The Power of Integrated Cabinet LEDs

When you imagine perfectly designed cabinets, you might picture Shaker doors or gorgeous hardwood. Like most people, however, you probably don't pay too much attention to lighting.

Once you discover just how powerful high-end cabinet lighting can be, however, you'll never want to return to the dimly lit, washed-out kitchens of yesteryear. Integrated lighting can prove transformative for meal prep, family gatherings, and many other functions in your kitchen and beyond.

This is a clear priority at Plain & Fancy. We've worked hard to establish ourselves as a leader in integrated lighting. We're fascinated by the latest lighting technology and eager to incorporate these developments whenever possible. We believe that it's possible to enhance even the most traditional cabinets with the most advanced lighting solutions available. Keep reading to learn more about our integrated LED offerings and the advantages they hold for your custom cabinets.


Lighting Program Origins

Our integrated lighting journey at Plain & Fancy began in 2009, when we completed an installation in New York City's Hafele Showroom. This iconic Manhattan space has long displayed some of the most cutting-edge lighting solutions.

At the time, integrated LEDs were just beginning to take over upscale designs. We were pleased to be a part of this lighting revolution, as we believed then — like we do now — that functional, yet stylish lighting is the mark of an elite kitchen.

Quality lighting has remained a priority. We've maintained a partnership with Hafele, giving us a clear edge in the cabinet lighting game. We quickly perfected the art and science of embedding LED lights into channels both in and under cabinets.

Today, our engineering team receives extensive training to ensure that each installation gets the elite craftsmanship our clients demand. From locating outlets to specifying drivers and even completing installation diagrams, our experts have done it all — and they're clearly passionate about their work.


Our Latest Successes

As lighting technology evolves, we make a concerted effort to keep up with the most cutting-edge developments. We're excited to see an ever-expanding array of solutions that promise to meet our clients' every need.

Following years of fine-tuning our approach, we've arrived at our 5th generation of integrated lighting. This latest generation corrects many problems that previously plagued even the most impressive lighting systems. Examples include:


Higher Color Rending Index (CRI) Ratings

Any lighting system should accurately reflect each color's natural appearance. This ability is denoted by a metric known as CRI. A low CRI suggests that colors look 'off.'

The CRI spectrum includes scores spanning between 0 to 100, with 100 representing the true colors of the object in question. Most designers aim for a CRI of at least 80, although 90 is definitely preferable.

Halogen light sources have traditionally received the highest CRI ratings, but that may be about to change. While this was once a clear area of weakness for LEDs, recent improvements have made it possible to achieve CRI scores of 90 or even higher.


Adjustable Colors 

Color temperature can have a huge impact on the general look and feel of any space. It sets the tone, for example, for contemporary digs or rustic vibes. Measured in Kelvins, this indicator determines whether lights appear warm or cool.

Our latest generation of LED lights provides an impressive range of color temperatures. At the lower end of the spectrum, 2700K lights add a sense of warmth, made possible by a yellowish tone. This should instantly make any space feel more welcoming. Many people prefer neutral lighting in the 4000K range, which forms a delightfully balanced tone.

If preferred, we can also achieve color temperatures of 5000K, which create a crisp appearance. This amplifies the clean lines of today's most contemporary spaces while enhancing functionality when attention to detail is important.



Better Lighting Control

Choosing the perfect color temperature is just the beginning. These days, control extends to several other components of lighting. Recent advancements in lighting technology have made it incredibly easy to adjust lights at a moment's notice.

Lutron dimmers, for example, deliver precise adjustments to ensure that lighting levels are always perfect for the task at hand. Smart lights can also be turned on and off from a distance.

Some people actually prefer to take a step back and relinquish lighting control if this delivers greater convenience. Such is the case with today's advanced systems of sensors, which can determine exactly when lights will prove necessary. Many solutions incorporate sensors that detect movement before promptly turning on the lights. Some even adjust light levels and quality based on the time of day.


