Tips for Installing Under Cabinet Lighting

by on May 20th, 2014
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One of the most common lighting fixtures left out of kitchen designs is under cabinet lighting. Whether it’s LED or basic bulbs, under cabinet lighting gives your kitchen workspace the perfect bright and illuminated space, and all without any cumbersome or in the way lights, brackets or bulbs. If you’re apprehensive about electricity-don’t worry, it’s a snap. Simply turn off the breaker switch in the breaker panel for a shock free work zone.


Every kitchen counter space has an electrical outlet. And more than likely, it’s grounded with a GFCI outlet. The closest outlet to the area you plan on installing is the under cabinet lights is the outlet in which you will need to rewire with a switch for the under cabinet lights.

Simply remove the cover plate and receptacle. Disconnect the outlet receptacle from the wiring, saving as much wire as possible. Now the outlet box can be carefully removed using a screwdriver. To accommodate for the extra leverage, you can easily take out the extra drywall on the side of the box away from the 2×4.

Adding a new Outlet

A double gang outlet box is required to fit both the outlet and the new switch for the under cabinet lighting . Cut out the excess drywall around the old hole and fit in the new outlet box. Use a few screws to attach the outlet to the 2×4 instead of the provided nails. Poke a hole in the top outlet hole for the wire to fit through. Poke the tabs inward before installing the box so the wire fits much easier.

Running the Wire

This can be a tough part for some, but with a little patience and luck, you can get the wire fished down through the wall. Cut an oversized length of wire. Cut or poke a small hole in the top of the drywall, just below your cabinet and above the outlet. Run the wire down through the wall cavity and (hopefully) into the hole on the outlet box. You may need two sets of hands for this part of the project. Once about ten inches of the wire has been run into the outlet box, you can stop feeding the wire. Run the remainder on the under edge of the back side of your cabinet and attach using romex staples.

Choosing a Light and Switch

The rest of the project is simple and should be done according to the provided directions and manufacturers specifications. Choose a light that fits under your cabinet snuggly. LED under cabinet lighting may need a transformer installed as well to reduce voltage. If a dimmer switch is installed, choose a suitable under cabinet light that works with a dimmer switch.

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