Under cabinet lighting can add visual appeal to your kitchen, but what to do with the wires? Unless you want to leave them exposed, you have to come up with ways to conceal them. Luckily, there are various methods you can use, all of which allow you to hide the cables with little to no effort.
One of the easiest ways to hide under cabinet lighting wires is with cable protectors. You could also install a wood valance or a recessed lighting fixture for a streamlined look. Alternatively, you can run the wires directly through the cabinets or fix them on a wall behind the cabinetry.
Hiding Under Cabinet Lighting in Different Ways
There are several ways to hide under cabinet lighting wires. Choose the most suitable option based on the type of cabinets that you have.
Valance Lighting Fixtures
Valance lighting fixtures are generally installed under a ceiling, but many manufacturers make wood valances designed to conceal lighting wires under cabinets. The easiest way to install them is with wood glue; then, you can fix the wires behind them with staples or wire brackets.
1. Select the valance style
Under cabinet valances are available in a number of modern and traditional styles, allowing homeowners to match them with any cabinet design. Shop around until you find a model that you like.
2. Clean the wooden board under the cabinet
Valances are generally glued to the bottom of the cabinet, but the glue won’t adhere to a dirty surface. Since the area under the upper units is a magnet for grease and vapor, we recommend cleaning it with a degreaser before applying the glue.
3. Install the valance
Smear wood glue over the entire valance back and press it against the bottom of the cabinet. Keep it in place for a few minutes to allow the glue to adhere (you could use some wood sticks or other objects to hold it in place). Let the glue dry completely for the time specified on the package.
4. Paint the valance
While valances come in a number of colors, you could choose to paint them to match the shade of your cabinets. Apply primer, then a coat of paint. Let it dry and apply a second coat, then seal the surface with a waterproof topcoat.
5. Install the wires
Attach the wires to the valance panel with wire staples or brackets. Use sufficient fasteners to prevent sagging. That’s it.
Recessed Lighting Fixtures
Similar to wood valances, recessed lighting fixtures allow you to hide the wires inside a panel. Follow the same steps to install the recessed lighting fixture to the bottom of the cabinets, then route the wires through the panel.
Cable protectors are made of a variety of materials, including plastic, metal, and wood. We recommend the wood option to conceal under cabinet lighting wires. Follow the steps below to install them.
1. Gather all wires in a bundle
Use tie wraps to secure all your lighting wires in a bundle and make sure the wire length extends exactly from the wall to the light fixture. Measure the width of your bundle.
2. Prepare the cable protector
Cut a groove through the wood cable protector with a router tool. This will create a bed that can accommodate your wire bundle.
3. Route the wires through the bundle
If the light is already installed, fix the wires under the cabinet with staples; otherwise, place the cable protector right over the bundle, routing the wires through the grooves you just cut.
4. Affix the cable protector under the cabinet
Use wood nails or wood glue to affix the cable protector to the bottom of the cabinet. If you decide to glue it, wait for the adhesive to dry completely.
5. Paint the cable protector
If necessary, paint the cable protector with wood paint in the color of your cabinets. This solution works well for modern and traditional cabinets alike.
Routing the wires within cabinetry comes in handy if you have an ultra-modern kitchen with sleek lines and no option for installing recessed lighting or a valance.
1. Decide the best route
Depending on the type of cabinets you have and where the outlet is located, decide how to route the wires inside the cabinets. Mark the spots where you have to drill holes with a pencil.
2. Drill wire holes
According to the route you planned, drill sufficient holes through the cabinet panels with a ¼-inch drill bit. Remove the dust with a cloth or a vacuum cleaner when you’re done.
3. Install the wires
Route the wires through the holes you just drilled and affix them with wire staples or brackets. You can then install the light under the cabinet.
Behind a Cabinet Overhang
Hiding under cabinet lighting wires behind a cabinet overhang is an excellent choice if you have traditional-style cabinets and want to install the light toward the front of the cabinet. All you have to do is to affix the wires with brackets or wire staples.
