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m2244 06-09-2013 04:04 AM

How to plan for accent kitchen lighting

We are gearing up to tear our old kitchen out and put in new everything. Someone mentioned accent lighting under and possibly on top of the upper cabinets. I don't know what kind of lights to use (led, strip, etc) or how to wire the walls ahead of the sheetrock going on. Do you need a junction box behind the cabinet and cut a hole in the back of the cabinet?

If anyone has any advice on how to do this or any other tips for kitchen lighting I would appreciate it.

WindowsonWashington 06-09-2013 08:30 AM

Many of those lighting options are run off of a switched plug but regardless of style and option, you will need to plan for a switched source.

Once you have your layout plan and idea of what light you are going to use, that will very easily dictate where the switched source(s) will need to go.

CallMeVilla 06-09-2013 10:03 AM

I've done this. Your best bet is the ultra-thin LED strips which give you almost unlimited choices in accent and task lighting. The technology has been expolding, so new and easy options exist which I did not have acces to when I did it.

Since it is low volt, all I needed was LAMP CORD to pull power to the strips. The strips themselves (for task lighting) are attached under the cabinet, behind the 1/2" front lip. How? Believe it or not, I used double-back carpet tape.

LED strips may provide the ONLY light you may need in the kitchen! With 50,000 hours of life, you'll move or die before they wear out.

If you want to put LED strips above the top of the cabinet on a separate switch, you get low volt, low heat, high impact accent lighting.


What I did was to add a switch and take power from one of the receptacles in the backsplash and run ROMEX up to the top of the cabinet. At that point, I installed a surface mounted receptacle into which I plugged the transformer. The wiring ran back to this point.

The lamp cord ran inside the cabinet (concealed along the vertical edge) and exited behind the front lip. Each cabinet looped the wire back up then over and back down along each wall. Under the front lip, the lamp cord attached to the LED strip on each end. When done, it formed a continuous run under each cabinet.

Turning on the switch lit all the task lights at once.

Be brave! You can do this. There are many new manufacturers of LED strip. Some come with adhesive tape, some don't. Some come with quick connects, some don't. Here is one video set that will really help you. Get started with LED Strip Light Installation Video 1 of 2 .

m2244 06-09-2013 06:38 PM


Originally Posted by CallMeVilla (Post 88003)
I've done this. Your best bet is the ultra-thin LED strips which give you almost unlimited choices in accent and task lighting. The technology has been expolding, so new and easy options exist which I did not have acces to when I did it.

Thanks man, this helped a lot. BTW, I did not quote your entire post.

m2244 06-25-2013 06:46 AM


Can I ask you another question? A friend told me that all I needed to do was put a 120v outlet inside the upper cabinet, poke a hole through the bottom and simply plug the LED stip in. You said something about a transformer? I am thinking about controling that outlet with a dimmer switch. Can I do that with a transformer involved?

If so, I believe I would need two outlets, one in the cabinets on the left side of the kitchen and one on the right (there is a break in the cabinets where the window is).

Also, he told me that the ones he has seen are self-adhesive. I would worry that the adhesive would fail over time.

Any help would be appreciated.

bud16415 06-25-2013 07:22 AM

I used the direct wire (120V) LED units and had mine all connected to a wall switch with wires feeding thru the walls. Some of the units have a place to make wire terminations others come with a line cord and plug. Some of the LED units have two light level selection but I don’t think any of them will work with a dimmer switch. I found no need to dim them that way. The kitchen I put them in I had under counter florescent lighting and cobalt blue tile counters. The effect was very dramatic when I replaced the tube lights with the LED’s. really made the tile sparkle.

Your other option is low voltage systems like Villa had mentioned. They work off a 120V transformer that you have to hide somehow like what your friend suggested and have an outlet box that can be switched from a wall switch. This type also can’t be dimmed thru a dimmer switch.

I would go with LED again I was tired of buzzing and flickering tubes and the other lighting systems produce a lot of heat. LED is a onetime thing and you should never have to do anything again.

CallMeVilla 06-25-2013 07:41 AM

The system I spotlighted with the site link has a dimmer built into the receptacle box. There is no need to run an external dimmer. What you have instead is a blank plate which you touch to dim or brighten the LEDs.

Watch their promo video to see how easy this is:

Also, the adhesive strip is extremely strong. Apply the strips with care because they are "forever." You will sell the house and move before those extremely light strip ever come loose!

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