Easy Under-Cabinet Kitchen Lighting

Highlight beautiful countertops and brighten dark spaces by adding under-cabinet lighting to your kitchen. With these simple, step-by-step instructions, anyone can install under-cabinet lighting without an electrician.

Under Cabinet Lighting

Easy Under-Cabinet Kitchen Lighting

By: Ana White

Materials Needed:

  • 1 - 8" xenon under-cabinet light (Utilitech) for every 16" to 24" of cabinets
  • safety glasses
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • drill or screw gun
  • 1/2" drill bit and 1/16" drill bit
  • outlet within 6' of lighting location
  • UL-listed cable staples

Plan Location and Spacing

Lay out lights on countertop, directly under the intended installation location, spacing lights less than 13 inches apart. Link lights using included quick-connect cords, but don't plug lights in at this stage. Adjust lights so last light is within six feet of outlet to ensure power cord can reach outlet. Tip: Newer homes likely have power outlets on switches located within cabinet interior. Inspect the interior of kitchen wall cabinets. If cabinets have a cabinet lighting outlet, drill holes with the 1/2-inch drill bit in the cabinet shelves from the outlet location to the base of the cabinet.

Plan lighting location

Plan Location and Spacing

Install Lights

Lights used in this tutorial come with a mounting template and mounting hardware. Place mounting template in the intended location of each light and mark screw-hole locations. Allow enough room around the light for cords to be easily plugged in. To effectively hide cords, mount lights toward the front edge of cabinets. Drill a pilot hole with 1/16-inch drill bit, 5/8-inches deep. Insert mounting screws and tighten with the Phillips screwdriver, leaving 1/8-inch of the screw thread exposed. Slide lights onto exposed screws and lock in place. Repeat until all lights have been installed. Tip: Lighting system should be hidden from line of sight. If cabinets do not conceal the under-cabinet lighting system, a wood light rail can be easily added to the cabinets to both add beauty to the cabinets and conceal the wiring.

Drill pilot holes and install lights

Install Lights

Mount Cords

Connect the last light to the second-to-last light with quick-connect cord. Screw down cable staples to secure cables to underside of cabinet. Keep the cables on the front edge of the cabinet to conceal wires from line of sight. Continue connecting quick-connect cords and using cable staples until all lights are connected, but don't plug the lights in yet. Tip: For installations plugged into countertop outlets, install wall cord covers to conceal exposed wires.

Mount lights and cords under cabinet

Mount Cords

Insert Bulbs

Install included bulbs in lights, being careful not to touch xenon bulbs with fingers. Close covers.

Finish Installation

Plug in lighting system and turn each light on. If lights are on a hardwired outlet/switch system, the hardwired switch will control the lights. If lights are not on a hardwired outlet/switch system, turning the first light in the chain on will turn all lights on. Tip: Large amounts of excess cord can be trimmed off without special tools or wiring knowledge from plug end. With power disconnected, trim plug end of cord to desired length, removing 1/8-inch of insulation on trimmed end. Slide the cover off plug and remove old cord end then push shortened cord down firmly into channel, piercing cord on metal contacts. Finally, bend at a 90-degree angle and slide cover back onto the plug.

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