One Simply Terrific Thing: Under-Cabinet Kitchen Lighting

under cabinet kitchen lighting with green smeg water kettle

Elspeth Velten

I have what I consider to be a decent NYC apartment kitchen. It has one window, one drawer, and a full-sized stove - a commodity that you’d be hard pressed to find in many apartments in the city. The one thing I don’t have in my kitchen (besides a life of luxury) is great lighting; the two overheads in the room provide lackluster brightness. 

So, after three years of lying to myself that the light under my microwave provided enough additional lighting to the space, my husband did some research and presented to me the existence of a reasonably priced, do-it-yourself under-cabinet lighting solution, which he found on Amazon.

For $50, the entire vibe and functionality of my kitchen was massively upgraded, with no costly investment in fixtures, no electrician bill, no spackle and paint, and no cabinet demolition of any kind!

under kitchen cabinet lighting

Elspeth Velten

A DIY Under-Cabinet Lighting Solution for the Kitchen

Many of the under-cabinet lighting sets offered on Amazon seem very similar. Some are sets of panels and some are flexible strips. Most can attach to the underside of your cabinet by either adhesive or the use of hardware. 

I needed enough lighting to light six feet of countertop, and a cool (but not too cool) temperature for utility and photo lighting. This set from E Shine ($50) ticked all the boxes.

It has three 12-inch panels that connect through a single strand of wire that plugs into one outlet, and the lights are dimmable and controlled with a motion sensor. I went with the warm white temperature. 

When the lights arrived, it only took me about 20 minutes to install them

I opted for the adhesive attachment method because it’s easier, took a less-than-scientific approach to spacing the three panels out across my six-foot under-cabinet span, and then wired them together for power from a single plug. 

Even Better? It’s Hands-Free!

I don’t even have to have clean hands to turn this light on, which is great when you’re cooking (or when you’re in a pandemic). One swipe under the sensor and the highest brightness illuminates my entire kitchen, so I don’t have to rely on the disturbing overhead lighting in the room at all. 

My entire countertop is finally bright for precision in my cooking (even if there is none), and the Instagram stories of my dinner have much improved brightness and color temperature, which I’m sure we can all agree is very important.