How I Installed My Kitchen Under Cabinet Lights

sink-left-side-after

My wife and I recently bought our first home. We’re loving all the joys of home ownership, but no house is perfect. That’s right, as nice as it is we still have some design quirks to contend with. For instance, the living room floor squeaks in one spot. Then there’s the refrigerator’s ice maker that consistently sounds like an intruder is breaking in at 1am. And judging by the title of this article you may have already guessed, our kitchen countertops are too dark.

Our countertops are criminally dark. Here are a few pictures I’ll submit as evidence.

I mean look at that:

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

This is a common problem. When your only light source is on the ceiling, your cabinets will create shadows that keep light from getting to the counter. And I’m not sure about your life choices, but the kitchen counter is the place I’m most likely to wield sharp objects. I’d prefer to be able to see exactly what I’m doing down there.

I work for an LED company, so I already knew what to do. LED tape lights are the perfect solution. They can light anything and go anywhere. We sell kits for this sort of application, but I’m hard headed and like to figure out things for myself. So, I’m going to share my custom solution with you.

 


STEP 1: TAKE MEASUREMENTS
measuring-work

I needed to measure where the lights would go, and I also had to account for where the wires would run as well. This helped me figure out how many reels of lights I would need.

 


STEP 2: ORDER PRODUCTS
products I ordered for my project

Most of the LED tape lights sold by HitLights come on 5 meter reels (16.4ft), but I didn’t want our regular strips. I wanted something super bright, and the Premium Luma20 strips were the perfect choice. Luma20 strips are 10 feet long. So, from my measurements I knew I needed 2 reels. I ended up getting one of our 40 foot spools of bare wire as well just to be safe.

My kitchen is split into two sections. One side has the sink, dishwasher and bar. The other has the stove, microwave and refrigerator. I didn’t want to run wire into the ceiling, so I decided to get two wireless dimmers and two power supplies. That way I could control each side separately.

I knew I was going to hide the wires, so I got 2 x Wire Clip Packs (10pcs). Of course these are tape lights, and the included adhesive should work fine for what I’m doing. However, I decided to go with our foam tape because it’s extra sticky. I know it was a little overkill, but it works great. I thought about using connectors to make all of my connections which would have made things easier, but I wanted the most secure connection for my strips, solder.

Once I got everything together, I tested it all out to make sure it worked properly. I didn’t want to be surprised after I installed my lights.

 


STEP 3: MAKE CUTS
cutting led tape light with scissorsI already had all of my measurements so making cuts was quick work. Since I had two reels, I left the female DC barrel plugs connected to the end of the strips that would go closest to the outlet. That way I didn’t need to get any extra parts to connect my lights to the controllers. I measured out my wire too. And cut it to size.

 


STEP 4: ADD SOLDER (OPTIONAL)
Soldering an led light stripI added a little solder to the ends of my strips and wires. This step made it easier to solder the wires to the strips later on.

 


STEP 5: DRILL HOLES
Owning your home comes with a few perks. One being, you can do what you want with your cabinets. I drilled a few tiny holes to fit my wires through. This is where soldering my wires came in handy. If I had used connectors, I would have had to drill holes big enough to fit the terminals through. Also, don’t forget that the strips go on the front side of the cabinet. So drill your holes close to the front, and it will be easy to hide the wires later.

 


STEP 6: RUN WIRES
This step is pretty self explanatory. I fished the wires through the holes I drilled and let them hang where they’re going to go.

 


STEP 7: CONNECT WIRES TO STRIPS
closeup of soldering wires to an led strip lightSince I already applied solder to the wires and the strips, all I had to do now was press the red wire to the positive terminal and then heat up the solder with my iron. Then I did the same on the negative terminal with the black wire. Repeat the steps with all of the strips.

 


STEP 8: MOUNT THE LIGHTS
attaching led strip light to cabinets with double sided tapeBefore I mount the strips I plugged the lights in right quick to test my connections. Everything looked fine. First I attached the double-sided foam tape to the cabinet. Then I removed the adhesive off of the light strips. Finally, I attached the lights to the foam tape.

