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How to Install Under Cabinet Lighting Like a Pro: The Ultimate Guide

Ditch the electrician and learn how to install under cabinet lighting like a pro with our step-by-step tutorial. Transform your kitchen in no time!

This post is brought to you by AQ Lighting. Thanks for supporting the brands that support this blog! Get 20% off your entire order with code S2M – JAN20

Do you want to add ambiance to your home?

Maybe you need improved task lighting in your house?

Or do you want to increase your home’s value?

Then under cabinet lighting may be your answer!

I know you could easily buy some cheap battery-operated stick-on lights.

But would they answer all three of the questions above?

I really don’t think so and let me tell you why…

Wall sconces with battery-operated lights provide a beautiful ambiance in your home.

But would battery-operated lights provide the best task lighting under kitchen cabinets?

Not only would they not give you enough light but you’d have the hassle of replacing the batteries.

If you have a closet without an electrical source then a battery-operated light may be the only option for you.

However, if you want quality under-cabinet lighting in your kitchen and have an outlet that can be used for your installation then keep reading.

If you want lights that will not only give you ambiance but also provide extra task lighting while adding value to your home…then you’re in the right place.

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Why Should You Install Ultra Thin LED Dimmable Under Cabinet Lighting

kitchen after installing undercabinet lighting with wood cabinets and black granite counters

We’ve already chatted about cheap battery-operated lights you could easily stick to the underside of your kitchen cabinet.

And that they may not provide enough task lighting for your needs in the kitchen.

Another option is tape lighting however, just like battery-operated lights they don’t provide great task lighting in your space.

If you’re looking for both types of lighting then the ultra slim LED lights that I installed are the best option since they’re dimmable.

Just think while you’re cooking dinner you can turn the lights up to their highest setting so you have extra task lighting on your counters.

Then in the evening you can dim the under cabinet lights for ambiance and set the mood for a relaxing night at home.

The LED light panel has a frosted polycarbonte diffuser instead of a bulb so it puts out a warm radiant glow.

And these LED lights are energy efficient, using just a fraction of the power of traditional halogen lighting.

The lights are commercial grade, lightweight, and very durable so they’re perfect for kitchens.

The flush mount lights would also be useful in other areas of your home like a bathroom, bar, office, or garage.

Do You Need to Hire a Professional to Install Kitchen Task Lighting

blogger holding Bluetooth switch in hand standing in kitchen by cabinets

Now that I’ve convinced you that you need these amazing under cabinet lights in your home, are you wondering how to install them?

This is the best part…they’re completely hassle-free!

You don’t need to hire an electrician or handyman to do this project.

Anyone can easily install these under cabinet lights in their home…from a novice to an experienced DIY’er.

Believe me…if I can do it so can you!

What Supplies Are Needed to Install Under Cabinet Lights

supplies from AQ lighting for under cabinet lighting installation

When you purchase your lighting from AQ Lighting you can sign up for a free consultation.

Speaking with an AQL expert helps you determine exactly what products you need to get your lighting project done right.

After my phone consultation, I received all the items I needed to install my under-cabinet lights.

Get 20% off your entire order with code S2M – JAN20

Remember every installation will be different depending on the size of your cabinets, electrical outlet location, and design of your space.

You will also need a few basic tools to complete this DIY lighting project:

Where to Access Power Supply for Plug-In Transformer

inside of empty upper cabinet with outlet inside

To avoid hiring an electrician or making holes in my walls, I opted for a plug-in transformer for the LED panels I was installing.

During my phone consultation, I informed the lighting specialist that I had an outlet inside a cabinet above our microwave that I wanted to use as the power source.

This cabinet isn’t used except to plug in our microwave, so I knew the transformer and additional wiring would fit in the space.

Using this cabinet also allowed us to install the lighting with fewer holes.

Since the outlet is in the middle, we were able to run the wiring out either side of the cabinet to light each side of the kitchen.

Should You Test Lights Before Installation?

woman's hands shown connecting lights with 6 inch jumper cables

It’s a good idea to lay all the components out on your countertops so that you can be certain everything works properly before you start your installation.

Connect each of the LED panels with the jumper connectors.

lighting laying on counters to configure before installation

Lay out each LED panel on the countertop under the cabinet it will be attached to.

I had two sizes, 16″ and 22″ depending on the width of each cabinet.

