What is a Toe kick? It is a recess at the bottom of a base cabinet. Generally it is the same color as the cabinet frame or floors.
No one would think to put lighting there. The benefits? You will never miss another dust bunny or crumbs while cleaning!
Toe kick lighting can provide dramatic accent lighting without much cost. We will look at the different types with plenty of pictures to help you with your project.
You can light any toe kick in your house like in the kitchen, bath or a bar/entertainment unit. The kitchen is ideal because added accent lighting is great for entertaining. Lighting your toe kick in your bathroom is also a great idea because you don’t have to turn on all the lights for those late night trips.
There are two options of toe kick lighting, tape light and rope light. Here are the pros and cons of both.
Rope lighting has been around for a long period of time. It has a tough plastic coating and can be used outside or in other wet locations.
Rope lighting can be tricky to put into tight spaces, and cannot be bent at a 90 degree angle without breaking the wires. Rope lighting doesn’t hide as well as tape lighting. It can only be cut into certain lengths and the amount of the sections changes from size to size.
One of the disadvantages to take into consideration with rope light is that it gets very hot, so deciding where to place rope light is very important. Rope lighting usually is more expensive and color options are limited as rope light does not offer the RGB (red, green, blue) option.
GM LED lighting (16.4’ roll $350 high output) - High output is a great option because you can have the brightest as needed or dimming it down to where you want the light. Using tape lighting requires a transformer (price range $160-$180 depending what size you get).
The tape light has some really great advantages! LED tape is flat, so it is much easier to work with because it fits into tighter spaces. Tape light is less expensive than rope light and offers different colors including RGB color changing tape light.
LED also has better wattage than tape and will last longer at 22.3 years with 3 hours of usage per day.
Tape light does have a couple of disadvantages. The max run on a roll is 16.4’ which is great for small projects. As the projects become larger, it could get messy due to the fact that every section requires its own power source (transformer).
Toe kick lighting is a simple way to have a better lighting plan. It can accentuate your space for not much money. It can be used as accent lighting or safety light when used exclusively.
Good lighting design is about details and layering your lighting sources. Lighting your toe kick can add that different aspect and distinguish your kitchen, bath or bar.
Get the Yale Kitchen Lighting Buyers Guide and learn how to properly light your kitchen. With explanations and plenty of pictures, the guide will inspire you for your project. Over 130,000 people have read a Yale Guide.
Monica Kao is a Lighting Consultant at Yale Appliance + Lighting. Monica is a certified ALA Associate and has a passion for lighting and interior design. She also is a huge Denver Broncos fan and loves spending time with her 2 daughters.
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