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How to Install Picture Frame Lights on Built-ins

Hey there!

I put together this post in hopes that it can serve you as a guide on installing picture frame lights on built-ins. I didn't find much info on this subject, and it's always good to have a reference point before tackling some projects. So, hopefully, this can be of help if you decide to give this kind of light a try.

This is how the total unit looks now that everything is done. You can find the final reveal right HERE.

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As I said before, we hired out the electrical part - running cables and bringing the power to where we needed it.

For these specific lights, the guys run the cables from an outlet located below that hole they created -the picture below - all the way up to the top of the shelves...

Up there, they left an outlet box for the lights to be plugged into. They also run a cable down to the desk area and installed a switch to turn those lights on and off.

So, it was our turn to install the fixtures. 

I used the Westinghouse Lighting Corp. 14-inch picture lights, they were the most economical fixtures of this type that I found.

But, for the overall design of the room, I decided to paint the body of the lights black, using Rust-Oleum High Heat Spray Paint. I like their new look. ;)

The holes where the lights were going to be positioned were done with a ½" Spade blade drill attachment.

The ideal way would've been to install them vertically, but we had to do it horizontally because I didn't want the lights reaching the mid-point of the header.

A piece of shim was added to keep them straight on the back. If you're installing them vertically, you won't need this.

You need to temporarily remove the plug to pass the cable through the board. Don't worry, it's easy.

With both lights and plugs in their place, it was time to install that longboard/header, plugging both lights into the outlet box above the shelves.

This is how they look now:

Since I installed the base mechanism on the side, the light sits very flat/horizontally, not tilting down to bring more light to the inside of the shelves. At first, it kind of bothered me to see the underside/bulbs that much. However, it works fine in my case because I also need the light on the desk's surface.

The light can be adjusted to make it tilt down but it's very limited. You can also use this light without hard-wiring it, it has an on/off switch on its own.

For more info on the other lights in this room, check the post right HERE.

Stay tuned, because the decorating part is almost done. :)

Thanks for stopping by!

The following are all the links to each of the projects done in this room so far:

Enjoy what you read today?



  1. Cristina, I have to tell you, I cannot get enough of this room. I love it. Can't wait to see what else you do. Getting all kinds of ideas for my 8 year olds' room. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Lighting can really make such a big impact. I LOVE IT!!!

  3. Can you help me with my master closet makeover? I think your would do the best job on it?! Seriously, this is fabulous work!

  4. Great tutorial, I can't wait to see it all decorated!

  5. Qué gran tutoríal amiga , me estoy llevando grandes ideas ,, cariños

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