From the BlogSubscribe Now

Let there be (fancy, low-watt, high-tech) LIGHT!

You shouldn’t drool over nutella recipes on pinterest when you’re on a diet.

Homemade nutella recipe! (sorry.)

You shouldn’t make eye contact with strangers on elevators.
You shouldn’t buy underwear at a thrift store.

And you definitely shouldn’t build your built-in bookcases before you decide whether you want to wire them for lighting. Oops. (Fortunately I can still say I’ve never made the underwear-in-a-thrift-store faux-pas.)

Here’s the last shot I showed you of our office built-in wall in progress:
It looks a little crazy and a LOT “under construction,” but everything was coming along smoothly. The only problem was that we reached this point BEFORE Andy and I had the following conversation one very late night:

Andy:

We forgot to talk about whether we should put lighting in the bookshelves.

Me:

Um. Oh yeah.

Andy:

I’d have to wire for it. Except that we’ve already closed everything in. I’d have to run wires through the ceiling, down through the columns into each bookshelf.

Me:

Sounds GREAT! Let’s do it.

So we started researching our options for under-cabinet lighting, keeping in mind that we’re a TINY budget.

I’d found this photo of a lit bookshelf on pinterest. While I liked the idea of lighting, Andy and I both agreed we wanted to light each shelf, not just the top. I also didn’t love the puck-light look. We used these puck lights for our under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen, and instead of creating an even glow, they produce little hot spots on certain parts of the counter. Not ideal.

Source

We also considered LED strip lights and rope lights. Everything was either way more than we wanted to spend – a couple hundred dollars at LEAST to light every shelf individually – or just ugly (fluorescent lights, I’m looking at you).

Until we stumbled upon the COOLEST, BEST undercabinet light option EVER. Seriously.

Andy started digging and came across these lights on Amazon*. They’re called LED reels, and they come on a 16-foot strip that you apply like tape. Each tiny light is about 2 inches apart, and each reel is only $12!
If you can solder wire, you can even install part of the strip, cut it, and use the rest of the strip somewhere else.

The way you do this is by using magic and wizardry, as far as I know. Fortunately Andy is fluent.

We bought two strips plus a transformer (which you need, according to the Electronics Wizard). Total cost: around 30 bucks. (The price of the transformer has gone up a couple bucks since we bought it.)

Andy spent SEVERAL evenings wiring each shelf. (Yes, this would’ve gone MUCH faster if we’d done this before building the shelves.) But guess what? It was SO WORTH it. Look how amazing it looks all lit up!

At night:

In daylight:(We left the bottom center shelf unlit because that’s where the computer monitor will go, and lights there would interfere with our ability to see the screen.)

Deluxe, right?

It casts a smooth, even natural light on each shelf (similar in color to an incandescent bulb) and I think it’ll look pretty stunning once I paint the back wall and add books, art and useless-but-pretty tchotchkes. Did I mention it only cost $30?! AAAAAND, the LED lights use virtually NO electricity. Something like 3 watts. THREE WATTS. You’re welcome, Earth. And monthly power bill.

Update: We posted a tutorial for installing these lights, if you’re interested! Check it out here.

Up next we’ll finish trimming it out, then caulk, paint and other fun finishing jobs (like STYLING! Yay!). Was your weekend as productive as ours? Did you get any little projects accomplished or spend the weekend doing normal-people things like having fun and relaxing? Or did you hit the thrift stores for some new skivvies?

UPDATE: See how we used these LED lights to make a lamp run on batteries. Cordless lamps are where it’s AT.

*Amazon links take you to my affiliate shop.


Let's connect

Comments

  1. WOW. That looks great!!! So, maybe I’m dumb or maybe I missed it in the post – where exactly did you put the lights? Along the middle of the shelves (on the underside)? That is looking fantastic! Can’t wait to see it all “done up.”

  2. Um well I did find an extraordinarily flattering pair of floral bloomers at Goodwill over the weekend….am I going to get a disease or something if I wear them? :P

    What a cool solution to your problem! I love how they make each shelf glow. Can’t wait to see your styling…I agree, that’s the most fun part! :)

    ps-I don’t actually buy and wear used panties. Ew.

  3. OK seriously… you may have just saved us a lot of work. We want under the cabinet lighting in our kitchen, but we dont have an overhang on the bottom so that they aren’t visible, but it looks like this would work without having to add it! So excited! This looks amazing!!! Definitely worth the extra $30.

  4. cassie says:

    WOW!!!!! so so awesome!!!! love it! and i will have my honey-do list ready for your husband when he is all done over there. ;)

  5. It looks beautiful! Fabulous solution. I’d love to see how he did it…I can’t get my head around what to do at the end of each shelf. Does the strip have to be cut, or do you keep it as one long strip that snakes through each shelf? Yes, I’m clueless.

