...because home doesn't happen overnight.
12.06.13 / Cabinet Lighting

It’s snowing here today and when it snows it sorta makes our skylights nonexistent. From inside, all we see is snow-covered glass. I’m so happy we decided to put those four skylights in during renovation. We’ve grown accustomed to living with them and don’t realize how much natural light they let in until they’re buried in snow. Gloomy days like this also make me thankful that our electrician-in-law talked us into installing cabinet lighting.

cabinet lights 3

I’ve been meaning to post about the cabinet lighting for a while but keep forgetting. Thank goodness for dark and snowy weather to jostle my memory!

We hired our electrician-in-law to help us update the electrical in the house. I cannot stress enough how important his knowledge was to us. He made several suggestions about where to install new lighting and which type of lighting to use. For instance, in the hallway that leads to the bedrooms and bathrooms, our EIL recommended installing a few recessed can lights staggered along the ceiling so that they would wash areas of wall space. Genius! We totally would have lined the cans straight down the center of the hall.

Another idea our EIL had was to install quality over- and under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen. We had overlooked cabinet lighting assuming lighting from other sources {skylights, pendants above the island, sconce above the sink, lamps in the living area, track lighting along the apex of the vaulted ceiling, etc.} in the open kitchen / living space would provide us with all the light we needed. But after the idea was mentioned, HH and I bit.

cabinet lights 2

Our EIL suggested a Kichler cabinet lighting kit. It’s a linear lighting system that houses 12V / 10W LED’s which put off warm white light. New electrical had to be run to supply the cabinet lighting. Our EIL handled that and to save money, HH installed the cabinet lighting system himself. The track is screwed into the cabinets, a cable snaps into the track and LED festoons snap on top of that. To disguise the track from the front, HH screwed slim white PVC trim from Home Depot along the tops and bottoms of the upper cabinets. The PVC matches our cabinets close enough so we didn’t have to paint it but you could if necessary.

The system was not cheap but considering how much we use it, it was a worthy investment. In the evenings and early mornings or on dreary days like today, we have the cabinet lighting on. It gets used on a daily basis and provides warm ambient light that beats rope lighting or fluorescent undermounts any day. {We’ve had both in previous houses.} HH and I both have a thing for good artificial lighting. A house can be as stylish as ever but if there isn’t enough lighting when it’s dark, or worse yet, when lighting is harsh or blue-ish, we both notice it and it’s bothersome. Spending money on good lighting goes along with #9 on Belinda’s list of things she learned while renovating her previous home.

“The amount you spend on a project should reflect how much you use it.”

I couldn’t agree more. If lighting isn’t your thing, then by all means put your money elsewhere.

We do have one complaint about the cabinet lighting. Every once in a while one or two bulbs won’t light when we flip the switch on. A gentle tap is all it takes to get it working so apparently there is a connection problem. It’s not a huge deal but when the bulb that is out is over the cabinets, then someone has to climb onto the counter to tap it. Plus, we paid good money for this system. HH recently contacted Kichler about the problem. They said the problem is known on their end and they are sending us complementary replacement LED’s to fix it. We’ll see…

UPDATE: Here are links for the lighting system and bulb / socket we have.

cabinet lights kitchen

cabinet light 1

It’s difficult to convey warm artificial light in a photograph but hopefully you get the idea. {Please forgive the blank desk area. It’s a work in progress!} I like that the cabinet lighting helps warm up the kitchen at night when we’re hanging out in the adjacent living room. By nature, kitchens have a lot of slick and shiny surfaces that make them feel cold and industrious in an open concept space. Anything we can do to warm ours up makes for a better atmosphere in the open living / kitchen space. Often times at night, we will utilize only the cabinet lighting and a few accent lights {floor lamp, task lamp} in the living area and forgo the track lighting along the ceiling and the pendants above the island. It makes for some very cozy mood lighting.

cabinet lights 4

We’re in for more snow this weekend so you can bet our cabinet lights will be on. Here’s to a warm and cozy weekend!

P.S. – Another lighting project suggested by our EIL.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



Where did you get your flower pot on your island?


That was a purchase for our dining table outdoors this past spring. I picked it up at IKEA. It made it through the summer and I hope to keep it alive indoors until next spring! Fingers crossed.


Very good tip, thank you. Will keep this in mind when we do our remodel. Hopefully sooner rather than later. Stay warm this weekend.


We are redoing our kitchen next summer and I love the pendants above your island, where are they from? They are beautiful!


Good morning,
Under cabinet lights make all the difference! Worth every penny….. Pretty kitchen too. I’m in love with the wood island. Beautiful.

This post makes me realize that we have very little decent lighting in my house. If we weren’t moving I’d be all over it. Def making a mental note though for our dream home- it looks like a show house with that gorgeous lighting!!


The cabinet lighting looks great in your kitchen! Can you give us an idea of about how much it costs to do this project?


The globe pendant lights are from West Elm!


LOVE your house! where did you find this rug?

Every time I see your kitchen my jaw drops. I LOVE your kitchen. The cabinet lighting is such a great touch too! xx Liz Marie


The one in front of the sink {in the shot with the fridge} is from ebay and the one at the desk area is from etsy. They are both vintage.


Most “builder” kitchens skimp on under cabinet lighting – and that usually means that you are blocking the light when you stand at the counter to work. You’re smart with the under cabinet lighting: you can see what you are doing. Moreover, in your house the lighting over the cabinets adds such a warm glow and brings general lighting into the room. It’s beautiful and practical. It’s really very nice. (I’m in a builder basic right now, and dreaming of the changes I want to make.)


I love your kitchen! Especially the globe pendant lights. I think they would be extra pretty with Edison bulbs.


The cabinet lighting is looking fabulous in your kitchen and I am also excited to have such amazing lighting fixtures in my kitchen.

[…] little while ago I was inspired by Dana‘s under cabinet lights in her kitchen. While I couldn’t have anything quite so permanent and beautiful (not to […]

[…] If you are interested in adding under cabinet lighting, Dana, from House Tweaking shares her experience in this post. […]


Lovely! May I ask why you didn’t go with Ikea LED Lighting?


Well, beside the amazing cabinet lighting, seems most of us love your house too. :)


Coming late to this thread, but you should really check out what me and my wife did last year — got those Klauf light bars off of Kickstarter. LOVE THEM!! They are brighter, efficient (from what I’ve seen), the color is perfect. Happy wife = happy life!! Myself, I like that they’re made in USA too. So much of this lighting is Chinese…gotta support home first.


Thanks for the recommendation!