Under-cabinet lighting can provide more light in the important work areas of your kitchen that can make seeing the food you are preparing and the sharp utensils you are cleaning easier. To add a professional look to your cabinets, you should hide the wires from your under-cabinet lighting. If you are hardwiring the lights to a dimmer switch, you have a few options for hiding the cables.
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To make hiding your cables easier, you should install your under-cabinet lighting at the back of your cabinets and right up against the kitchen wall. Paint the bottom of your cabinets with reflective paint to illuminate the entire countertop each time you turn the cabinet lights on. Mounting the lights on the back of the cabinets allows you to hide the cables in the walls without running any cables to the front of the cabinets.
Inside the Cabinet
Hardwired or plug-in lights can be installed at the front of your cabinets for maximum illumination effect, and the cables can be hidden along the inside of the cabinets. Drill a small hole up towards the very front of the cabinet where it cannot be seen, and run the cable up through the hole. Run the cable along the very front of the cabinets and around the side until you can wire it into the switch cable from the wall. Use vinyl to cover the bottom of the cabinets and prevent the cable from being seen.
To create recessed lighting that hides cables and does not interfere with the cabinet space, you will need to build a bottom extension on your cabinets. Keep your recessed lighting to a height of no more than 2 inches to create cabinet extensions that do not intrude on the counter space. Replace the bottom part of the cabinet frame to a wider piece of wood to accommodate the new recessed lighting extension. To make working on the lights and repairing them easier, make the bottom extension removable by attaching the panels to the cabinet frame with screws instead of nails.
If you want to install lighting under your cabinets that is not recessed, you can hide the cables with an extra bottom panel. Run the wires you will need to power your lights along the bottom of the original cabinet bottom, and secure them in place. Put an extra panel, with holes corresponding to where the wires will run to the fixtures, over the wires, and mount the lights on the extra panel. Paint or stain the extra panel to match the cabinets, and attach it to the bottom of your cabinets with small screws so it can be easily removed to repair the light wiring.
George N. Root III
George N. Root III began writing professionally in 1985. His publishing credits include a weekly column in the "Lockport Union Sun and Journal" along with the "Spectrum," the "Niagara Falls Gazette," "Tonawanda News," "Watertown Daily News" and the "Buffalo News." Root has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the State University of New York, Buffalo.