Update (7/28): I added my installation video at the bottom of this post!
This was my first time with a “do it yourself” lighting project, so I wanted to share my experiences from the very beginning. I absolutely love the finished results! This project was surprisingly easy to tackle. I completed the install in less than two hours, and the total cost was right around $100.
I highly recommend making this update to your kitchen!
Step 1: Assessing my needs
Because I knew I wanted to install the under cabinet fixtures on my own, I decided to look for a model that could be plugged in (rather than a hardwire-only model). I am no electrician, and I felt more comfortable with a plug-in fixture.
The first thing I did was to figure out where I could plug them in. Depending on how your kitchen is oriented, there are a couple of good places to check for hidden outlets to use for under cabinet lighting:
- In any cabinet space above the microwave
- Behind the refrigerator
Luckily, the kitchen I was installing in had outlets in both places! I decided to use the one behind the refrigerator simply to avoid drilling holes through the cabinets.
Next, I measured the spaces underneath the cabinets to determine what sizes I needed to buy. See this post on “How Many Under Cabinet Lights Do I Need?” for details on how to measure your cabinet “cavity.”
In the end, I purchased two xenon line voltage thin under cabinet task lights – one in a 22-inch length and one in a 14-inch (my cabinets were two different sizes). I purchased a linking cable to connect the two fixtures and a 6-foot power cord to ensure I’d have enough wire to reach the outlet behind the refrigerator.
If you want additional information about the various types of under cabinet lighting and/or would like help determining which light fixture is right for you, check out this post on How to Choose Under Cabinet Lighting – it should make things clear.
Step 2: Gathering my tools
Most under cabinet lighting installations require:
- Electric Drill
- Measuring Tape
- A Mechanical Pencil
I installed two light fixtures underneath cabinets that were separated by a microwave:
So, I needed additional tools to secure the linking cable on the wall directly underneath the microwave. I picked up coaxial staples from the local hardware store and used a hammer to secure them. It was an easy solution!
Step 3: Marking where the fixtures will go
The under cabinet lighting fixtures I chose (xenon line voltage thin under cabinet task lights) included two mounting screws, so I wanted to mark the drilling locations.
To do this, I removed the lens cover from the light fixture and held the fixture underneath the cabinet in my desired location. Then, I poked my pencil through the small holes in the fixture that are designated for the mounting screws. I marked exactly where the screws should go.
Step 4: Drilling small holes underneath the cabinet for the mounting screws
Since I’d already marked the location of the holes, this step was fairly easy.
Step 5: Starting the screws in their holes
This made it easier to drill in the lighting fixture once it was in place.
Step 6: Finish installing the fixture
Holding the light fixture up, I used the electric drill to push the mounting screws through the fixture and into their holes.
That’s it! After the first fixture was installed, I attached the linking cable, ran it underneath the microwave, installed the second fixture, and plugged it all in using my 6-foot power cord.
Here are some additional photos:
If you have any questions, comment below!