Dress Your Cabinets for Success with Light Rail Molding

August 28, 20153 comments

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.

section of kitchen cabinets showing light skirt on shaker style with stone backsplash
In the kitchen pictured above, I used a simply styled angular light rail molding to complement the classic Shaker cabinetry.

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.

maple raised panel wall cabinets with glass doors and stepped light rail and crown molding
Notice how the angular door panel routs and stepped door frame edges on the cabinets above are reflected in the style of the light rail and crown molding for an elegant, traditional effect.

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.

inset maple cabinets with finely detailed door style and hand-wiped glaze are trimmed with decorative light rail and crown moldingThese finely detailed cabinets are trimmed with slightly ornate light rail and crown molding for a rustic, country effect.

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.

Showing 3 comments

  1. Patty Reply

    Can some one come to my home & show ,talk & tell me what I can do & __most importantly how much on that VISIT?

    • CliqStudios Design Reply

      Hello, Patty,

      First I’ll answer your second question – how much does it cost? Our professional, personalized design service is completely free, with no obligation to buy.
      You start by sending us measurements and photos of your current space and tell us a little about your goals. Use this form: Cliq Design Studio. Your designer will contact you and use phone, email, text and screen sharing to develop a design and show you how your new kitchen will look. After you have made as many revisions as you like, the designer will send you a packet that includes a detailed floor plan with cabinet installation notes, images of your new kitchen, and an itemized quote for cabinetry.
      I hope you give our online design process a try – many of our customer say they initially had reservations about working online, but were very pleased with the skills of the designers and the results.

      • CliqStudios Design

        And, Patty, I should add – another option is to have a contractor look at your space and tell you what can be done, then have our kitchen designer work with you and/or your contractor to be sure the cabinet plan fulfills your unique needs and is the best value for your investment.

Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>