Question about kitchen & smart lighting

I’m hoping to redo my whole kitchen (complete gut) in the summer & I want to add smart lighting. Cabinets are not cheap at all…at least the good ones so my thinking is I can add a light strip along the bottom but the plug would be seen, have a cabinet with a glass door & one light inside…that plug would not be seen & I’m. Not sure if people add light strips at the top of the cabinets because im.not even sure how I would plug that one in. I was going to do a separate get switch for the fan & then use a regular switch for the lighting because I know you cant have a smart switch & smart lighting together. Any suggestions is appreciated. I’m not doing the kitchen until the summer but I want to have the smart part planned out for my contractor so I know what to tell him. Thanks again guys.

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If you’re doing a complete gut, then I’d have light strips at the bottom of the cabinets (along the wall), and along the top behind any molding of the cabinets you may have up there. I’d do LED’s for sure.

I’d have them hardwired to switches on a wall instead of plugging anything in (cleaner look), one switch for the top and one switch for the bottom. The light strips themselves don’t need to be “smart” just as long as you put in a smart switch at the wall where you’ll be controlling them.

That’s technically the easy part and a basic setup. What you’re going to have to figure out is if you want those lights to dim or change colors, just be on/off, and/or do you want to control each set of lights at each cabinet separately. Also, to throw in another decision point, will you need to control these lights from more that one physical location.

Once you make those decisions, you’ll know what smart switches to find. There are options for each scenario.

We just helped someone plan something similar, and they getting LED strips at the bottom and top of the cabinets. They are LED’s that are dimmable with no colors (just soft white). They will be hardwired to switches on the wall, and will be controlled from 2 places of the kitchen. They’re planning to use GE’s zigbee devices to control them once the build is complete. My home has something very similar, except mine don’t dim and they’re halogen bulbs.

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I was going to put Phillip’s hue color strips on bottom & then top. I didnt even think of hooking them up to a switch but that’s a good idea. I’m figuring I can co trol each strip independently & besides my kitchen is small. I was also going to put color bulbs in the ceiling…recessed lighting I’m thinking.

Cool, glad to hear you’re thinking through options. I bet it will turn out nice when it’s all done. I would recommend that you catch up on a few topics in the community about mixing/controlling smart bulbs (in your ceiling idea) and smart switches together, as well as the Hue products and smart switches. I’m mobile at the moment for a while, so I can’t easily add links to those discussions, but they’re around here somewhere. Tagging @JDRoberts this morning because he’s linked to those FAQs a lot.

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I have been browsing to get ideas & will keep looking. Hoping able to.get at least 1 cabinet with glass & a light but that is.not cheap.

People do many different things with kitchen lighting. It’s more common to have strip lighting underneath the cabinets, just because then it lights the area underneath the cabinets, but some people do put it on top because they like the look or inside a glass cabinet. It really depends on the areas you are trying to light. :sunglasses:

Defining Lighting Zones In the Kitchen

Professional planners working on the kitchen start by defining the lighting “zones.” Typically there’s bright lighting from overhead fixtures. But there will be other parts of the kitchen that require different kinds of lighting depending on the activity done in that area.

One of the challenges of kitchen lighting that makes it different from bedrooms and living room is is that you can’t use table lamps or floor lamps to add spot lighting.


Eating areas

There may be dimmable lighting over an eating area if you have a table and chairs in the kitchen as well. Or an”island“ that also has seating.

One style is to use “pendant” lights that hang down fairly close to the surface they are lighting, particularly for the eating areas. You can get these in a style to match the ceiling fixtures or something different depending on your decorating style. It also depends on how high the ceiling is.


Then there are work zones, most commonly one over the sink and one over the stove. These are bright spotlight areas. In the kitchen this is usually called “task lighting.”

Strip Lighting

And then we come to strip lighting. As I mentioned, under the cabinets is a popular place to light the counters for task work, but also is something you can turn on late at night without having to deal with full brightness from the overhead fixtures.


And other strip lighting is done just for visual effect.

Preventing falls: Where’s the cat?