 


STEP 9: HIDE THE WIRES
hiding wires with adhesive wire clipsI hid the wires along the lip of the cabinet doors with wire clips. You just stick them where you want them and slip the wire in the clip.

 


STEP 10: PLUG EVERYTHING IN
controller-to-strip-workI connected the controllers to the strips, and then the power supplies to the controllers. And now my counters aren’t dark anymore!

 

 

To see more of our project ideas and info about HitLights products like our facebook page.

Posted in HitLights How-To's | Leave a comment

How to choose an LED tape light controller.

Right now HitLights offers 13 LED lighting control options. We’ve done buying guides on controllers before, but we’ve never had one place that explained all of them until now.

First things first. There are two main categories of LED tape light controllers: Single color & Multi Color.

single color and multi color led strips Continue reading

Posted in HitLights How-To's, HitLights Troubleshooting Series | Leave a comment

LEDs Plus Star Wars Equals Better Lightsabers

battle

If you watch any of our videos or subscribe to any of our Social Media platforms (like Instagram or Facebook) you might have seen our lightsaber video. We made it the same week that The Force Awakens came out, and admittedly it was thrown together pretty quickly.

The lightsabers were just LED strips wrapped around some cardboard tubes we had lying around the office, but one thing I noticed while shooting the video is how good the swords looked. It was because the lights were reflecting off of things and giving everything a unique glow. You can see the video here if you’d like. Continue reading

Posted in LED Industry News | Leave a comment

Rare Roman Villa Found Under Ping Pong Table

roman-villa

As an American I think I’ve been programmed to believe Britain is a magical land of wizards, priceless antiques and boarding schools. Reality isn’t that far off, in this case at least. A rug designer (I’m assuming this is a typical English job) was installing lights for his ping pong table and found a Roman Villa. Continue reading

Posted in Lifestyle Extras | Leave a comment

Ten Worst Lighting Pun Headlines Explained

Tearable Puns

When I’m looking for stories about LED lighting to share on social media I run across the familiar story about how a city is planning to change out their lights to LEDs. There are literally dozens of articles I find every week. This means somewhere right now a stressed editor is slapping together a hackneyed pun to get their readers excited about new street lights.

So, this week I’ve put together my picks for the top ten worst lighting headlines, but just in case you’re missing the jokes I’ll explain them for you the best I can. Continue reading

Posted in Top Ten List of the Week | Leave a comment

You Won’t Believe Your Eyes

brain to eyeball illustration

You’ve probably read “You won’t believe your eyes” on a link to some disappointing article. But this isn’t one of those. Destin Sandlin from the Smarter Every Day YouTube channel got to thinking our eyes trick us sometimes. It turns out our eyes aren’t just little cameras attached to a hard drive (our brain). Instead vision is something much more complicated.

As a bonus you’ll get to see a cool LED device made by a guy named Greg. Continue reading

Posted in LED Industry News | Leave a comment

Giant Tetris Game Using LED Strips

germany kiel university #lighthouse tetris breakout game led lights

When a few students from Kiel University in Germany looked at their school’s building they must of thought, “This needs a giant Tetris game on it.” The computer science majors actually built their Lighthouse project for a tech contest (and won BTW). Continue reading

Posted in LED Industry News | Leave a comment

Turtle Power! LED fishing nets keep out turtles.

led net turtle light engadget

University of Exeter researchers released findings this week that it’s possible to repel sea turtles from entering fishing nets using LED lights. While fish can’t Continue reading

Posted in LED Industry News | Leave a comment

Good Lighting is Hard to Find

vine selfie lighting funny videos

Anyone selfie-obsessed knows all about finding the right lighting. It’s true, good lighting is hard to find, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We’ve actually done an entire series on how to light any room, starting with the basics.

This week, we thought we’d share some of our favorite Vines about how real the struggle really is. Continue reading

Posted in Lifestyle Extras | Leave a comment

Working With Contractors

home remodeling contracts

Working with contractors can be tricky business, especially when it comes down to paperwork. This video from the Approved Home Pros goes over the basics that you’ll need to know when signing a contract for any remodel. Continue reading

Posted in LED Industry News | Leave a comment