Monday, May 17, 2010

How To Make: Over Cabinet Lighting

With the revamping of my kitchen cabinets, I knew that I wanted things to be lighter. And I do mean that not only with the paint color, but actual LIGHT. I only have one "window {which is really a door} in my kitchen. So any natural light is scarce.

I'm a fan of under cabinet lighting {a lot actually} but I am not a fan of exposed cords. And with my current set-up, there is no way I can have it to my liking it unless it's hardwired. Oh, and I have a thing with the light's color {hi, yes I'm colorblind} I cannot stand white light. I like yellowy glows or basically anything Reveal. I know, I'm fickle.

Since my original choice is out the window, I decided to do OVER cabinet lighting. You know, for some ambiance {I'm pronouncing it Oom-be-on-sss} I'm sure you can't tell from the daytime pics, but my kitchen is pitch black at night.

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With some careful planning, I figured out how to make it work. And 9 times out of 10 so can you.

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See the red arrows? Those are the two locations where there was a outlet. My microwave is for one and the other is my fridge. EVERYONE has a fridge right? Maybe not all have cabinets over them, but you can still make it work.

So here's what you'll need:

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This is a Spade drill bit. You can use one of these or anything that can make the appropriate size hole {step bit, forstner bit, etc} My Spade bit is a 1 inch but it really needed to be bigger. Oh and also, if you can afford to get a electric drill, please do. The rechargeable drills have zero power and are for putting IKEA furniture together and hanging frames. Electric drills = you'll thank me later.

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Rope lights. I found mine at Walmart for about $7.00 for a 12 foot set. They are also connectible. I ended up using one on the left cabinets {we'll call them the "fridge cabinets"}and two on the main cabinets {which we'll call the "microwave cabinets"} You can also find them at Lowe's for a bit more. I understand they also have LED ones if you are worried about conserving energy. Who isn't, right?! {I guess that would be me} Maybe take a gander at Home Depot too.

Get ready, because we're going to drill into your cabinets. My husband kept asking "What are you going in there?" Boring through your cabinets is a truly horrible noise.

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Don't laugh. This is the best I could do in Picnik. This is where you'd drill. The key is to drill so the rope can go thru without being seen. So my first hole would be thru the cabinets over the fridge because that's where the first outlet is {again, this is the one that I think most people can do, because everyone has a fridge that needs an outlet}

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Here is the result of a too small spade bit, so make sure your bit is a tad bigger than the rope lighting.

Here is my set up now. I wanted you to see how I set it up and how it all fit together. By the way, I am a huge fan of timers. I set up almost all of my lights in my living spaces on timers. And these were no exception. I just adjust the timers with the time change and they come on exactly when they need to. I'd also love a Clapper but I think I'm too young for that still.

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So you can see, the extension cord is coming up through the bottom hole and it is going out the hole at the top left of the cabinet where the rope lights are plugged in.

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Drill a hole through the side of the next cabinet and top of the center cabinet.

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You can do this if your cabinets are all one level as well. Matter of fact, it'd be easier that way. Once your holes are drilled, I painted the inside of the holes just so it wouldn't be so obvious.


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Not too bad huh? AND I don't have to worry about turning them on or off. The actual rope light doesn't get hot either. It's nice to have a dim light that you don't have to turn off while watching TV but you can still  see in your purse. I'm sure you can appreciate that.

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406 Olivia said...

What a resourceful solution. It looks fantastic!

Tonia of Chic Modern Vintage said...

This looks great. I never would have thought of that, and I'm sure that it was easy on the pocketbook too.

Catherine Hansen Peart said...

So, so clever!

Averill said...

I likey. Great way to make the kitchen look taller, too. And I totally agree about white light. HATE IT. New house has LEDs in all the potlights and I hate them so much I never turn them on. Been buying a lot of lamps instead. :)

Liz said...

SUCH an awesome job!! I love the creativity, and your end result looks great. Yay for more lights!

~ Liz

Debbie said...

That is awesome!~ I love lighting, it adds so much. Thanks for stopping by.

Melanie Beth said...

I love the look - and wish I had a kitchen where this was doable! Just a thought though...instead of a timer, you could always try a wireless remote light switch. It would allow you to turn the lights on and off when you wanted! We use them in our house and they work great! Anyway just a thought, and by the way I love your kitchen!

Christine said...

Wow! brilliant idea! I may use this idea in the future... You should also get glass shelves in the cabinet that lights up inside, so the light filters down through the whole cabinet!

Awesome work!

Suzan said...

I am, without a doubt, going to do this in my kitchen! I don't have a plug over my range cabinet but I do have a cabinet over my fridge and (as a bonus) all my cabinets are the same height. Thanks so much for the tutorial!

Jan @ bobbypins boardwalk said...

This is really an excellent tutorial and suggestion. Posting this project is a big help to me and others too, I'm sure. My question is this -- do you think that this rope lighting would work UNDER the cabinets? Would this lighting provide additional visibility or is it all just for effect? Just curious about your opinion on this. I will subscribe to comments, so if you prefer, you can simply post a response on comments, in case anyone else is wondering this! Thanks you!!!!

Kristina at The Purple Pea said...

Jan- thanks for stopping by! You know, I'm sure you can do this under your cabinets. I've seen it where they install it in a zig-zag pattern under the cabinets for more light. I'm not sure how much light it would really produce tho. I know if I wanted under cabinet lighting, I'd probably want a bit brighter light to see if I was chopping veggies or something. BUT I know that Lowe's and HD have LED rope lights that are more expensive, but have a bright white light.

The Zhush said...

Wow! Very cool and informative, great blog!


Wow! Very nice. As far as the cabinets being different heights, I think it looks cool that the top shelf in your glass front cabinet is lighted.