One big mistake that people make is to light only the countertops and not the floors. Late At night you need to be able to see what is on the floor as well If you don’t want to turn on the overhead lights. So you will also see some kitchens that have strip lighting underneath the counters just for this purpose, or under the lower cabinets, or maybe some small battery operated safety lights at the end of the counters or on the island. (You can see one of these in the zone graphic above.)These have become more popular for fall prevention in recent years.

Both of these kitchens have added pathway lighting for safety reasons. The next picture is using soft angled lighting from above.


And this project used lighting underneath the bottom cabinets

Smart Lighting

Smart lighting becomes really practical once you’ve divided up the kitchen into these kinds of zones because you can often use the same fixture at different times of day for different purposes. Or have multiple lights on the same switch but with different behavior. :sunglasses:

Reports on SmartThings Projects

You can find project reports on what other people in the community have done, many with pictures, by going to the quick browse lists in the community-created wiki, looking down near the bottom of the page for the project report section, then looking down a little further for the “projects by room“ subsection and finally choosing the “kitchen“ list. Many of those projects are for lighting.


The post above is EXACTLY why I tagged @JDRoberts!


As @johnconstantelo Already mentioned, you can absolutely have a smart switch and smart lighting together as long as the smart switch does not control the current to the light. Instead, the switch sends a message to the hub and the hub sends a message to the light. There are many options for this.

See the following FAQ. It says “hue” in the topic title, but it applies to any brand of smart lights. :sunglasses::level_slider::bulb:

Thanks guys & a couple of questions. When I say smart switch I mean a switch like a ge zwave switch. How would I hardwire a Phillip’s light switch if it has a plug at the end. Do tje wires get spliced? I never saw under the cabinet lighting but that is something to think about. The saving grace is my kitchen is small but what stinks is it needs a complete gut because everything is so weird ho it was designed or I should say lack of design.

Should I be using Phillip’s strips? Looking at some of the kitchen projects people are not using Phillip’s strip ligjts.

Phillips Hue strip lights are excellent quality and easy to use, but typically more expensive than using dumb light strips With a smart controller. So it’s up to you.

We use Phillips Hue at our house because since I have to pay someone else to do any setup, it actually ended up being cheaper for us to get something that just plugged in and worked. :sunglasses:

How could I hook up huge light strip to a switch?

My personal choice would be to use the new “friends of hue“ battery free switch that you can stick up anywhere. It doesn’t have to be wired, it uses kinetic energy.

It works best with the hue bridge, but it will work directly with a smartthings hub that supports zigbee 3.0 (the V3 or the Wi-Fi model) but don’t worry about controlling the switch, that’s just to have the convenience manual control. Set up your automation to control the strips themselves.

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That’s a good idea jd, I read about that switch. Why didn’t I even think of it.

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I just did a complete gut/rebuild of my kitchen. I have five hihats with Hue color bulbs, and two color hue light strips under cabinets. The power is run from above, and down between cabinets.

I’m happy with it. However, after al was complete the wife asked for lighting IN the glass-front cabinets. The cabinets are up to the ceiling so I can’t do that without tearing up some of the brand new molding. Were I to do it over again I would have put some lights in those cabinets.

For switches I’m using cheap smartphones. Very versatile.


Two thoughts:

  • if you’re doing a complete gut, then you should hard-wire your lighting. Getting an electrician to add boxes to connect lighting will be a minor expense in such a large project

  • More is better. Lots of good suggestions in other posts. You’re basically getting one chance while the room is back to bare walls so take the opportunity to put lights everywhere. It’s very unlikely you will later wish you had fewer lights!

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Good point. :sunglasses: I know several people who have added outlets inside of cabinets during a remodel specifically so they can switch lighting or sensors or cameras later.

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So I could put an outlet inside the cabinet for the light strips?

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Sure, it’s just like putting an outlet under the sink for a garbage disposal. Or in a center cabinet for a microwave. :sunglasses:

Or this:

image|304x304|alt=“Kitchen drawer with phone charging outlet installed”


I used thermostat wire and connectors for my LED strips. Put the Controller on a Smart Switch.