The finale to the under-cabinet lighting debacle

Once upon a time I tried to install some under-cabinet lighting in my kitchen.

It was a total FAIL.

I wrote a post about the huge lighting fail back in January. You should go read it. It was kinda funny.

Besides the fact that it looked really dumb, it put off this horrible high-pitched noise. It was so awful I thought the fillings were going to rattle right out of my teeth.

I would love some permanent under-cabinet lighting with a real-for-real switch on the wall and no visible cords showing, but I’m not ready to commit to that quite yet. (Spoiler alert: we might do a little mini kitchen reno in the future and that needs to happen before any permanent lights are installed.)

Well, let’s see, what month are we in? Oh, July. So SEVEN MONTHS (!!!) later, I’m finally back with an update to my under-cabinet lighting sit-u-ation goin’ on here.

Are you ready for it?

Cheap semi-permanent under cabinet lighting from  #ikea #lighting #cabinet #kitchen

That’s right, peeps. I’ve found a cheap semi-permanent under cabinet lighting solution. And when I say “semi-permanent” it probably pretty much means 100% permanent ’cause that’s how I roll. I rig up some crappy temporary solution that looks totally trashy and then I leave it until I eventually move.

When you see how this things rigged up you’ll probably equally cringe and laugh at the same time.

Okay, so for starters I happened upon these cool LED lights at ikea. They are over by the Billy bookcases in case you are wondering.

They are $14.99 at ikea but if you don’t have an ikea you are welcome to order them from amazon for the incredibly low price of only $28.95 + $5.95 shipping. Now that’s a steal-of-a-deal.

To install, all you do is hook the 3 plastic LED pieces together, attach the light strip under your cabinet and plug it in. There’s even a nifty little toggle switch so you don’t have to plug and unplug them.

To “hide” all the extra cording I used good ol’ fashioned box tape. Very professional.

I told you it was classy. 😉

But you know what? Unless you are 2 feet tall you can’t even see all the cords and box tape. All you see are cabinets that are beautifully lit underneath. Oh, and the plugs hanging down plugged in, which I guess look kinda dumb but do I care? I really don’t.

I’m so impressed by how much light these little LED lights put out. And the best part? They make NO noise.

I also really like how they each came with their own light switch. I attached the switch on the side of each cabinet. Makes turning them off and on so easy.

You can see the switch just enough, but again, the cords are hidden.

In the spirit of keeping it real, here’s the hot mess that is the cords and box tape. Love it. I tried using a staple gun but I almost shorted out the cable with a staple, so I gave up on that and moved to box tape.

These little ikea lights put off just enough light to make me feel like I don’t live in a cave anymore. Can you tell the difference?:

I should have taken night photos. Trust me, it’s a LOT of light.

This little spot wedged between a fridge that is too big and an obnoxious huge microwave and stove box really is the cave of the kitchen. Having light here has made such a huge difference.

In total I bought and hung 3 packages of lights, so I spent about $45 plus tax. There’s one by the fridge and then two over by the stove top (one on either side of the stove top).

We generally leave them on about 99% of the time now because they put off ZERO heat at all, so even at night while I’m asleep I don’t worry that they will burn the house down or anything.

It’s nice to have closure to this under-cabinet debacle and it’s even nicer to finally have light so I can see and not feel like I live in a dark hole. Only took 2 years! ha!

Here’s that pinterest-ready photo just rearin’ and ready to go in case you are just itching to pin something.

And in case you are wondering, the following items were spotted in the kitchen and tutorials for each can be found by clicking below.

Painted knife block:

DIY cardboard letter:

Your Special Day plate:

Related Posts with Thumbnails


  1. I will be picking up these lights next time I am at Ikea. Love it!

  2. You’re hilarious! I hate those lights too, I put that same one in my Mom’s kitchen and wanted to go all Exorcist the minute I turned it on but my Mom LIKEs it!! Now every time I visit my mother I have to hear the horrible thing. I love LED lights.
    I want to know exactly how the spray painted Dawn hand soap dispenser is doing? I don’t like soap dispensers, even the Method brand. They should be required to use peel-off labels, I bought these things, why do I have to advertise their product in the privacy of my own home?
    I am specifically wondering how the stem of the pump apparatus is holding up. Thanks for all your hard work!

  3. Hi! The lighting looks great. We have tried several undercabinet lights and they always heat up the food on the bottom shelf of the cabinets. Do the LED lights heat up like the other lights?

  4. Glad you found a solution. Taking months or years to solve a ‘problem’ is typical in my house too. Lucky for us our kitchen came with under the cabinet lights built in, so that is one problem I don’t have. I love the under the cabinet lights, especially at night. So cozy to eat a bedtime snack or just sit and chat with your hubby.
    Love your blog!

  5. Looks good! We’ve been shopping for under-cabinet lights for our kitchen as well and so far everything that I’ve seen has been so BIG that it would show too much. These look like just the ticket. I’m going to check these out.

  6. I enjoy some of your projects very much, but lately have been feeling that you just put entries up to put them up, and there is no heart in any of your recent projects. (With some exceptions, of course)
    That, combined with your brash attitude & constant freak outs about people “stealing” your content has made this a no longer enjoyable blog to read. I will be unsubscribing, but wish you the best of luck. Hopefully you will start doing more meaningful projects! You & your readers deserve it. Not taping some lights under your cabinets. And you take money & free products for these kind of posts? That’s a shame. If you are getting paid for something, you should give it your all.

