There are a number of reasons why specialised lighting might be included in joinery. The most familiar is under kitchen cabinet lighting which provides focused task light onto the work surface. When linked to its own dedicated switch it also allows sufficient light for that night time visit to the kitchen as well as behaving as accent lighting when entertaining in an open plan kitchen dining space.
Joinery lighting can however offer so much more. Not just as a task light but as an intrinsic part of your whole lighting scheme providing gentle, dimmable, ambient lighting while transforming your humble shelves into works of art.
How is this look achieved? Well, one of the most effective ways is to use an LED tape in a slimline aluminium channel recessed into the shelf itself. Using a good quality warm white LED located near the front edge of the shelf the result is a cosy light that becomes part of your lighting scheme as well as making your collection of precious items that bit more special. Don’t forget, on the top shelf above eyeline, fit the strip in the base of the top shelf so it shines up, lighting the topmost recess to finish the look without you seeing the strip.
If you don’t want to see the LED at all, another technique that needs a little more consideration at the planning stage is to backlight the alcove or unit. Using floating shelves that sit a little way off the wall, the tape is fitted invisibly to the back edge of each shelf and either shines onto the rear wall or, using as specialist channel, up and down behind the shelves. The striking contrast this backlighting effect creates has its own drama and is truly effective in areas where books fill the shelves and would otherwise compromise any light shining down from the shelf above.
If you’re looking for a little more drama, consider mini recessed spotlights. Their focused beams make them ideal for spotlighting specific works of art and they can be tailored and located very specifically to suit a well curated display. Coloured glass really pops when lit this way and notice how the arcs of light hitting the rear wall behind the shelf add that additional architectural detail.
And don’t forget, there’s no rule that says you can’t combine both techniques in one space. How you use the shelves and what you want to display should dictate how you light them.
Whichever option you choose, remember, planning ahead and choosing the best quality fittings you can afford is key. Both LED tape and mini spotlights will require remote drivers to power them so make sure you make provision for this with your electrician before construction. If you do all of this the impact it will have on your interior will be well worth the effort.