Years of Quality Lighting

LEDs stand the test of time. Uniquely efficient, they can provide tens of thousands of hours of use. As such, most people can go years — or often, over a decade — without replacing them. Longevity is a clear priority at Plain & Fancy; our integrated LED lighting solutions last up to 50,000 hours.


Benefits of Integrated LED Cabinet Lighting

Our lighting program has come a long way in a few short years — and we certainly haven't undertaken such a considerable effort 'just because.' We strongly believe that high-quality lighting can make a world of difference for cabinets of all types.

The aesthetic advantages are impossible to ignore, but integrated LEDs also serve a functional purpose. Key benefits worth considering include:


Task Lighting for Greater Accuracy and Safety

Yes, a beautiful glow can instantly enhance your kitchen's appearance, but the number one goal of any lighting system should be functionality. This is especially true in the kitchen environment, where effective lighting can play a major role in meal prep, cleanup, and more. Without proper lighting, seemingly simple instructions become a lot more difficult to follow.

If poor lighting results in cooking mistakes, the taste of the meal is far from the only risk. This could also be worrisome from a safety perspective. From chopping produce to operating the stove, everything is more dangerous when you can't fully see what you're doing.

These safety implications can be especially alarming for older adults, who require brighter lights to counteract significant visual changes. Despite this, many seniors stick with the status quo, often because they're unaware that better lighting solutions are available.

Unfortunately, many kitchen cabinet lighting systems leave a lot to be desired. Often, they're strictly limited to overhead fixtures, or, perhaps, a window to let in some natural light. Either way, these solutions simply don't provide enough illumination for everyday functions. Cabinets and large appliances cast shadows, which can dramatically reduce visibility during critical tasks.

The solution? Integrated kitchen lights, which provide direct illumination when and where you need it. Nooks and crannies that might otherwise never see the light of day are suddenly visible. Custom solutions ensure that, no matter the layout, proper lighting is always provided.


Draw Attention to Visually Impressive Features

The best lighting systems enhance a space's most noteworthy features while also distracting the viewer from anything less aesthetically pleasing. Integrated under-cabinet lighting solutions accomplish this by calling attention to gorgeous counters or backsplash.

High-end lighting can also be applied within cabinets featuring glass doors. This allows prized possessions (such as gorgeous dishware) to shine.



Energy Savings

There's no denying the energy savings of LEDs, but these take a step up when you make the most of under-cabinet solutions. These targeted designs allow you to get the illumination you need without lighting the entire kitchen. This reduces overall consumption, providing a small, yet significant step towards maintaining an eco-friendly space. If such solutions are applied throughout the home, the difference can be considerable.


Versatile Lighting Designs

Integrated LEDs can take many forms. As we've touched on, two of the main categories include under-cabinet and in-cabinet lighting. These are further divided into major subcategories, such as strip lights and puck lights.

Strip lights are flexible and often, ornamental, bringing a subtle source of illumination to your home's most attractive areas. Meanwhile, puck designs work wonderfully for task lighting, although these lights can also form impressive accents.

While we've primarily touched on the use of integrated LEDs in the kitchen, these can also be incorporated throughout the entire home and even at business premises. The benefits highlighted above are quickly evident outside the kitchen environment.

In laundry rooms, for example, integrated solutions provide valuable task lighting while folding clothes or treating stains. In the bathroom, these promote an oasis-like atmosphere by keeping light levels low and subtle. Ambiance is also a priority for home bars, where integrated lighting helps you mix the perfect drink.


Plain & Fancy LED Integrations: Score the Ultimate Cabinet Glow-Up

Few transformations are as simple, yet delightful as integrated LED lights. At Plain & Fancy, we're pleased to make these integrations as accessible and customizable as possible.

If you're ready to discover just how bright your cabinets can shine, stop by one of our showrooms. You're also welcome to check out our Schaefferstown Design Center. Otherwise, don't hesitate to contact our design experts, who will be happy to discuss your vision.

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