How to Install Under Cabinet Lighting

Video How to Install Under Cabinet Lighting

There is a lacking ingredient in most American kitchens, and it is not a $7,500 vary or a 4-acre fridge. No, it is merely good lighting. And a well-lit kitchen begins with underneath cupboard job lighting.

These hidden fixtures, that are pretty simple to retrofit beneath higher wall cupboards, bathe the countertop in shiny white mild—a boon for every thing from dicing veggies to studying recipes. Join the fixtures to a dimmer change, as proven right here, and also you even have the important thing to dramatic accent lighting or an evening mild for midnight snackers.

In case you’re a bit tentative about working with electrical energy, don’t be concerned. This set up is straightforward and shock-free, so long as you narrow the juice on the breaker field first.

For individuals who wish to improve their kitchen with underneath cupboard LED lighting (seen within the video above), the set up isn’t as easy and requires somebody with skilled electrical expertise.

Below Cupboard Lighting Overview

Under Cabinet Lighting Parts Illustration by Gregory Nemec

The way to Set up Below Cupboard Lighting

1. Hint define of recent electrical field

Man Traces Outline Of New Electrical Box For Under Cabinet Lighting Installation Photograph by Kolin Smith
  • Flip off the electrical energy to the kitchen on the predominant electrical panel. To make certain the ability is off, plug a radio into the countertop wall outlet you may be tapping for electrical energy, and ensure the radio stays silent when switched on. Or you need to use a lamp—and ensure it does not mild.
  • Unscrew the wall plate, then disconnect the wires from the receptacle and take away it from {the electrical} field.
  • The field is nailed to a wall stud on one aspect or the opposite. Discover out which by peeking between the edges of the field and the drywall.
  • Maintain a two-gang, old-work electrical field over the prevailing field within the wall so the enlargement of the opening is on the unattached aspect of the prevailing field—away from the stud—after which hint round it with a pencil.

2. Take away outdated electrical field

Man Removes Old Electrical Box For Under Cabinet Lighting Installation Photograph by Kolin Smith
  • After enlarging the opening, be sure that the cable coming into {the electrical} field is free, then use a flat pry bar to take away it.
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3. Run a brand new size of cable

Man Runs A New Cable For Under Cabinet Lighting Photograph by Kolin Smith
  • Maintain the sunshine fixture in place and find the prescored knockout gap within the again.
  • Mark the wall straight out from this “knockout” plug. Use a stud finder to see if there is a wall stud between the mark and the opening for {the electrical} field. If that’s the case, transfer your mark to the opposite aspect of the stud.
  • Use a ½-inch-diameter spade bit to drill by way of the wall immediately under the higher wall cupboard.
  • Reduce a size of 12/2 NM (nonmetallic) electrical cable lengthy sufficient to succeed in from the ½-inch gap to the two-gang field gap, plus 24 inches.
  • Feed one finish of the cable into the ½-inch gap bored within the higher backsplash wall.
  • Then gently attain into the opening the place {the electrical} field will probably be put in, seize the cable finish and pull it by way of into the kitchen.

4. Set up the sunshine fixture

Man Drills A Light Fixture Into Underside Of Kitchen Cabinet Photograph by Kolin Smith
  • Take away the duvet and the steel socket strip that holds the bulbs from the sunshine fixture so you’ve gotten room to work.
  • Maintain the fixture in opposition to the underside of the cupboard, then slide it ahead till it is hidden behind the cupboard’s entrance edge.
  • Screw it to the cupboard with the screws offered.
  • Use a slotted screwdriver to pry the spherical knockout plug from the rear of the sunshine fixture.

5. Set up cable connector

Man Installs Cable Connector For Under Cabinet Lighting Photograph by Kolin Smith
  • Set up a cable connector within the knockout gap to carry the cable in place and defend it from the fixture’s sharp edges.
  • Strip away 6 inches of the outer plastic sheathing from the tip of the cable.
  • Feed the cable by way of the connector.
  • Tighten the connector screws to safe the cable. Be certain the connector clamps down on the cable’s plastic sheathing, not the person wires.

