Home and Projects

DIY Under Cabinet Lighting

Good lighting can make a world of difference in the home. I think of having the right kind of light similar to finding that perfect dress that fits your body just right–highlights and illuminates what you want and conceals what you don’t. Another benefit, as with most home upgrades, is that some lighting can help improve your home value. Unfortunately, while I want to replace most of our light fixtures, most of us don’t have the cash to just replace them on a whim.

Currently the lighting in my kitchen consists of a basic chandelier hanging over the table (which I spray painted black after moving in because I couldn’t afford a new fixture), a fluorescent panel light in the middle of the ceiling (which drives me crazy), a light above the stove, and a sort of random recessed light (yes, just one). Not being a fan of very bright artificial lighting, I generally would just opt for the latter two when lights were required. What I really want to do is: replace the spray painted chandelier, add properly placed recessed lighting, and install under-cabinet lighting. While my brain is always coming up with new ideas, our wallet tends to not grow at the same rate as these ideas. I have to be patient with the renovation process (and my husband reminds me of this a lot).

I was able to find a way to install your own lights under cabinetry without a big, complicated and pricey rewiring job from an electrician. Actually, it’s less of an ‘install’ and more of an adhesive job that can be done in minutes. Black + Decker sells a product called “Black + Decker under cabinet puck lighting,” They offer the sets in various counts and options. Alternatively they also sell a light bar instead of individual pucks if that is your preference. BAM! DIY under cabinet lighting at the much more doable cost of under $60.

I bought three sets: a 5-pack, a 3-pack, and an individual. I just followed the instructions on the box (which were super easy and involved no screws or batteries–just adhesives and cords.) I measured spaces 24″ apart and marked the areas where I would be placing them. Before placing the lights, I wiped the areas with alcohol and allowed a few minutes to dry prior to sticking them on. Just be mindful of the main puck that plugs in. You want to be sure that this one is in the proper spot. I made this mistake on my first section of lighting, and I had to remove and replace the pucks–still a pretty easy fix.

I have had them up for four months, and so far, have not had any issues with them falling (with the exception of when our HVAC unit failed this summer for a week–but the heat in the house was literally melting our butter and chocolate, so I don’t think that counts.) One other thing to be note, is if you have different sections of cabinetry in need of lighting–plan it out accordingly. Our cabinets are broken up into three separate sections: the longest row of cabinets on one side of the kitchen, and across, we have a small counter top with one cabinet set above, separated by an oven before continuing to a longer section of cabinetry, which includes a corner. We would need three separate boxes of lighting. This was my second mistake. I, for some reason, thought that I could start a new section of lighting with the leftover lighting from my pack. Again, it was a very easy fix. I just purchased a 3-pack and finished the job.

This was a quick and effective install that I would definitely recommend. The lights are operated by a hands-free sensor, and include 10 brightness settings. The biggest drawback, other than not necessarily being permanent, is that they are operated by plug–so everywhere that you have a hookup, you also have a visible cord running to the outlet (we were able to easily conceal two of them). Still, this an easy upgrade that I certainly don’t regret spending money on. I love how under cabinet lights can brighten up your work space, or softly illuminate the area. I’m all about investing in a simple change that creates a big impact.

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