or updating yours for summer, under cabinet lights can be a valuable addition. Today’s blog post will explain what under cabinet lights can add to your outdoor kitchen, and how to find the right kind for you…

What Under Cabinet Lights Will Add To Your Space:

You need a light to rely on.

Most outdoor kitchens don’t have a constant source of ambient light. Unless your space is complete with a ceiling and some sort of overhead fixture, you can’t just rely on the sunlight. If you like the feeling of cooking in the open air, you’ll need some sort of task lighting, especially when preparing food after dark.

Despite all the variable conditions in the outdoor kitchen, adding lights to specifically illuminate your countertops will ensure you’ll always have adequate task lighting. The lights will come in handy when you grill meat or veggies, allowing you to check that they’re fully cooked before serving. Under cabinet lights help you see when mixing and pouring drinks, and fixing snacks as well. Having extra task lights will also help you see to thoroughly clean your outdoor kitchen, so leftover crumbs won’t attract unwanted pests.

Not to mention good task lighting adds a lovely ambiance to an outdoor space after dark.

Choosing Under Cabinet Lights For Your Outdoor Kitchen:

The first thing to look for in your under cabinet lights is water resistance. Unlike task lighting in a regular kitchen, these need to hold up under the elements. They’ll probably be exposed to rain, so always look for fixtures that are rated for use in wet locations.

Secondly, you should always use LEDs. Unlike other light sources, LEDs don’t emit UV rays, which is what attracts insects to light. There’s hardly much that’s grosser than preparing guacamole while dodging a swarm of moths and gnats. Using LEDs will let you avoid the nuisance altogether.

Then, determine what style fixture you need, depending on the structure of your kitchen…

  • If you have traditional cabinets or shelves, you can use a more traditional style of under cabinet light. Mount rope lights or indoor/outdoor puck lights underneath the lowest shelf for the perfect task lighting.
  • If you have a raised bar or ledge above your counter (but no shelves), you’ll need something very low-profile so it doesn’t get in the way. Here you should use LED tape lights for a sleek look. They’ll stick to the lip of your overhang to provide bright task lighting.
  • For an outdoor kitchen against a wall, with neither cabinets or a bar, you have to get a little more creative. You can run a rope light where the wall and counter meet, or attach a series of battery operated night lights to the wall so they cast beams down onto your counter.
  • The trickiest kind of outdoor kitchen to light is one with a flat counter and no bar or walls. If you have a pergola or some sort of overhang, it might be easiest to hang pendants or rope lights to illuminate the counters from above. If your kitchen is simply in the open air, you should try embedding recessed accent lights directly into the countertop for extra brightness.

For more information, visit the under cabinet lighting page on our website.

Annie Josey

Annie was the E-Commerce Marketing Specialist at Pegasus Lighting from June 2012 to October 2013. She has a background in English literature, and loves using language to help illuminate the world. So covering lighting news and tips naturally fit her interests. In her personal time she enjoys painting, biking, and reading.

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