6. Set up the brand new electrical field

Man Installs New Electrical Box For Under Cabinet Kitchen Lighting Photograph by Kolin Smith
  • Maintain the brand new, two-gang electrical field near the opening you narrow within the backsplash wall.
  • Feed the tip of the prevailing cable—the one which was connected to the receptacle—into the two-gang field.
  • Then pull the tip of the cable coming from the sunshine fixture into the field additionally. Subsequent, push the field into the opening and press it tightly in opposition to the wall.
  • Be aware that the field has two screws, one in every diagonal nook. As you start to tighten the screws, the field’s plastic fins will flip up behind the drywall.
  • Proceed to tighten the screws till you’re feeling the fins pull tight in opposition to the rear of the drywall, locking the field in place.
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Tip: Earlier than sliding the two-gang field within the wall, check it to ensure the fins pop up.

7. Set up a GFCI outlet

Man Installs A GFCI Outlet Photograph by Kolin Smith
  • Be a part of the naked copper grounding wires from each the prevailing and new cable with a inexperienced pigtail connector.
  • Off the remaining cable, separate the white wire, and minimize two 8-inch-long items. Strip ½ inch of insulation off their ends and be a part of them to each white wires within the field with a wire connector.
  • Fasten the opposite finish of one of many 8-inch white wires to the silver GFCI screw terminal marked “white-wire line.”
  • Reduce two 8-inch-long black wires, strip off ½ inch of insulation, and be a part of them to the black wire coming from the prevailing (receptacle) cable.
  • Fasten the free finish of one among these wires to “hot-wire line” GFCI terminal.
  • Wrap the pigtail across the inexperienced grounding screw on the GFCI, leaving not less than 4 inches of wire protruding past the screw.
  • Peel the plastic sheathing off the remaining cable you purchased, separate the white wire, and minimize two 8-inch-long items. Strip a 1/2-inch of insulation off their ends with wire strippers and be a part of them to each white wires within the field with a wire connector.

Tip: Twist wires along with lineman’s pliers earlier than screwing on wire connectors.

8. Join the brand new dimmer change

Man Connects New Dimmer Switch For Under Cabinet Lighting Photograph by Kolin Smith
  • Take the free finish of the remaining 8-inch black wire and join it to the black wire on the dimmer change, utilizing a wire connector.
  • Connect the dimmer’s yellow wire to the black wire coming from the newly put in mild fixture.
  • Join the naked copper floor wire coming from the GFCI to the dimmer’s inexperienced grounding wire, utilizing a wire connector.
  • Join the ultimate white wire to the dimmer’s white wire, utilizing a wire connector.
  • Fastidiously fold the surplus wires into the field, then safe the GFCI and dimmer change with the screws offered.
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Tip: For LED lighting, make certain the change is designed particularly for LED use.

9. Finalize fixture and wall plate

Man Screws In Fixture And Wall Plate On Under Cabinet Lighting Photograph by Kolin Smith
  • Begin by reinstalling the socket strip within the fixture, however do not put the bulbs in place simply but.
  • Inside every fixture are a white, a black, and a inexperienced wire. Join them to the wires of the identical shade coming from the cable, utilizing wire connectors: black to black, white to white, and naked copper to inexperienced.
  • As soon as the wiring is full, add the bulbs to the socket strip and set up the duvet on the fixture.
  • Then screw on the two-gang wall plate.
  • Flip the ability again on and check your work.

Tip: By no means contact a halogen bulb along with your naked arms; your pure pores and skin oils can injury the bulb. It might additionally get extraordinarily scorching!

Completely different Sorts of Gentle Bulbs

Different Types Of Light Bulbs Illustration by Gregory Nemec

There are three fundamental sorts of bulbs used for underneath cupboard lighting: fluorescent, quartz-halogen, and xenon.

Fluorescents burn cooler, use much less electrical energy, and are extra reasonably priced; however they’ll hum, flicker, and produce a yellowish mild. Select a fluorescent fixture with a high-quality digital ballast for fast begins and quiet operation, and use a cool-white bulb. Fluorescent fixtures function at common line voltage (120 volts).

Halogen and xenon bulbs value extra to function and change, however they emit a really shiny white mild. Halogen’s mild is brightest, however xenon burns cooler and lasts longer. Xenon fixtures use low voltage; a transformer steps the voltage down from 120 to 12 or 20 volts. Halogen fixtures come both approach. If selecting low voltage, search for a fixture with a built-in transformer.


Please see more summary list Best placement for under cabinet lighting for your needs? You are at the right place. We recognize that amidst so many choices in the market, it can be perplexing and confusing to make the right pick.


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