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Great Ideas For Plinth Lighting in The Home
Plinth lights are one of the many types of lights that are often overlooked when lighting a kitchen. Using plinth lights, you can bring illumination from top to bottom in a space and make it feel more welcoming. Read on to learn about this unique type of light.
How Bright Are LED Plinth Spotlights?
Plinth lights aren’t made to be remarkably bright. Instead, they are mostly there to illuminate the floor gently to make it easier to see while adding some ambient lighting. Because of this, they tend to be between one and three watts, giving off a soft, pleasing glow along the skirting boards, under cabinets and beyond.
A single watt of plinth lighting will generate around 122 lumens, for instance, which is the equivalent of a 10 watt light. A three watt plinth light will generate 250 lumens of light, which is the equivalent of a 25 watt halogen bulb. Knowing this, you can figure out the wattage of the bulbs you want to use to light the space accordingly.
Does LED Under Plinth Lighting Last a Long Time?
Much like other LED lights, an LED plinth light kit will include LED lights that are rated with a life of 20,000 hours. The Osram and CREE bulb brands are especially long lasting and will save you from having to constantly change them. If you keep the plinth lights on for six hours a day, for instance, you can expect them to work for a minimum of 10 years.
Their 20,000 rated lifespan is much greater than traditional halogen bulbs that only last for about 2,000 hours. Even CFL lights are only rated 15,000 hours, making LED bulbs worth the investment.
How To Use Kickplate Lighting in a Kitchen?
There are a few ways you can use LED plinth lights in your kitchen:
- ALONG THE KICKBOARDS. The most common way to use plinth lighting is on the plinths. These can be found beneath the cabinets, on the boards under appliances and along the base of an island.
- ABOVE THE CABINETS. Though most people place them along the kickboards in the kitchen as intended, some may also string them up above the cabinets on the walls. This provides a nice glow from above with ambient light that is hidden away, giving it a modern look.
- TO ADD DIMENSION. You can also add plinth lights to kitchens to give a layered effect. Layering will highlight various parts of the room and offer greater levels of visual interest. This is especially true when you use them in tandem with wall washing lights.
How To Combine Plinth Lights with Other Types of Light in the Kitchen?
Plinth spotlights look attractive when you pair them with other kinds of lights in your kitchen. Below are a few ways you can do this:
- WALL WASHING LIGHTS. As mentioned, pairing the skirting board lights with wall washing up and down lights can create smooth and seamless effects. Lights will seem to emanate up from the floor in a constant flow, providing plenty of visual intrigue and ambient lighting.
- You can create beautiful layers of lights by adding plinth lighting along the kickboards of your cabinets and island. Then, you can install countertop lighting along the bottoms of any floating wall cabinets above. Stovetop lighting is another easy way to layer lights and bring the illumination of the kick plate lighting from the ground up.
- CEILING LIGHTS. Using kickplate lights, you can coordinate the illumination in your kitchen. You can supplement with plinth lights in any dark areas that the ceiling light wouldn’t reach.
As a general rule, it’s best to choose a similar colour temperature for all of the lights and stick with it. If you combine cool and warm lights, it may produce an unattractive effect.
Kitchen plinth lighting, also referred to as kick plate or skirting lighting, are small, low-level lights that illuminate areas of the floor for the sake of ambiance and atmosphere. They are installed right onto the plinths, or kickboards, of a kitchen island, the cabinets or other such units. LED kickboard lights are often used for both their decorative and practical effects while also increasing the safety of the room.
LED skirting lighting has a specific job and that is to light the floor along the plinths or kickboards. While lighting the kickboards of islands and cabinets is their primary purpose, this type of lighting is also versatile enough to be used elsewhere. Plinth lighting can also be used to light:
- Kitchen kickboards
- Stair risers
- Skirting boards
- Hotel restaurants and lobbies
- Above wall cabinets
- Dressing rooms
You can get creative and install these plinth lights wherever there is a strip of space that could benefit from LED marker lights.
Kickplate lights do need a transformer. Otherwise known as a driver, the transformer is used to convert the 240 volt mains supply to a lower voltage, one that all LED lights require. This protects the LED bulb from dealing with any electrical fluctuations that might otherwise damage the bulb.
There are two types of drivers: internal drivers and external drivers:
This type of driver is usually found in household lightbulbs. Commonly, they are the lights that have plug in or screw in capability, such as CFL and incandescent lights.
This type of driver is usually used for commercial lighting. This could mean street lighting, warehouse lighting, area lighting and beyond. There are three types of external drivers:
- CONSTANT-CURRENT DRIVERS. These have a fixed output current as well as a variety of output voltages. Any given bulb will indicate what the amp requirements are for it and may have many requirements depending on the kind of bulb needed.
- CONSTANT-VOLTAGE DRIVERS. This kind of driver powers LEDs with a maximum output current and a fixed output voltage. In this type of light, the maximum current is regulated inside of the lamp, so the voltage just needs to be fixed at either 240V DC or 12V DC.
- A/C LED DRIVERS. This driver is used with a bulb that already has an internal driver and just detects the voltage of the bulb before converting the current to meet its power requirements.
Single drivers that allow you to operate up to nine lights in a string make them easier for you to install at one time, ensuring less wiring is needed. These drivers can be connected to a mains supply or instead used with a three pin plug at the top of the driver in order to connect it to the mains socket.
When you plan the placement of under plinth lighting, it is important to keep the lights spaced evenly with consistent space between them. It is generally thought that spacing lights every 500 millimeters will provide an excellent spread of light. If you don’t put enough distance between the lights, the resulting light becomes too concentrated to look nice. Certain LED lights also have a large beam angle, so you can install even less to get the desired amount of light.
For kitchen kickplate lights specifically, it is best to place one every 400-500 millimeters. This will provide a uniform and sleek appearance while shining plenty of light. Use the corners of the cabinets as a starting place and space the lights outwards in order to avoid shadows.
A lumen measures the amount of light that is output by any given bulb. Fewer lumens mean the light will be dimmer, while more lumens offer brighter light. In short, lumens equal brightness, whereas wattage does not. Wattage instead measures energy output. LED technology is energy efficient and can’t be relied upon like you can halogen bulbs to get an idea of the light amount using wattages. Lumens are instead used.
Get an idea of how watts translate to lumens with the examples below:
- A 100 watt bulb will transfer to a light with 1600 lumens.
- A 75 watt bulb will transfer to a light with 1100 lumens.
- A 60 watt bulb will transfer to a light with 800 lumens.
- A 40 watt bulb will transfer to a light with 450 lumens.
Since installing lights involve electricity, it is not a good idea to install them yourself. Instead, you should contact a qualified electrician to install plinth lights for you.
Plinth lighting is a simple way for you to add extra layers of illumination to your kitchen. They can be placed along kickboards beneath cabinets, appliances and islands to bring the light from top to bottom, making your kitchen more stylish and more practical.