Installing Kitchen Cabinet Lights

This kitchen decorating idea can light up dark kitchen cabinets and also serve as party decor.
By: Heidi Karpa


Transform unused kitchen nooks, walls and even appliances with these affordable decorating ideas sure to perk up a tired kitchen. Kitchen designer Heidi Karpa shows you how.

Materials and Tools:

led string lights or rope lights
plastic clips
tape measure
hole saw kit
cardboard boxes


Create your concept:

1. Empty your cabinets completely. Storing items safely in cardboard boxes will give you the clearest amount of space for installation, and will protect your dishes and food items.



2. Remove any shelves. Then with a measuring tape, measure the outline of the back of each cabinet where you'll hang your string or rope lights. Double check all of your measurements.

3. Critical step: Measure the distance from the bottom of the cabinet to your outlet. This will ensure you purchase enough lighting to reach the plug.

Purchase your materials:



1. At your local home or hardware store, purchase your string/rope lights. Make sure you select lights with an electrical plug that are a good fit for your measurements. Helpful hint: Buy an extra strand of lights as backup.

2. Purchase plastic clips to snap the string lights into. Get extra screws or nails that match those in the kit. Estimate three to four clips per side of the cabinet when determining the total number of clips needed for this project. Buy extras as backup.


1. Wipe down your cabinets and shelves.

2. Identify in your cabinets all locations where you'll need to drill holes for the lights to run through.

3. Double check the total length of the string lights you've purchased to make sure they'll fit within the cabinet and reach the outlet.

4. Check to see if you'll need to drill a circular notch in the corners of your shelves so that the lights can run behind them.



5. Mark all drill locations in advance.

6. Double check the appropriate size hole saw bit you'll need to use. Make sure it's large enough for the ends of the rope lights to run through.


1. With a hole saw bit and adaptor, drill all necessary holes for string lights to pass through the cabinets.



2. Run your string lights through the holes and into the cabinet frames.

3. Attach plastic clips into place and snap the string light rope into them. Make sure you install enough clips so your rope lights are snug and straight. Three or four per side should be enough.

4. Plug in your string lights to see how well they're installed. Unplug and readjust as necessary.

5. Drill a circular notch in the corners of all shelves where necessary so the string lights run smoothly behind the shelf.

6. Place your shelves back into the cabinet. Helpful hint: Most cabinets allow you to adjust the height of your shelves. This is the perfect time to see if all of your shelves give you enough clearance for your display and cooking items.

7. Wipe down your cabinets and clean the glass doors. Sawing creates dust.

8. Restock your shelves with dishes, food items and decorative elements. Remember to keep clutter at a minimum and arrange items in an attractive way.

9. Plug your lights back in, step back and enjoy your new look.

Variations: Installing rope lights will make your glass door cabinets an even stronger focal point in you kitchen. Because you've already emptied out your cabinets, you could take this opportunity to increase the effect of this project even more. Consider painting the back of each cabinet in an accent color, or use wallpaper to introduce more pattern or texture into your space. Keep your shelves their existing wood tone or paint them to accent the wallpaper.

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