How to Install LED Strip Lights

Use LED strip lights for custom bedroom or home office lighting

Closeup of installed LED strip lights

The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 30 mins - 1 hr
  • Total Time: 1 hr - 1 hr, 30 mins
  • Yield: New strip lighting for the home
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $50 to $100

Installing LED strip lights is significantly easier than attempting to measure, cut, and wire a new light fixture for the home, but it's still important to learn how to install LED strip lights properly. Simply sticking the strip lights to the ceiling, wall, or cabinet, may be quick and easy, but without first measuring the length of the light strip or plotting out the installation area, the final product can end up looking like a mess.

Use this guide to learn how to install LED strip lights to customize the lighting in the bedroom, home office, or den.

What Are LED Strip Lights?

LED strip lights consist of a series of light-emitting diodes surface mounted to a long flexible circuit board strip with adhesive backing for simple installation.

Before You Begin

Typically, LED strip lights use an adhesive backing for simple installation without the need for fasteners. However, if the target surface is rough, dirty, greasy, or uneven, this limits the contact between the adhesive and the target surface, which will reduce the strength of the connection. Before you begin, take some time to decide on the best location, then properly clean and dry the surface to prepare the area for the LED strip lights.

Also, it's recommended to plug in and test the LED strip lights before installing them, as well as cut or trim them to the right length. Check the manufacturer's product information to determine if the lights can be cut without damaging the product.

If the strip lights can be cut, measure and mark the desired length before proceeding. Inspect the LED lights to find the specified areas along the strip where it is safe to cut. These locations are typically indicated by a scissor symbol. Use scissors to cut through the light strip, then plug it in to test that it still works.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Tape measure
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Scissors


  • Strip lights
  • Strip light connector kit


Materials needed to install LED strip lights

The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

How to Install LED Strip Lights

  1. Measure and Mark the Installation Location

    Using a tape measure, take a measurement of the desired installation location. Mark the location with a pencil or chalk, then measure the length of the LED strip lights. If the strip lights are too long for the target location, check the product information to determine if the lights can be cut.

    Depending on the product, you may be able to use scissors to trim the LED strip lights to the appropriate length. However, if the product cannot be cut, then it may be better to find a different installation location.

    Marking and measuring the installation location of the LED lights

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  2. Clean and Dry the Installation Surface

    Prepare the area by washing the surface with a clean microfiber cloth and warm, soapy water. Alcohol wipes are often included with LED strip light products. Use these wipes after cleaning the surface to remove any oils.

    Cleaning and drying off the installation surface

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  3. Connect Strip Lights Using a Strip Connector

    If a single LED strip light is not long enough to complete the installation, you can increase the length by connecting two or more strip lights with a strip connector kit. These kits are available in straight, angled, or T-shapes, allowing you to create custom patterns and work around corners. Just make sure that the product can be cut before attempting to use strip connectors.

    Use scissors to cut the strip lights to the desired length, then slide the cut end of the strip into the open end of the connector. Pay attention to the labels on the strip lights and the strip connector. Match the color of the wire to each label, so the blue wire goes to the B, the red wire connects to the R, the green wire connects to the G, and the black wire connects to the 12V label.

    With the wires in place, close the connector to secure the wires. Before proceeding, plug in the strip lights to test that the connection was successful.

    Connecting the strands of LED strips

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  4. Apply the LED Strip Light

    Slowly peel off the backing, exposing about six to 18 inches of adhesive at a time. Start the installation of the LED strip lights close to where they will be plugged in. Carefully line up the strip lights, then press the exposed adhesive to the target surface.

    Press firmly to smooth down the strip lights, then peel off more backing, gradually exposing the adhesive before applying the strip lights to the target surface. Repeat this process until you have finished installing the LED strip lights.

    Peeling off the backing and installing the LED light strip

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  5. Test the LED Strip Lights

    Connect the LED strip lights to the power outlet and turn the lights on to test if the installation was successful. If the process went well, then the strip lights should turn on without issue. Take this moment to also test any remote controls, app controls, or voice control systems included with the product to ensure everything is functioning as it should.

    Testing the LED light strips

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic