Step-by-Step Guide: How to Install Hardwired Under Cabinet Lighting

If you’re considering upgrading your kitchen lighting, learning how to install hardwired under cabinet lighting can significantly improve the functionality and aesthetics of your cooking space. This DIY hardwired under cabinet lighting installation guide will walk you through the process, offering practical tips on every aspect of the project, from planning to completion.

Our focus, particularly on LED under cabinet lighting DIY installations, will help ensure your kitchen is lit efficiently, stylishly, and consistently, offering the perfect ambiance for cooking, eating, and entertaining. So, let’s dive into the steps for installing hardwired under cabinet lighting in your kitchen!

Key Takeaways

  • Hardwired under cabinet lighting improves functionality and aesthetics in a kitchen
  • LED under cabinet lights offer energy efficiency and versatility
  • Comfort in basic electrical wiring and adherence to local codes is necessary
  • Proper planning and safety precautions are essential for a successful project
  • Consulting with an electrician is advisable to avoid overloading and ensure code compliance

Understanding the Benefits of Hardwired Under Cabinet Lighting

In today’s modern kitchens, hardwired under cabinet lighting plays a crucial role in enhancing both functionality and aesthetics. This type of lighting offers numerous advantages that help improve your cooking and food preparation experience. Here are some of the key benefits of hardwired under cabinet lighting:

  1. Improved task illumination: Kitchen under cabinet lighting provides focused light on countertops, making it easier to perform tasks such as chopping, mixing, or simply reading a recipe.
  2. Aesthetic appeal: Ambient kitchen lighting solutions like under cabinet lighting add an element of elegance and sophistication to your kitchen’s design.
  3. Clutter-free workspace: One of the great benefits of hardwired under cabinet lighting is the absence of visible wires, making your kitchen workspace clean and clutter-free.
  4. Greater control and convenience: Hardwired under cabinet lights can be controlled via a wall switch, offering the convenience of turning them on and off or dimming the lights as desired.
  5. Energy efficiency: Most hardwired under cabinet lighting uses LED technology, which is known for its energy-saving properties.

To maximize these benefits, it’s essential to choose the right lighting fixtures and find efficient ways to install hardwired under cabinet lighting. The following table outlines some key factors to consider when selecting and installing under cabinet lights.

Factors to Consider Description
Lighting type LED lights are recommended for their energy efficiency and longer lifespan.
Fixture size and placement Measure your cabinets and plan the placement of fixtures to ensure adequate illumination and an even distribution of light across countertops.
Power source Identify a suitable power source nearby, and choose a safe and efficient method for connecting your lighting fixtures to it.
Switch placement Select a convenient location for the switch that controls your under cabinet lights, ideally within easy reach and in an unobtrusive spot.

By carefully considering these factors, you can create an inviting and functional kitchen space that takes full advantage of the benefits provided by hardwired under cabinet lighting. Explore various ambient kitchen lighting solutions to further enhance your overall experience in the heart of your home.

Gathering Your Tools and Materials for Installation

Before starting the hardwired under cabinet lighting installation process, it is crucial to gather all the essential tools and materials, select the best lighting fixtures, and ensure pre-installation safety. Doing so will guarantee a smooth and successful installation.

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Installation toolbox for under cabinet lighting

Identifying Essential Tools for the Job

You need specific tools to install under cabinet lighting successfully. Here’s a list of essential tools for hardwired under cabinet lighting installation:

  • Screwdriver
  • Wire strippers
  • Wire fish
  • Wire nuts
  • Electrical tape
  • Electrical wire and pressure connectors
  • Drill with keyhole saw
  • Drywall saw

Having the right installation toolbox can facilitate the process and help you achieve professional-looking results.

Choosing the Best Hardwired Lighting Fixtures

When choosing the best hardwired lighting fixtures, it is essential to measure the cabinets and cooking space to determine the fixture size and number needed. Consider the tasks performed in the space to select the appropriate LED under cabinet lighting options. Linear lights are recommended for even illumination, ensuring a well-lit and functional working area.

Pre-installation Safety: What You Need to Know

Safety is paramount when installing hardwired under cabinet lighting. Before beginning the installation, you must disconnect the power in the area to prevent electrical hazards. Using a circuit tester or turning off the appropriate circuit breaker can ensure the work area is safely de-energized. Additionally, familiarizing yourself with an electrical safety checklist is great for ensuring a safe and successful installation.

Initial Planning and Design Layout

When embarking on a hardwired lighting installation project, proper planning and design are essential for achieving a professional and efficient result. Careful consideration should be given to measurements, cabinet space, and fixture placement. In this section, we will discuss how to measure your cabinet space, create a sketch to visualize your desired lighting layout, and choose the ideal fixtures for your project.

Measuring and Sketching Your Cabinet Space

To begin, take precise measurements of the space beneath your cabinets to ensure an accurate design layout. Make note of dimensions including length, width, and height to determine the types of lighting fixtures that will be most suitable for your space. This information will also be helpful when calculating the amount of electrical wiring needed for installation.

Next, create a detailed sketch of your kitchen, outlining your cabinets and their dimensions. This will help you visualize the placement of your lights and ensure that your intended design layout is practical and functional. Be sure to include the desired location of your light switch and any necessary wiring routes in your sketch.

With your measurements and sketch in hand, the next step is to identify the lighting fixtures that best fit your needs. Having established your design layout for lighting, you can now reference your hardwired lighting installation guide and begin confidently shopping for the supplies needed to bring your project to life.

With proper planning and thoughtful design in place, you are on your way to successfully installing hardwired under cabinet lighting that will enhance the functionality and aesthetics of your kitchen space.

Preparing Your Kitchen for Under Cabinet Lighting

Before diving into the installation process, it’s essential to prepare your kitchen for under cabinet lighting. This includes clearing the countertops, protecting appliances, and ensuring adequate space for tools and materials. By following these preparatory steps, you can ensure a smooth and efficient workspace setup.

  1. Clear the countertops: Remove any items from your countertops to provide a clean working area and prevent potential damage. Clearing the space also allows for easier access to the cabinets, making the wiring and fixture installation process more manageable.
  2. Protect appliances: Cover your appliances and other sensitive surfaces with a protective sheet to safeguard them from dust, debris, and potential damage during the installation. This precaution can help save you from costly repairs or replacements in the long run.
  3. Adequate space for tools and materials: Set aside a designated area in your kitchen where you can easily access your tools and lighting materials. Organization is key to an efficient installation process, so keep your workspace neat and tidy for optimal productivity.

In some cases, you may also need to peel back any backsplash and cut holes for wiring in the wall and cabinets. This process is crucial for concealing wires and maintaining a clean look for your under cabinet lighting installation.

preparing kitchen for under cabinet lighting

Once your kitchen is prepared for the under cabinet lighting installation, you can move forward with confidence, knowing that your workspace is set up for success. With a clean, protected, and organized area, you’ll be one step closer to enjoying the benefits of an illuminated and functional kitchen space.

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Consulting the Experts: When to Involve an Electrician

For homeowners looking to install hardwired under cabinet lighting, it’s essential to know when and why to consult electricians for lighting installation. While some tasks can be managed independently, involving an expert can help ensure a safe and professional result. In this section, we’ll discuss some situations when seeking expert advice for hardwired under cabinet lighting installation is highly recommended.

  1. Reviewing the home’s electrical box: Prior to starting the installation, it’s wise to have a professional electrician inspect your home’s electrical box, ensuring its compatibility with the new lighting system and assessing any potential issues or risks.
  2. Preventing overloading: An electrician will verify that the planned project won’t overload the existing electrical circuits or systems. This is crucial for avoiding hazards during usage and maintaining your home’s safety.
  3. Adhering to local electrical codes: Compliance with local electrical codes is essential for all electrical installations, and an electrician will ensure that your project meets all necessary regulations and requirements.

More situations where consulting electricians for lighting installation can be justified include:

  • Requiring necessary space for plugs or use of a transformer.
  • Addressing potential complications with the existing electrical system or unique kitchen features that might impact the installation process.
  • Obtaining permits in jurisdictions where they are needed.

An electrician’s expertise can save you time and money throughout the installation process while ensuring a safe and professional result for your hardwired under cabinet lighting.

In summary, consulting an electrician before, during, or after your hardwired under cabinet lighting installation will ensure the project’s adherence to electrical codes, prevent overloading risks, and provide expert guidance. Although some aspects of this project may be feasible for DIY enthusiasts, it’s always a wise choice to seek professional advice when dealing with electrical systems in your home.

Making the Electrical Connections for Your Lights

Establishing proper electrical connections is crucial for ensuring your hardwired under cabinet lighting functions efficiently and safely. In this section, I’ll discuss the wiring basics for under cabinet lighting and walk you through a tutorial on safely connecting your lights to power.

Understanding Wiring Basics

Before you begin connecting your under cabinet lighting, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with some basic wiring principles. Start by identifying the electric wires within your light fixtures, then strip a portion of insulation off the ends. You’ll need to run wires between fixtures and plan the sequence of connections: from the power source to the light switch and to each fixture.

Remember to adhere to polarity by ensuring that wire colors are matched correctly.

wiring basics for under cabinet lighting

Connecting Your Lighting to Power Safely

Connecting your under cabinet lighting to power safely is necessary to avoid electrical hazards. When wiring your lights, begin by running the wire from the farthest fixture. Establish a daisy chain sequence, where each light fixture is connected to both the incoming and outgoing wires. This electrical connections tutorial should help you create hardwired under cabinet lighting connections with ease:

  1. Turn off the power to the area where you’re working to ensure safety.
  2. Place the wires from the farthest fixture into a junction box or similar enclosure.
  3. Connect the incoming wire (from the power source) to the outgoing wire (leading to the next fixture).
  4. Repeat this process for each fixture in the chain, always ensuring wire colors are matched accordingly.
  5. Use wire nuts to secure connections firmly, and cover them with electrical tape for added protection.
  6. Test the connection by restoring power and verifying the under cabinet lighting works correctly.

By following these wiring basics and ensuring proper hardwired under cabinet lighting connections, your lighting will be safely connected to power to enhance your kitchen workspace with optimal illumination.

Mounting Your Lighting Fixtures

Now that your under cabinet lighting design and electrical connections are in place, it’s time to focus on mounting the lighting fixtures. This process includes securing the fixtures for optimal illumination and achieving a professional look with proper fixture placement.

Securing Fixtures for Optimal Illumination

To ensure your under cabinet lights provide the desired level of illumination, carefully position the fixtures evenly along the length of the cabinet. Utilize screws that are long enough to secure the fixtures without penetrating too deeply into the cabinet shelf. Be mindful not to overtighten the screws, as this can strip them and compromise the fixture’s stability.

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Achieving a Professional Look with Proper Fixture Placement

For an aesthetically pleasing and functional result, strategically place your lighting fixtures, keeping in mind to avoid creating shadows and balancing corner cabinet lighting. Consider using templates or marking guides for even fixture placement. This attention to detail will give your kitchen a professional look and ensure the proper installation of your under cabinet lighting.

Installing the Light Switch and Testing Your Work

After successfully mounting your lighting fixtures, it’s time to focus on installing the light switch for under cabinet lighting and refining the finishing touches.

Installing light switch for under cabinet lighting

  1. Turn off the power supply to avoid electrical accidents.
  2. Run the wiring from the last fixture to the light switch location.
  3. Connect the wires at the switch outlet, making sure to match corresponding wire colors and adhere to proper polarity.
  4. Secure the switch to the outlet box using screws and a compatible switch cover.
  5. Cover the terminal screws with electrical tape to ensure safety.

With the light switch now in place, it’s crucial to test your lighting installation. To do so, restore the power supply and turn on the light switch. Confirm that all your under cabinet lights are operating as intended and making your kitchen look more attractive and functional than ever!

In conclusion, hardwired under cabinet lighting is an excellent addition to your kitchen space. It not only enhances the aesthetics but also significantly improves task illumination, making cooking and food preparation more enjoyable. Following a careful, step-by-step installation process, coupled with adherence to safety guidelines, will ensure you reap the benefits of this upgrade for years to come.


As we reach the end of the DIY hardwired under cabinet lighting project, it’s essential to finalize all the last steps and ensure everything is securely in place. Begin by reattaching the backsplash to the walls and patching any cut drywall, preserving the polished appearance of the kitchen space. A thorough evaluation of the lighting function is also paramount to make sure that the newly installed under cabinet lighting is working correctly and safely.

At this point, it is crucial to double-check if the hardwired under cabinet lighting provides the desired illumination to enhance the kitchen’s functionality and aesthetics, adding valuable task lighting to the workspace. By following each step meticulously and prioritizing safety, you have successfully transformed your kitchen into a more functional and visually appealing space.

In conclusion, this DIY hardwired under cabinet lighting project has demonstrated that with proper planning, the right tools, and the involvement of an expert electrician when necessary, it is entirely possible for a determined individual to achieve professional results. Your newly installed under cabinet lighting will not only improve your cooking experience but also add a touch of elegance to your kitchen for years to come.


What are the main benefits of hardwired under cabinet lighting?

Hardwired under cabinet lighting provides consistent, focused task illumination for kitchen countertops, improving functionality and aesthetics. It ensures a well-lit workspace for cooking and food preparation and can be controlled via a wall switch, including dimming options, without cluttering the cooking area with wires.

What tools and materials are needed for installing hardwired under cabinet lighting?

Necessary tools and materials include a screwdriver, wire strippers, wire fish, wire nuts, electrical tape, electrical wire and pressure connectors, a drill with keyhole saw, and a drywall saw. These tools will help facilitate the installation process and achieve professional-looking results.

How can I ensure safety during hardwired under cabinet lighting installation?

Safety is paramount during installation. Before beginning the project, disconnect the power to the area by using a circuit tester or turning off the appropriate circuit breaker to ensure the work area is de-energized.

What factors should I consider when selecting lighting fixtures for under cabinet installation?

Measure the cabinets and cooking space to determine the fixture size and number needed. Consider energy-efficient LED options and color-tunable lights for versatility. Linear lights are recommended for even illumination; the choice should be influenced by the potential tasks performed in the space.

When should I consult an expert electrician during the hardwired under cabinet lighting installation?

Consult an expert electrician to review your home’s electrical box, verify that the planned project won’t cause overloading, and ensure adherence to local electrical codes. They can also provide additional guidance, such as the necessity for plugs or a transformer.

How do I connect the lighting to power safely?

Run the wire from the farthest fixture and create a daisy chain sequence where each fixture is connected to both incoming and outgoing wires. Use wire nuts to secure connections, and match wire colors and adhere to polarity for safe connections.

How can I achieve a professional look with my hardwired under cabinet lighting installation?

To achieve a professional look, place fixtures strategically to avoid creating shadows and balance corner cabinet lighting. Utilize templates or marking guides to ensure even fixture placement for an aesthetically pleasing finish.