Installing under cabinet lighting makes a kitchen look larger and more functional, but it can be hard to choose. Here is a collection of simple options & pro tips!
Under the cabinet lighting is a budget savvy way to update your kitchen. Whether your goal is to showcase cabinets or countertops, or to simply add some mood lighting- there are many choices available to consumers.
I am sort of on a crusade these days because having proper lighting isn’t just a luxury, there are a whole host of benefits of having the right lighting in the right place like learning how to space lights on an island or picking the perfect welcoming entryway chandelier.
1. LED Direct Wire
We chose this 24-inch LED Direct Wire model from Home Depot during our kitchen remodel because it is dimmable and has bulbs that can be changed, but the wires are completely hidden from sight. The lights are connected to each other and then to an outlet. We cut a small hole in the wall under the cabinets and fished the wire over to an outlet box. This type of installation does require that you can wire a wall switch.
Our kitchen light casts a cozy glow in the evening and they are super low maintenance. They also can be installed with a dimmer and turn off with a convenient light switch. I couldn’t be more pleased with the choice we made.
2. LED Tape Lights
Another popular trend in cabinet lighting is LED tape lights. This style of under cabinet lighting is easy enough for a novice to install and can be used in places that would be hard to install otherwise like the insides of cabinets.
Tape lights adhere directly to cabinets; use connectors to tailor the strip to desired lengths. My friend at Honeycomb Home offers a great tutorial on how she did hers.
Important tips for Tape Installation
- Access to an outlet is required.
- Drilling through cabinets may be necessary for install.
- Basic working electrical knowledge is strongly suggested.
3. LED Wireless Puck Lights
Looking for a completely no-fuss wireless lighting solution? Choose puck lights like this easy to install set. This style features dimming and remote-control options. No electrical outlet, wiring or drilling is required so it’s a great option for any level of DIY experience.
Pro tip: invest in rechargeable batteries for budget efficiency.
Oh Everything Handmade has a good tutorial and shows how this style of lighting looks.
LED Wired Spotlight Installation
Wired spotlights definitely have the most design flexibility. They can be installed individually for a spotlight effect or grouped for an effect similar to strip lighting. These lights are not adhesive, therefore access to an outlet is required.
The Ikea LED spotlights featured here do not require any previous electrical knowledge for installation. Dimmer is sold separately.
Frequently asked questions
LED, or light-emitting diode, is typically the most energy efficient and common choice for under cabinet lighting.
LED lights generally last about 10 years before you’ll need to replace them. The interesting thing about LED lights is that they don’t “go out” the same way that incandescent bulbs do. Instead, LEDs get gradually weaker and more dim over time.
The color put out by LED lighting can range from bright white to more of a yellowish tone. It really comes down to your own preference and what tone you like best with your cabinetry and lighting. The color your LED lights project are measure in color temperature. Here is a simple guide to help you choose what tone you like best:
Warm White: 27,000k-35,000k
Cool White: 41,000k
Neutral White: 32,000k-35,000k
Yellow Light: Under 32,000k
I hope this cast some light on the best option for your cabinet lighting project. Feel free to message me with any questions- I’m always happy to help. Happy DIY’ing!
Looking for more kitchen inspiration? Take a look at some of these other projects:
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