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The Complete Guide to Under Cabinet Lighting

Use this section to find definitions of terms related to under cabinet lighting.
Accent Lighting: lighting that is used to accent or highlight a particular object such as a
work of art. To be effective accent lighting should be approximately four or five times the
level of ambient light in the room, area, or space. Houseplants can be accented by
aiming an uplight at the wall behind the plant, creating a dramatic silhouette of the plant
against the wall.
Ambient Lighting: general lighting that usually lights up an entire room or space.
Backlighting: lighting that illuminates an object from behind. The object to be
illuminated is placed between the intended viewer and the light source. If the object is
opaque, backlighting can cause the edges to "glow". With translucent objects (such as
stained glass), backlighting illuminates the object by passing light through it.
Backlighting is commonly used to accent artwork, photos, advertisements, or signage.
Ballast: an electrical device used with fluorescent lamps to supply sufficient voltage to
start and operate the lamp but then limit the current during operation.
Circuit: a pathway for the flow of electrons, including capacitors, resistors, and/or
transistors, connected by wires through which electrical current flows. If there is only
one path for the current, the circuit is called a "Series Circuit.” If there are multiple
paths, the circuit is called a "Parallel Circuit.”
Color Rendering Index (CRI): a measure of a lamp’s ability to render colors
accurately. The scale ranges from 1 (low pressure sodium) to 100 (the sun). A CRI of
85 is considered to be very good.
Color Temperature: a measure of the color appearance or hue of a light source which
helps describe the apparent "warmth" (reddish) or "coolness" (bluish) of that light
source. Generally, light sources below 3200K are considered "warm;" while those above
4000K are considered "cool" light sources. The color temperature of a lamp has nothing
to do with how hot the lamp will get or how much heat is given off by the lamp. The
letter, K, stands for Kelvin. This term is also referred to as the Correlated Color
Temperature (CCT).