Installing Under Cabinet LED Lights – “How-To Tuesdays”

by Rachel Laurendeau on February 7, 2013

Welcome to our first installment of “How-To Tuesdays”. This series will teach you the basics of simple do-it-yourself home improvement projects.

In today’s “how-to,” we’re going to learn how to install plug-in LED lights. If even this DIY project seems a bit daunting to you, consider purchasing wireless LED lights. They are battery operated and all you need to do is either stick or screw the mounting hardware onto the underside of your upper cabinets. I haven’t tried these so I can’t vouch for the amount of light that they throw or for how quickly they go through batteries. Alternatively, if battery operated or plug-in types of lighting don’t appeal to you, call in the pros and have them take care of the home wiring involved in hard-wired lights.

Installing Plug-In LED Light Strips

1. Read package instructions, if they differ from this tutorial, follow the manufacturer’s specified instructions.
2. Measure your space to determine your lighting needs. LED strip lighting can be purchased by the foot and cut to the length you need. You can buy kits with all of the required parts or you can buy them individually. Generally buying a kit is the better way to go for a simple project like this one. Once you get the light strips home, measure for placement and mark the underside of the cabinet with a pencil.
3. LED lights cannot be plugged directly into a regular power outlet. They require an adapter to convert the power down to 12 volt DC power. You will need a DC plug connector to connect the light strips to the 12V adapter.
4. Once you have laid everything out, connect all of the pieces: adapter, accessories such as dimmer or toggle switches, connector, strip lights. There will be an inter-connector cable between each of the light strips so that you can plug them all into the same outlet. Plug in.
5. Peel off the protective paper from the backs of the light strips and stick the LED lights under your cabinets. If you have purchased light strips that are not self-adhesive, you will need to screw the mounting hardware to the underside of the cabinets and then insert the light strips into the clips.

Green Tip: LED lighting is bright, energy-efficient and the bulbs last much longer than conventional incandescent bulbs.

If you’re tired of working in the shadows, installing under cabinet lighting in the kitchen will brighten up your workspace and counters. It’s an easy project that anyone can do, even without an electrician’s knowledge and skills.


Related articles: Brighten Up the Kitchen – Kitchen Lighting Essentials and Bathroom Lighting Essentials.

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