Tips & Techniques


Shelf & Joinery Lighting

Here we help you understand how to use different shelf and bookcase lighting ideas within your project. We will take a look at different application ideas and how to position the lights. A great architectural lighting tool, joinery lighting can add an indirect softness and at the same time create a feature in the room. Think of shelves as a window in the room or even like a wall light.

With the most comprehensive range of shelf and joinery lights on the market, you can be assured of finding the right solution for your project.


Miniature spotlights can be used to create focused pools of light onto specific objects as part of your shelf lighting scheme. This works to good effect when the shelves are divided into small sections with a single feature in each. Here the miniature Lucca 30 downlight lights each individual vase making them sparkle. The Minim is also a fantastic solution for discreet downlighting within shelving and can be used for recessed task and display lighting. It is the size of an earbud so ideal where space is limited yet it still packs a punch. The Vorsa Dot is another alternative, a miniature spotlight ideal for lighting individual objects.

light artwork and sculptures within shelving with the minim joinery light

The simplest option is to front light your shelves with a Contour LED strip. This requires a simple down stand on the shelf. Sometimes you can use bare LED tape on a heat sink however using an aluminium profile with an opal cover will prevent any dotting effect and is usually the best solution. The choice depends on the detail and finishing of the shelf. This solution provides a very even light from the front suitable for most objects. The Vorsa Dot track mounted flood and spotlight is also an effective solution for front lighting in shelves and joinery. With multiple different optics, it allows lighting to be tailored according to the display.

front lighting of shelving in living room as an excellent joinery lighting idea

A different concept for your shelf lighting would be to back light the shelf by using a Contour LED strip.  You would conceal this with either a gap at the back of the shelf or a small upstand. This effect adds depth and drama and is particularly successful when there are a combination of objects, particularly glass and books as the light shines through. This is very dramatic when lighting objects but works less well with a full library of books.

beautiful art lit between two shelving units back-lit with LED strip as a carpentry lighting idea

The positioning depends on various factors such as; the reflective nature of the surfaces being lit, the colour of the surfaces, the object of the illumination. The lighting should be positioned so that it is always concealed from view and does not cause any unwanted shadows. Showing to great effect in this shot, the low glare Etta Eyelid which not only provides task light on the work surface below but also illuminates the objects creating discreet shelf lighting.

This positioning is similar to elements featured in our living room lighting ideas.

task and shelf lighting in this marble and wood kitchen elevation

Contour HD can be used for most shelf lighting applications. It works best when used in conjunction with an aluminium profile. For focused spots, a small Polespring 30 downlight or Lucca 30 downlight for wet areas can be used which require minimal recess depth. For a more miniature solution, the Minim is smaller than a 5p piece is both depth and height. For a larger spread of light choose the Etta Eyelid.  Another key product for joinery lighting is the new Vorsa Dot. Read more about all the options for joinery lighting in our Joinery Lighting brochure.

bar joinery unit with back lighting and downlighting