I'm replacing my kitchen cabinets.

I'm planning on having two independent runs of LED strips: under the wall cabinets and toe kicks. I'm also considering lights inside some cabinets such as the lazy susan and drawers.

LED strips under wall cabinets and toe kicks will have separated ZigBee controllers (basically a remote control) so no switch is needed, only power (12v) at the beginning of the strip.

For the cabinets with interior light I will have to leave a low voltage (12V) wire in there somewhere so I can later install a small LED strip and a door switch.

I was wondering how people wire these lights while keeping everything hidden, up to code and maintainable.

Is it done by adding outlets inside the cabinets? If yes, is it code compliant (I'm in Florida) and are there restrictions regarding the position of the outlet within the cabinet?

This is what the kitchen looks like and I marked the place where I believe is my starting point (whether with high or low voltage).

Where controller and power supplies will be installed.

Other elevation

Full view

EDITED 12/02/2020

Based on feedback, looks like it is against code to power the new outlets from the appliance ones, so here is a new idea.

There are 4 light switches on that wall for all lights in the kitchen and family room, I have neutral and hot from two different circuits (kitchen lights and family room lights). Maybe I can power this outlet from the kitchen lights circuit?

Also, if I have the power supplies and controllers in the cabinet above the fridge (which is dead space anyway - too high) and can run the 12V wires exposed behind the fridge, that can end up being really easy to maintain.

The updated plan.

Plan Update - 1

Kitchen wall view


  • That's a common strategy. It's how most range-hood microwaves are powered. I'll leave it to one of our experts to offer an answer on code compliance.
    – isherwood
    Nov 6, 2020 at 21:14
  • Tapping off the countertop receptacle is no good, in any case.... Nov 7, 2020 at 3:25
  • @ThreePhaseEel I agree in many cases it is a bad idea but would you say in all cases and why? There are a total of 6 gfci outlets through the whole countertop, they are already spread into 2 separate circuit breakers. It is impossible to run another wire straight to the breaker box without breaking walls and subfloor in different places and the load here will be minimum (all LED). Do you think I should abandon the idea all together? I don't think when they added 6 outlets they expected us to use all 6 anyway :-)
    – Ebrito
    Nov 8, 2020 at 5:40
  • @Ebrito -- it's against Code (NEC 210.52(B)(2)) for any outlet that is not either a kitchen countertop receptacle outlet covered under 210.52(C), a kitchen, dining room, or pantry wall receptacle outlet as per 210.52(A), or a receptacle outlet dedicated to a fridge to be put on the small appliance branch circuits. Nov 8, 2020 at 15:17
  • @Ebrito -- where are the wall switches for the existing kitchen lighting located in all this, and can you post photos of the insides of the boxes for said switches? Nov 8, 2020 at 15:19

2 Answers 2


Your first plan was indeed no good...

As I and others pointed out in the comments, your initial plan to tap power for undercabinet lighting from a kitchen countertop receptacle was a blatant violation of NEC 210.52(B):

(B) Small Appliances.

(1) Receptacle Outlets Served. In the kitchen, pantry, breakfast room, dining room, or similar area of a dwelling unit, the two or more 20-ampere small-appliance branch circuits required by 210.11(C)(1) shall serve all wall and floor receptacle outlets covered by 210.52(A), all countertop outlets covered by 210.52(C), and receptacle outlets for refrigeration equipment.

Exception No. 1: In addition to the required receptacles specified by 210.52, switched receptacles supplied from a general-purpose branch circuit as defined in 210.70(A)(1), Exception No. 1, shall be permitted.

Exception No. 2: In addition to the required receptacles specified by 210.52, a receptacle outlet to serve a specific appliance shall be permitted to be supplied from an individual branch circuit rated 15 amperes or greater.

(2) No Other Outlets. The two or more small-appliance branch circuits specified in 210.52(B)(1) shall have no other outlets.

Exception No. 1: A receptacle installed solely for the electrical supply to and support of an electric clock in any of the rooms specified in 210.52(B)(1).

Exception No. 2: Receptacles installed to provide power for supplemental equipment and lighting on gas-fired ranges, ovens, or counter-mounted cooking units.

(3) Kitchen Receptacle Requirements. Receptacles installed in a kitchen to serve countertop surfaces shall be supplied by not fewer than two small-appliance branch circuits, either or both of which shall also be permitted to supply receptacle outlets in the same kitchen and in other rooms specified in 210.52(B)(1). Additional small-appliance branch circuits shall be permitted to supply receptacle outlets in the kitchen and other rooms specified in 210.52(B)(1). No small-appliance branch circuit shall serve more than one kitchen.

Your revised plan will work though

The good news is that moving the undercabinet light outlet to a lighting branch circuit works just fine under the NEC, as there are no requirements for dedicated branch circuits to serve lighting in a dwelling unit, only receptacles. My personal preference would be to use the kitchen lighting branch circuit to keep things logical for the next person who has to touch this, but there is no law that prohibits the kitchen undercabinet lights from going on the same branch circuit as the living room lights.

  • That is great news. One thing: the whole idea of having the outlet inside the cabinet was to make it compliant somehow but it would be a lot easier to have it outside instead, just there in the wall with the power supply connected direct to it. Would having this other outlet in the wall, about the same height as the fridge outlet a code violation as well? Let's say I have a plan that works and now I'm just trying to make it easier for me :-)
    – Ebrito
    Dec 4, 2020 at 1:42
  • @Ebrito -- as it turns out, there's an exception for switched receptacles in the Code Dec 4, 2020 at 1:44
  • So if that is what takes to avoid a code violation... inside the cabinet it is :-)
    – Ebrito
    Dec 4, 2020 at 1:48
  • Really? Closer to the cabinet or at the same height as the fridge receptacle?
    – Ebrito
    Dec 4, 2020 at 1:55
  • @Ebrito -- apologies, forgot a few details in your original post, inside the cabinets it is since you aren't switching them Dec 4, 2020 at 1:56

People actually pay me to do this for them... Couple things. LEDs need a driver or transformer(both ugly and sometimes large)to work. I use 12v as they make very bright strips at 12v and I'll never run into a load(power overload) prob with 18 and 22 gauge cable. I do this both ways. I run feeds from a closet so I can place larger power supplies in an area where no one will see them and if possible, put outlets above cabinets or one or two down low.

For my doors, I use magnetic normally open security reed switches(contacts) which turn the lights on when you open the doors. You have to watch which LEDs you use as the magnetic reed switches generally only support around .25 amps.

But yes... Outlets strategically placed is absolutely a good idea.

  • You completely fail to address the primary code issue here, namely that he wants to use a kitchen SABC to power lighting, which is a pretty blatant NEC 210.52(B)(2) violation Nov 19, 2020 at 0:19

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