Inspired LED 101: Minimizing the “Dot Effect”

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Welcome to the latest installment of Inspired LED 101. Today’s lesson- how to minimize the reflection of LEDs on glossy surfaces.

I spoke with a customer recently who had spent the past three months completely remodeling her kitchen. She had dedicated evenings and weekends to finding just the right cabinets and counter tops, perfecting every last detail of her kitchen’s style and color scheme, down to matching the grout to the baseboards. When the project was near completion, she realized that LEDs would be the perfect way to shine a little light on all of her hard work, so she ordered one of Inspired LED’s Hardwire Pro Series Kits. She was all ready to put the finishing touches on her new energy efficient lighting system when she noticed her glossy new granite gave off quite the glare!

By nature, LEDs (or light emitting diodes) produce light through individual diodes, which, when viewed directly appear as a series of bright dots. When compared to an even beam of light, especially via reflection, this phenomenon is referred to as the “Dot Effect”.

The good news is most people hardly even notice the “Dot Effect”. More often than not, our eyes naturally expect reflections when it comes to light. However, there are those, like the aforementioned customer, who prefer to reduce these reflections as much as possible. For those, Inspired LED offers a few tips and techniques for helping to reduce the ‘dot effect” when dealing with high-gloss surfaces…

1. The most commonly requested solution for the “dot effect” is to use a lens to help diffuse the light. Inspired LED’s Designer Series panels feature a texturized lens which helps to break up the light cast from each individual diode. The Designer Series panel is a simple, finished looking LED light which can significantly reduce the appearance of “dots” on your countertop. Of course, a reflective surface remains reflective- diodes or no, so this solution is best taken into consideration with the knowledge that in place of dots, there will still be a certain pattern of light left on the counter. For some, this makes a world of a difference! But if not, don’t worry, there are several other options to help minimize the “dot effect.”designer series rigid led panel

2. Our Radiant edge panels are the ultimate dot-eliminating solution, with a deep set frosted lens, this unique fixture completely diffuses the individual LEDs into a single “bar” of light. The Radiant Edge panels boast the seek design of a pre-finished fixture, and can be made in a wide variety of custom sizes and colors. Again, there may still be an element of light reflected on high gloss surfaces, but thanks to the diffusor, the dots will be evenly blended into a solid beam.

radiant series rigid panel

3. While lenses and diffusors are one way to help reduce reflections of individual diodes on high gloss surfaces, bare flex or uncovered panels remain a lower profile, and often more cost effective alternative lighting solution. So does this mean you have to choose between pricey fixtures or an obnoxious glare? Not at all! Inspired LED has come up with a handy technique to significantly reduce the “dot effect” from almost any under cabinet LED light, whether flexible strips, covered fixtures, or panels.

Dot Effect

Typically, contractors and home-owners will go for maximum down-lighting by mounting under cabinet LEDs about two inches from the front edge, facing toward the countertop. While this may be the most direct method of installation, it is also the most reflective.
So instead, Inspired LED Designers recommend adhering the LEDs to the inside of the cabinet lip, facing the backsplash. This technique eliminates the “dot effect” from almost any angle, and still provides enough ambient light to completely illuminate your counters! Take a our new tutorial below for more details, or check out our video on YouTube for a step-by-step guide.


For more LED tips, as well as further information about our products and services, visit us at or give us a call at 480-941-4286. If you would like assistance with your personal LED layout, be sure to take advantage of our expert Design Team! Services are free and can help to simplify almost any LED system within just a few days.