I'm interested in installing LED strip lighting around a door frame in a reach-in closet and laundry space (essentially a deeper reach-in closet with washer/dryer side by side).

I plan to purchase aluminum channels, install them along the sides and top of the door frame, next to the molding, and insert the LED strip lights inside. I would like to also have the lighting be controlled by a regular light switch or sensor.

I am having difficulty deciding if going with a regular plug-in transformer or with a hardwired transformer option is best (i.e., looks professional)/code-compliant.

I'm not sure that I want an AC adapter brick hanging out on the floor or shelf (or wherever I decide to put it). Similarly, if going with the hardwired option, do I need to enclose it in a box or protect it somehow?



No matter what you do, yes, you have to follow electrical codes (in North America, the NEC), and this means proper enclosures for any mains voltage stuff. The NEC doesn't have anything to say about low voltage (<= 30V) wiring.

Essentially this comes down to preference, there's no right answer as to what is 'better'. A hard-wired solution can have a neater final appearance, but it's also more work to install and very difficult to remove.

Since what you're doing is kind of non-standard, I'd personally go with something easier to remove.

Install an outlet somewhere up high and near the door frame, then install a light switch (wherever is convenient) wiring it so the switch controls half the outlet. I'd look for a plug-in type transformer ("wall wart" style), wire it to the LED strip and plug it into the controlled outlet.

plug-in transformer

If you trim excess wire from the transformer (and maybe even run a small bit of stick-on conduit) it will still be very neat, and the benefit is you can completely remove the LED strip and be left with a standard plug and switch. Later someone could plug in their own light to this, or even convert the outlet to an actual light fixture (depending on where you put the outlet).

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