Where to Start? Retrofitting Your Existing Lights to LEDs- Part 1

Retrofitting your existing lights when converting to LEDs doesn’t need to be a painful process

It is time to get rid of those old outdated under cabinet lights and modernize your kitchen, but where to start? This can be a daunting question and seem like an intimidating task to most homeowners. Whether your project is large or small, Inspired LED offers the lighting solutions, products, and customer support that will make retrofitting your existing lights to LED’s one of the easiest renovations you will undertake!

To decide on the options we offer in our product line, ask yourself these straightforward questions: How do you want to power and control the lights? What color lights do you like? And how bright do you want your lights to be?

Power and Control How do you want to power and control the lights?

You will be able to take advantage of the existing wiring after understanding a few key considerations. We offer low voltage lighting solutions, so the first step is to decide whether to utilize Plug-In Power Supplies or Hardwired Dimmable Transformers to get down to 12 Volts. Here is a quick breakdown on why to choose one type over the other:

Plug-In System Components

Retrofitting your existing lights- LED Power Supply with Dimmer

Hardwired System Components

Retrofitting your existing lights- LED Transformer with Dimmer Switch

PRO’s of a Plug-In System

  • DIY “plug-and-play” installation -no need to hire a contractor
  • Plugs directly into existing electrical outlet
  • Convenience Boxes are the fast and easy way to terminate existing high voltage wire drops to create usable outlets –can be controlled from a standard on/off wall switch
  • Traditionally the most affordable option

CON’s of a Plug-In System

  • Independent dimming -each power supply needs its own in-line dimmer or remote dimmer *however these will retain their setting when powered from switched outlets
  • Power supplies will not dim from a wall switch dimmer/outlet -plug in systems require in-line dimmers 

PRO’s of a Hardwired System

  • Convenience of dimming from a wall switch -most traditional control
  • Allows you to dim the entire system in sync from one approved Lutron Dimmer
  • 0-100% Dimming function = more control options 

CON’s of a Hardwired System

  • Transformer must be installed by a qualified/licensed electrician
  • Limited selection of compatible low voltage magnetic Lutron Dimmers
  • Can require multiple transformers when running in-wall cables is not an option = more money! 

Color Temperature- What color lights do you like?

Our Warm White is 3200K; a soft, natural color to match the other lights in your home. It is the best accent color for woodwork, earth tones and natural finished counter tops. More than 90% of our customers choose Warm White for kitchens!

Although not purchased as often, Cool White definitely has its place! At 6500K, Cool White is usually chosen when looking for more of a modern and cleaner feel. Cool White looks fantastic in kitchens with a lot of stainless and solid color cabinets!

Warm White and Cool White technically have the same light output, but Cool White has a higher color temperature which makes it appear “brighter”.

Retrofitting your existing lights- Warm White LEDs versus Cool White LEDs

Brightness- How bright do you want your lights to be?

LED’s light output is a linear measurement of lumens per foot. Simplified comparisons of brightness for our LED Flexible Strips and specific uses for each as follows:

  • Ultra Bright – 203 lumens per foot –Our best-selling under cabinet task and work light -“Bright enough to read a cookbook by!”
  • Super Bright – 143 lumens per foot –Our best value and most light for your money! Super Bright is sufficient for under cabinet accents and ambient lighting without overpowering your primary overhead lighting
  • Normal Bright – 67 lumens per foot –The perfect brightness for above cabinet accent lighting and lighting the interior of cabinets with glass fronts. Ideal for toe-kick, cove and crown molding lighting.
  • Double Row Ultra Bright – 406 lumens per foot –Twice the LED’s as Ultra Bright on one Flexible Strip -our answer for precision food prep lighting!
Super Bright (left) vs. Ultra Bright (right) –You can see that Super Bright casts a nice accent light on the back-splash while Ultra Bright is bright enough to cook and clean by!
Retrofitting your existing lights


Hopefully this inside info will give better understanding to your options and help to make those hard decisions a little easier. Check back for our next chapter:
“What to Install? -Retrofitting Your Existing Lights to LED’s- Part 2” where we will cover installation options based on your existing wiring. Stay Tuned! In the meantime, check out our website for more LED Inspiration!