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DIY Tales: Installing Under-Cabinet Lighting for $25 in Under 30 Minutes

By House of Gold on Feb 04, 2014

Nothing (to me) was more frustrating than trying to make delicious meals in an ill-lit kitchen. Okay, maybe some things are more frustrating, but this was still something to take care of. So in an attempt to illuminate my work surfaces and finish out the remaining kitchen tasks before the new counters arrived, J and I finally pulled the trigger on some undercabinet lighting. Well, really, I bought some of those tap-light things from Sam’s Club (impulse buy) that looked like fun, but were not quite what J wanted in the long run. (They had a blue-ish tint, and J cannot STAND that.) To be honest, I thought it would cost us hundreds to get some undercabinet lighting in place, based on the fact that I used to sell undercabinet lighting that did, in fact, cost hundreds. Luckily, technology has come a long way in the past 8 years since my stint in lighting, and so has the cost of effective lighting solutions.

So. We found this package full of goodness on Amazon for a whopping 25 bones. The package comes with a dimmer, transformer, and a 25-foot section of LED (warm spectrum) strip lights. *side note* "Warm spectrum" lights will give you a more natural-looking light, while "cool spectrum" lights will give you a more blue-ish tint (similar to what is in department stores). While I slaved over a hot stove and made our dinner, J installed the lights. (Which means this project took all of 30 minutes to complete.)

Light Pack_HouseofGold (See? proof that I was making dinner. My shoes are in the background of this pic.)

First, he got out the tools he would need. Drill (+ bit to correspond to the diameter of the connections), scissors, pen, and that’s about all. Undercabinet Lighting Supplies_HouseofGold

Since these lights plug in (vs. hardwiring them in to the electrical in your house), we decided to drill a hole in the back of our wall cabinet for the cord to sneak into. And we’d use the plug that resided right behind the fridge, adjacent to the cabinet. J measured the diameter of the cord/ plug and found his corresponding drill bit and set to it. Transformer Plug_HouseofGold Then he grabbed some double sided sticky tape (we just used an old 3-M adhesive strip we had laying around), and mounted the dimmer switch to the inside of the cabinet.

Dimmer Switch_HouseofGold

He drilled another hole near the front of the cabinet for the dimmer to attach to the strip of lights. (The bottom right hand corner of the above picture shows a black plug connected to a white plug.)

Then he peeled off the backing of the LED strip (they’ve got adhesive on one side), and stickumed it up to the underside of the cabinets. The strip isn't incredibly flexible, but you're fine to run a straight line or a gentle curve. Installing Light Strip_HouseofGold

To finish, you just cut them off! Really! There's a cut mark every three bulbs or so, which allows you to get pretty stinkin close to the edge of the cabinets.

Bada Bam, Bada Bing! Lights! (To highlight the old counters and spackled walls, of course.)Undercabinet Lighting Complete_HouseofGold

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