Kitchen + Dining
Under Cabinet Lights
BLACK+DECKER B+D Contributor 120 Projects
Hardwired undercabinet lights illuminate the kitchen countertop and sink areas that fall in the shadow of ceiling lights. Most of these light fixtures, which are often called strip lights, utilize fluorescent, halogen, or xenon bulbs that emit very low levels of heat and are therefore very efficient. If you are doing a kitchen remodel with all‑new cabinets, run the new light circuit wiring before the cabinets are installed. For a retrofit, you’ll need to find an available power source to tie into. Options for this do not include the dedicated 20‑amp small-appliance circuits that are required in kitchens. The best bet is to run new circuit wire from a close‑by ceiling light switch box, but this will mean cutting into the walls to run cable. Another option is to locate a receptacle that’s on the opposite side of a shared wall, preferably next to a location where a base cabinet is installed in the kitchen. By cutting an access hole in the cabinet back, you can tie into the receptacle box and run cable through the wall behind the cabinets, up to the upper cabinet location, and out the wall to supply the fixture that’s mounted to the underside of the upper cabinet. You can purchase undercabinet lights that are controlled by a wall switch, but most products have an integral on/off button so you can control lights individually.