Bookcase and Shelf Lights Tips
Shelf or bookcase lighting can make a shelving unit look a little more attractive while providing pleasant accent lighting to the contents of the unit. You can light an attractive vase, sculpture, framed photo, piece of china, curio, or crystal. Shelf lights have the ability to give both a professional look and the look of warmth by providing another “layer of light” to the entire room.
Our bookshelf lights use different light sources including LED, fluorescent, xenon, and halogen. Shelving lighting with any of these light sources might provide a good deal of light, a modest amount of light, or just a hint of light. It is sometimes a good idea to control the light output with a dimmer switch since this can provide a good deal of lighting flexibility. This cannot usually be done with fluorescent light sources but fluorescent lighting is still considered one of the more energy-efficient in providing a given amount of light. Moreover, all of our fluorescent fixtures turn on instantly without flickering because they all have instant start electronic ballasts. Xenon and halogen fixtures are incandescent light sources with a little bit of xenon or halogen gas introduced into the glass envelope to help lengthen the life of the lamp. A xenon or halogen bookshelf light produces a warmer, yellower light output, while fluorescent and LED usually have a cooler, whiter light.
Most of our shelf lighting fixtures are low profile. The LED tape light and other LED linear lighting solutions are probably the lowest profile. However, our recessed mounted puck lights and microfluorescent fixtures can also tuck easily in a small shelving unit and can be installed in a manner to minimize the amount of the light fixture that can be seen when looking at the bookshelf.
Looking for a quick and easy bookshelf lighting project? Perhaps the easiest shelf lights to install are any of the microfluorescent or, of course, any of the LED battery operated lights. The strip lighting is a little more difficult to install, as well as any recessed undermount lights that require holes cut in a metal or wooden shelf. You can install a grouping of lights wired in such a way so they are controlled by one light switch, or you can install individual shelf lights that use either a cord and plug or are battery-powered.
All of the xenon and halogen bookcase lights are fully dimmable. Some of the LED lights can be dimmed. None of the fluorescent or battery operated bookcase lights are dimmable. When using a shelf light with a cord and plug make sure to use a special dimmer that is designed to be used with plug-in light fixtures.
When installing bookshelf lighting make sure to keep in mind the amount of heat the fixture will emit. Does the shelving unit have a door? What is stored on the shelf? All of the fluorescent and LED light fixtures give off very little heat. The xenon bookshelf lights are definitely hotter, but still cooler than halogen. Line voltage (120 volts) halogen lighting is the hottest and for this reason we do NOT sell these types of shelf lights. We do sell low voltage halogen.
If you want to reap the benefits of bookcase lights without driving up costs, energy-efficiency is an important factor to consider. All of the LED light fixtures are the most energy-efficient to operate. However, fluorescent is the most efficient for the given amount of light that the fixture outputs. This means that fluorescent gives off more light for less energy than LED.