One of the least expensive details in your kitchen cabinet order is the bottom trim on wall cabinets, referred to by designers as light rail molding. This humble strip of trim packs a powerful punch in terms of style and function.
A primary function of light rail is to conceal under-cabinet light fixtures and prevent glare. A shallow light strip tucked behind the cabinet face frame may be hidden from view when you work at the counter. The light may, however, present those seated in an adjacent living or dining room with an unsightly view and irritating glare. If the fixture is located at the front of the cabinet, an inch of trim will solve the problem.
Working in combination with the cabinet crown molding, the light rail (sometimes referred to as a light skirt) will frame and complete your design. Light rail molding should complement your cabinet door style while enhancing the overall effect you want to achieve. That may be a crisp, contemporary look, a more traditional feel, or a graceful transition between the new kitchen and the home’s original architectural detailing.
Light rail can be high or shallow, aligned with the cabinet or subtly projecting, and constructed from a wide variety of moldings. Your designer will have suggestions and will provide computer-generated images so you can see how it pulls the cabinetry together.
When adding light rail to a cabinet design, be careful to preserve the height of your countertop work space. The National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends a distance of 16” to 18” between the countertop and the lower edge of wall cabinets, including the light rail. Some building codes have even stronger requirements.
Do you have any tips to share with our readers? Please leave comments below, and watch for upcoming articles on under cabinet light fixtures and crown molding.