  6. Kelly, you and Andy are superstars! For real! You guys have done an amazing job – I just about fell over when I saw how effectively they light up each shelf! I was expecting the cold, stark light that seems to be inherent with LED lights but you are right, it looks so similar to incandescents! I’m with Carrie, can you talk us through how you thread/cut the strips? Your blog is becoming my DIY bible!

  7. No. Way. That looks completely amazing! I’m going to go ahead and third the requests for a “how to”. This is awesome!

  8. Faith says:

    Wow! That looks terrific. I’ve been wanting to put some undercabinet lighting in our kitchen so I’ll be looking into this stuff for certain. Still can’t believe y’all (Andy) built that. Impressive.

  9. Denise says:

    And I’ll make it a fourth request – would love to know where you fitted them to get such a great even light over the whole shelf.

    Amazing, just what I want in the alcoves next to my fireplace (although no backing as I want the wallpaper to show through). Thanks for sharing.

  10. Liz says:

    I love the lighting! We may need to look up that lighting for when we replace our kitchen cabinets this year. It looks amazing!

  11. I’m going with the masses. How-to post this business. Jump on it. Because I want to jump on under cabinet lighting on my very own but I want to steal all of your magic secrets first.

  12. Another vote, or desperate plea, for a how-to. This looks amazing!

  13. I’m with them. Give us the secret recipe so we can light up our lives as well. Stunning!!!!

  14. Jessie says:

    You guys are amazing! I haven’t heard of LED reels before, thanks for sharing. The shelves look great, you guys did a wonderful job. And that beautiful lighting is the cherry on the top!

    I can’t wait to see it styled!

    Jessie
    http://www.mixandchic.com

  15. Oh My! I love this!

  16. Kelly,

    You are a genius! I love this look! We have built-ins very similar to yours (that my husband built, too) in the family room. I have always wanted lighting. Can you e-mail me your source where you bought them?
    PS Have you heard anything about the contest?

    karianne

  17. Lisa Hankins says:

    I am completely and utterly in LOVE with you now! There are thousands of us who have this same dilemma and you guys totally solved it for us! OMG thank youuuuu for sharing this awesome find! I pinned this for the universe to see :)

  18. Jen says:

    WOWZERS! Love your built in, so pretty! That lighting is amazing! High fives to you, I can see that you are going to have a fabulous space when it’s all said and done!

    xoxo!
    Jen

  19. Oh my gosh, best idea ever! I’ve seen these at Home Depot, but they were expensive! I will be ordering through Amazon for sure. And $30 total? That’s how much I spent on those 3 CRAPPY lights that I returned. I can definitely swing $30

  20. Those look great and I love how you found a solution that worked for you!

    If you’re interested, we’re hosting our first ever link up party. Please stop by and link up! http://www.waywardgirlscrafts.com/2012/01/wayward-weekend-week-1.html

  21. Brilliant! Great Post .. Would Love for you to come share on my new Link party http://www.getouttamyheadplease.com/2012/01/show-it-off-link-party-8.html

  22. Omg! You did a fantastic job! You are so talented!!! This is a great post! I’m having a linky party as well, and would love for you to join it! Here is the link http://www.thesouthernproductqueen.com/one-stop-s… Thanks for sharing!

  23. Suzan says:

    I am planning to put lights under and above my kitchen cabinets. These lights will be perfect! Also checked out the tutorial. I think I can do this all by myself! Thanks for posting. (I am “pinning”!)

  24. Kim says:

    Seriously.. I think I love you.. You have just changed my life!!! I have been looking for this solution for a long long time…

  25. Tracy says:

    can anyone direct me to the tutorial on led strip light installation?

Trackbacks

  1. [...] by Queen B and Me.Beaded Chandelier by The Hunted Interior.LED Under-cabinet Lighting for Less by View Along the Way.Hot Chocolate Dippers by The Moody Fashionista.Chocolate and Butterscotch Caramel Pecan Bars by [...]

  2. [...] didn’t want to go overboard with the info on our new undercabinet lighting solution earlier in the week, so I kept it high-level, but a bunch of you asked for more info on how to make [...]

  3. [...] propped them up on the shelves: Then we checked out each chip at night and in daylight, with our snazzy undercabinet lights on and off, gradually eliminating one paint chip after another, until we got [...]

  4. [...] the cabinet boxes: And the doors: Then started installing: Added some snazzy moulding: And the coolest lighting system ever: Chose some pretty cabinet hardware: And selected a paint color using our patented Thinking Tube [...]

  5. [...] I get started, a couple quick notes. A few of you asked for a how-to on our bookshelf lights – you got it, hopefully Friday. You guys know I can’t say no to your squishy little [...]

  6. […] I turn on the chandelier, the shoe area lights up. It was really cheap and easy! We used the same lighting we used for our DIY office bookshelves, and I’ll have more details on this – you guessed it! – in an upcoming post […]

Speak Your Mind

*

Back to top          Privacy Policy          Copyright © 2013 View Along the Way. All rights reserved.          Contact Me