Avoiding Reflection From Under-Cabinet Lighting
Our expert, Randall Whitehead, IALD, suggests a bit of “counter” intelligence to eliminate glare.
What is the best way to avoid glare on a granite counter when using under-cabinet lighting?
While highly polished granite counter tops are still popular, what we are seeing in the design world is a move toward more matte finishes. Designers and builders are using concrete, marble, slate, soapstone, quartz and other composite materials for their countertops and moving away from the highly reflective surfaces. Granite too, is being specified in honed finishes. My favorite is a “flamed” finish, where the granite has a wonderful textural feel. Face it: A spectral surface is a mirror. It will reflect any light source, whether it is incandescent, fluorescent or LED. You can’t make a mirror stop being reflective unless you alter the surface. Or you could consider not dusting.
Randall Whitehead lighting designer
Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website www.randallwhitehead.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

Leave A Comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Well unfortunately we have

Well unfortunately we have highly polished quartzite counter tops(just installed) and had led strip lighting installed under upper cabinets. We have such a bad reflection on counters, looks like a landing strip. Do you know of an shield for the strip (tape) lighting that might buffer the reflection?

Glare and Relection

The challenge here is that if you point a light source at a reflective surface it will reflect back. If you install some sort of light shield along the bottom of the strip light it will essentially cut out most of the light.Adding a translucent lens will at least create an even line of illumination instead of the individual dots. What I'm using these days is an LED strip that's mounted at a 45° angle so that the light hits the backsplash and then back towards the work surface.Made by Aion (www.aionled.com). You could also install your existing strip inside the channel that re-positions it at that 45° angle. You can go to www.environmentallights.com to order the channel separately. This only works if the backsplash. As a matte surface to it. If you are using the same material for your backsplash, then you will still get the high reflectance.

Lastest from ask randall

I think that it's an aesthetic call, not hard science. Crystal-type chandeliers can hang lower, since you can see through them. The more modern drum-... read full story
You didn’t tell me what type of bulb you were using. I’m going to guess incandescent or halogen, since fluorescents or LEDs will not cause fading.... read full story
The quick formula is to add together the length and width of your room. The total of those two numbers is the suggested diameter of your chandelier... read full story
There are kits available made by two companies I know of that can transform a recessed downlight into a pendant light. Hopefully there is one... read full story


Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2-3 p.m. EST Sponsored by Emerson and Kuzco Lighting. Register for this free CEU webinar by clicking here. Webinar Overview:Learning units:AIA/CES LU (HSW... read full story
Sponsored by Bock Lighting, CSL, Fanimation, Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting and USA LED Lighting Solutions.   Wednesday, June 10, 2-3 p.m. EDT This free CEU webinar has... read full story
Sponsored by Emerson, Ferguson and Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting. This free CEU webinar has already taken place, but you can watch the archived presentation on-demand by... read full story

RL Tweets!