Skip to content

DIY or DIY-Not: Under-Cabinet and Counter Lighting Installs

Under-cabinet and counter lighting, as well as lights inside cabinets, are becoming more popular in homes, especially kitchens, entertainment areas, and offices. Not only do they enhance the appearance of the room on a budget, they also fit in smaller localized areas, and many are energy efficient.

Under cabinet lighting is perfect for those dark corners of your kitchen, making it easy to see what you are doing while cooking for yourself, friends, or family. Under cabinet floor lighting helps guide the way to the fridge for that midnight snack at night without bumping into any chairs or pets along the way.

There are different types of lights to consider when thinking about this project; all come with pros and cons. It’s also important to remember, that although it may seem like a simple job to do it yourself, calling a specialist is the best, and safest step.

Under counter and cabinet lighting in a kitchen

Rope and Tape Lights

These lights run the entire length of the underside of the cabinet, allowing more consistent brightness under the counters or cabinets. These tape strips operate from a standard outlet, but linking them to power can be tricky. They provide a low level of light to find your way in the dark. They come in fun colors, to spice up the plain kitchen or offices. These come in an LED option, providing energy efficiency, and can be easily controlled and programmed.

Puck Lights

Puck lights are an affordable option. They resemble hockey pucks and are typically placed equally spaced under the cabinets to illuminate desired spaces. You can also place these in specific areas, for a more targeted approach, like a reading light, or near the refrigerator. Just like the rope and tape lights, puck lights also come in an LED option but are brighter.

Fluorescent Lights

These come in strips and are one of the brightest options. This could be good for a workshop bench or a garage. Fluorescent lights have a longer lifeline and are lower on the energy-efficiency level. In addition, oftentimes fluorescent fixtures are compatible with LED bulbs, and they are more common now than ever before for fixture companies to have LED fixtures.


Just like fluorescent lights, xenons are extremely bright. They don’t rank high on the energy-efficiency meter, so your bill might increase if you frequently use these lights. This would not be a good option if you want to leave them on all night, but due to their brightness, is more commonly found in medical facilities, studio or stage lighting, and even vehicle headlights.

There are many options to choose from when it comes to under-counter and cabinet lighting. Remember, although the items can be purchased at your nearest hardware store, it’s not something to tackle on your own. If incorrectly installed, a wrong job may turn into a fire hazard, costing you more money than it would if you hired someone who knows how to connect the live wires.