On the Wall Behind the Cabinets
As opposed to installing the lights behind an overhang, you can hide them behind the cabinet. This solution works well for light strips that you want to install toward the back of the cabinet, near the wall. Run the wires along the wall, slightly above the edge of the cabinet. You can then install the lights right under the edge to conceal the wires completely.
Where To Mount Under Cabinet Lights: 3 Possible Locations
Deciding what is the best placement for your under cabinet lights can be daunting. Each location comes with pros and cons, so you must consider whether you’re looking for a design feature or a functional element.
At the Front
If you want to install under cabinet lights to enhance your kitchen’s aesthetic appeal, opt for a front installation. The best lights for this location are the LED strips that can highlight the beauty of your cabinets.
This location isn’t the best if you’re looking for more brightness above the workspace because they are generally too close to the eyes. However, the effect is fashionably stylish when you’re looking at the cabinets from a distance.
In the Middle
An installation in the middle of the cabinet is preferred if you’re looking to maximize brightness over the countertop. This location can still enhance your kitchen’s beauty, but the choice is more functional than aesthetic.
The best lights for this location are spotlights that can direct the beam right onto the counter. You can choose from a variety of light colors, although natural or white are your best bet.
Alternatively, you could install a multicolor light bulb that allows you to change the color from natural or white to red, blue, purple, or green.
At the Back
Like a frontal placement, installing the lights at the back of the cabinet brings more aesthetic value than functionality. This location provides more light over the counter compared to a front installation, though. However, you may not reach the maximum luminosity levels as part of the beam will fall on the wall. You could opt for any lighting fixture, from LED strips to spotlights.
Hiding Under Cabinet Lighting Wires: Is It Still Worth It?
If you want to install wired lights under the cabinets, concealing the wires will give your kitchen a cleaner, more streamlined look. The only exception is a design feature with exposed wires – but these are generally covered in rope or other stylish materials.
Alternatively, you can opt for adhesive, battery-powered under-cabinet lights. This option is an excellent choice for people living in rented homes or those who are not sure about installing a lighting fixture. If you get tired of your under cabinet light, you can simply remove it without worrying about holes. And as a bonus, there are no wires to conceal.
Concealing under cabinet lighting wires is easy, and the task won’t take more than an hour or two to complete. However, you may still have questions. Check out the answers below.
Can I also hide the upper cabinet lighting?
Yes, you can hide the upper cabinet lighting with lighting rails or recessed lighting panels mounted inside the cabinet on its ceiling.
No matter what concealment method you choose, you should install the rail or panel with wood glue; wood nails are an alternative, but you’ll be left with holes in the cabinet if you ever want to remove the lighting fixture.
What is an under cabinet light cover?
Under cabinet light covers are acrylic panels designed to diffuse the light in a way similar to a ceiling or wall light cover. These lenses allow you to maximize the light output coming from one light bulb or spotlight, especially if you’re installing the lights for better workspace visibility.
Most covers conceal the entire area under the cabinet, eliminating the need to use other methods to hide the wires.
What is a valance lighting fixture?
A valance lighting fixture is a type of recessed lighting, generally mounted right under a ceiling or above the window. The main difference between the valance and recessed lighting is that a valance directs the beam both upwards and downwards, whereas recessed lighting usually directs the beam only towards the floor.
Kitchen cabinet valances share the same characteristics but are made of wood and designed for an under-cabinet installation.
How much does it cost to install under cabinet lighting?
Installing one lighting fixture under the cabinet can cost you between $227.65 and $297.18 for labor and materials, on average. These prices refer to installing the lighting fixture only and don’t include the cost of adding new electrical outlets, if necessary.
If you have to add an outlet, expect to pay at least $100 – $150 more, and you might also need a permit for the work.
If you don’t have to add a new outlet, you can cut off the costs by installing the fixture yourself. In this case, you’ll only have to pay for the materials (about $50 – $100, on average).
Hiding the under cabinet lighting wires can give your kitchen a beautiful finished look. Under cabinet lights may not raise the resale value of your home, but they can be a practical and aesthetical addition to your space. Hopefully, the methods above will help you conceal the wires like a pro.