Installing Undercabinet Lights


The easiest way to light kitchen counter space is to install low-voltage halogen lights under the wall cabinets. Halogens also help create a dramatic display area inside glass-fronted cabinets.

The most common type of halogen is called a puck light because of its shape, but other shapes are available. Buy a kit that includes lights, cord, a transformer, and a cord switch.

Halogens get very hot. Locate them out of children's reach or where they aren't accidentally touched. In areas where heat can build up -- such as inside a cabinet -- install bulbs of lower wattage.

Plan the locations of the lights and the plug-in unit and work out the least conspicuous route for the cord. Staple the cord under a cabinet or shelf, or drill small holes and run the cord inside the cabinet and out of sight.

To control halogens from a wall switch, install a switch/receptacle.


About 2 hours to install five or six halogens with transformer and switch

Screwdriver, drill, strippers, long-nose pliers, hammer

Drilling holes, driving screws

Spread a towel or small drop cloth on the surface below.

Halogen light kit, including lights, a plug-in unit, transformer, cord, and switch

Step 1

Position each lighting unit as recommended by the manufacturer. Check that the mounting screws provided don't pierce through to the inside of the cabinet. Fasten each fixture in place.

Step 2

When all the fixtures are in place, run connecting wires between them; then connect the source line that runs from the lights to a receptacle. Some kits come with plugs already installed. Coil any excess wire and hide it near the back of the cabinet.

Step 3

Fasten the connecting cords to the underside of the cabinet. Use the staples provided with the kit or plastic-coated or round-top staples. Don't use metal square-top staples; they may cut the cord.

Step 4

Slide back the lens covering. Holding the halogen bulb with a cloth, install it in the fixture. Replace the lens.

Step 5

Plug in the main cord and turn the lights on with the switch. On the model shown, the direction of the lamp adjusts by swiveling the lamp housing.

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