The double cabinets on the right of the microwave needed 22″ light panels and the other cabinets all required 16″ lights.

I also used different length jumper connectors depending on the span between lights under the cabinets.

Once the lights were all connected I plugged them in to be sure I had done everything correctly before we started installing them.

How to Attach Ultra Thin LED Lights to Cabinet Bottom

man securing light to bottom of kitchen cabinet

My husband Chris helped me install the new under cabinet lights.

We measured the width of each cabinet with a tape measure so that we installed each panel in the center of the cabinet from left to right.

But I wanted the lights to be a bit more to the front of the cabinet rather than in the middle so Chris held it for me and I measured the spacing I liked.

We secured the panel with screws that came with the lights in each corner using a drill/driver.

A little hack we used so we didn’t have to measure each cabinet was to use a piece of wood as a template.

Chris cut a scrap piece of MDF to size and just attached it to the underside of the cabinet with duct tape to hold it in place as he screwed in each LED light panel.

Tips When Drilling Holes in Cabinets

two hands applying painters tape inside cabinet before drilling into wood

We did have to drill two small holes on either side of the cabinet where the transformer was plugged into the outlet.

The wires from the transformer had to get to the first light on either side of our microwave.

When drilling into MDF it’s helpful to put a piece of painter’s tape to prevent the wood from splitting.

electrical wire thread in through side of cabinet and out bottom

There was already a hole in the middle cabinet from where the microwave cord was wired, so we just needed to drill one hole on the side near the top of the cabinet and another at the bottom.

Both holes were made near the front of the cabinet so we would see less of the wire (I’ll show more of that process later).

Another simple tip is to cover your counter and cooktop with a towel for easy clean-up of debris when drilling holes in your cabinets.

How to Install Plug-In Under Cabinet Lights

transformer and wifi box in upper cabinet

The plug-in transformer is housed in the cabinet above the microwave and cooktop but we needed to get power to either side of the kitchen.

To do that we plugged a DC plug jack Y splitter into the the transformer, then added a DC extension cable to each end of the splitter.

Next, the extension cable was threaded through the holes in the cabinets on either side of the microwave.

Then, the extension cable plugs into the jumper connector which then gets plugged into the LED light panel.

We also installed a smart lighting Bluetooth receiver which allows us to control our lights with a remote switch.

How to Conceal Under Cabinet Lighting Wires

staple gun securing jumper cables to bottoms of cabinets

To conceal the jumper connectors between the lights we used a staple gun to secure the wire to the bottom of the cabinet.

Tucking in any excess wire between the cabinets before stapling it.

We also attached the extension cables inside the cabinets to the front of the cabinet.

You can see we have a small space between the shelf and the front of the cabinet.

We took advantage of that space and ran the wire toward the front of the cabinet rather than trying to hide it in the back.

You can barely notice the wires inside our cabinets now that they are secured.

Under Cabinet Light Bluetooth and Wifi Capabilities

Bluetooth switch laying on counter top

When I consulted with my lighting specialist he told me about the Bluetooth and wifi capability I could get with my under cabinet lights.

I was thrilled that I’d be able to have under cabinet lighting that I could do myself without the expense of an electrician to hardwire them.

But then to find out I could plug them in and have a remote switch to turn them on and off and even the ability to dim the lights.

With a touch of a button, I could control the lighting.

I was sold!

small smart plug in wall outlet and laying on counter next to tray

But then he offered the capability to have them work with our existing Amazon Alexa or Google device in our home.

And now Chris was totally on board (not that he wasn’t already)!

My husband loves his smart devices and has most of our lighting hooked up to our Amazon Alexa already.

So this was a win-win for both of us!

All we had to do was put the smart receiver in the cabinet with the transformer and then plug in the smart wifi gateway.

It was so simple!

Before and After Under Cabinet Lighting Installation

side by side comparison of under cabinet lights on and off

We just love our new under-cabinet lights from AQ Lighting!

The company makes it such a simple process for anyone, from ordering to installation, someone is there to help you.

side by side comparison of under cabinet lights

The new lights make my kitchen look and feel so cozy at night.

This was such an easy DIY project that we were able to complete it in only 2 hours.

So what are you waiting for? Go install under cabinet lighting in your home too!

Get 20% off your entire order with code S2M – JAN20

More S2M and AQ Lighting Projects

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