  7. Allison…girl you are hilarious and I LOVE your style! I would SSOO do this too! 🙂 Have a great week!!

    Niki Blake

  8. What a great idea, I love it. Adding to my list of things to buy next time I go to IKEA.

  9. Very clever! I’ve been searching for some under cabinet lighting ideas that won’t break the bank or require me to call an electrician and I think I’ve found the one! So thanks 😀

  10. We are going to organize those cords once and for all…if my hubby were involved, he would have some solution to your cord problem. He’s a techie and has to keep those cords neat….hmmm! I LOVE your lighting and I may even attempt to try those same ones myself 🙂 Thanks for idea, Allison!!

    Becky B.
    Organizing Made Fun

  11. Oooooh, nice! I wonder if I could rig those lights as above cabinet lighting and plug them in where our range top microwave is?? Wheels are turning here!

  12. I live in an apartment and I hate being in the kitchen because there just isn’t enough light. I, too, can’t stand the buzz from the lights I have tried before. Thanks for this post. I look forward to the weekend when I can get me 4-5 or these and some packing tape (which is perfect for my situtation. Thanks again! PS Victoria sucks and I for one am glad she is gone.

  13. You made my day!!!

    I have been trying to figure out an under cabinet lighting solution for MONTHS! Everything is too thick (so you see it) or too expensive…like WAY too expensive (like $60 a light expensive ouch!) And installing light rail on my cabinets is also super pricey.

    I do have a question though. Are you able to connect / link multiple sets of these together so you only need one plug in?

    IKEA is two hours away but it might just be worth the trip!!


  14. Just sayin–Victoria who are you to say Allison’s blog isn’t meaningful?? Perhaps you aren’t in touch with things that everyday people like to try to do. Hope you can find another way to feel good about yourself than trashing a stranger who is just trying to help people out.

  15. I also LOVE under cabinet lighting, and you do some really amazing, inspiring things on your blog! I visit often! But I think that there must be better alternatives out there than taping the lights to the bottom of the cabinet and having to stare at those cords running up your walls. But cords stress me out anyway. I always try to find a way to hide them, like stuff them in a basket, so maybe it’s just me 🙂 And you have to flip the switch manually for every one….. that would drive me crazy! Not the biggest fan of this one, but to each his own, right? And big props for your creativity.

  16. I have to tell ya, these are fantastic. I put in (or should I say the electrician) under counter lights that came on a thin roll that are actually taped under the cabinets. I needed three rolls and a transformer for a cost over $500.00. Although they are on a light switch, they look so incredibly similar to yours. At $45 give or take, I would take the plug in version! It’s great. It was also great meeting you at Haven. I am finally going to really “get my blog on!”

  17. You made my day!!!

    I have been trying to figure out an under cabinet lighting solution for MONTHS! Everything is too thick (so you see it) or too expensive…like WAY too expensive (like $60 a light expensive ouch!) And installing light rail on my cabinets (to accommodate a larger cheaper light) is also super pricey. These ikea lights might just be the answer!

    I do have a question though. Are you able to connect / link multiple sets of these together so you only need one plug in?

    IKEA is two hours away but it might just be worth the trip!!


  18. claire ashworth says:

    long-time lurker, but i just had to comment–you crack me UP!! i love that you just slapped tape up there after almost shorting the cords with staples hahahahaha… just my style!!

  19. Ikea for President – all of our troubles would be solved! Great solution !

  20. Whew — I have been doing some major catching up over here!!! My blog reading time has slipped and I’ve missed all your fab projects. Love the new art you’re doing…congrats on a successful Etsy shop!!…and these cabinet lights are perfect! I feel so fancy when mine are on! xo

  21. Great solution! No shame in using packaging tape. We really need to do this in our kitchen. I tried talking the husband into getting those lights when we were at Ikea but he said no. Fun ruiner. It’s probably because he spends far less time in the kitchen than me, thus he doesn’t understand my situation.

  22. Like so many of the best ideas, annoyingly simple!! On the other side of the water, I too shall be trying this out.

  23. I just got these as well. Difference is that I hard wired all the cables, and extended the wires so all the transformers went into the basement.

    I also cut off the switches, and made all these lights work off of 2 switches one being a dimmer.

    Easy way to think of this : Once your at the transformer your using low voltage .ie. speaker wire.

    Thus, no wires, no plugs everything in wall all leading to our basement.

  24. If I have a longer cabinet can I attach one or more bars to the 3 that are connected. That is amazing and like you don’t want to spend over $500.00.

  25. I am tired of LED lighting – too bright and commercial looking. I had an under-cabinet cd player with a 4 watt appliance bulb which was PERFECT and now I cannot find one like it anywhere. Just bought task lighting strip at Lowes – too bright compared to rest of kitchen lighting. Does anyone know where I can get a simple “old fashioned” kind of under cabinet light? thanks…

  26. When it comes to the kitchen, under cupboard lighting is one of the most important aspects. This lighting is not just for the kitchen. You can use it wherever you have installed cabinets, be it your basement bar or dining room.

  27. First of all I want to say great blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was interested to know how you center yourself and
    clear your thoughts prior to writing. I’ve had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out there.
    I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally lost
    just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips?
    Many thanks!

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