Adding lighting to your closet can make the morning hunt for what to wear a little easier. The best closet lighting should have LED bulbs in a color temperature that makes sense for your closet type and can be installed in a way that meets your needs, whether you want hardwired, plug-in, or battery-operated options. LED lights are the way to go when it comes to closet lighting, since they last longer, emit great light, and don’t get as hot as other types of bulbs.
Color temperature, measured in kelvins (K), refers to how warm or cool the light looks. The higher the number, the whiter the light. 5,000 kelvins is a good temperature for reach-in closets. It mimics natural daylight but isn’t as harsh as higher temperatures. For walk-in closets where you’ll be trying on outfits, however, you might want to opt for temperatures around 3,000 or 4,000 kelvins, since the warmer light will show the true colors of your clothing without washing it out.
As for installation, the best permanent closet lighting solution is something that’s hardwired into your closet. While this is typically more expensive, you won’t have to recharge batteries or use up an outlet to keep your closet illuminated. However, if you’re renting, there are lots of good battery-operated or plug-in lights that are easy to install on your own.
Whether permanent or removable, always keep safety in mind. To avoid fire hazards, light fixtures should be at least 12 inches away from items stored in the closet. For smaller closets, LED tape or other stick-on cabinet lighting can give you the lighting you want in a thin, compact form that’s easier to install in a way that keeps it a safe distance from your clothes.
Finally, think about other features you might want. Motion sensors turn on and off on its own, ensuring you never accidentally leave the lights on. Dimmable lighting is convenient if you want low light while getting ready for bed or getting dressed early in the morning before your partner wakes up. Smart lights give you tons of customization options and can often be controlled from your phone.
Whether you want a hardwired system or a renter-friendly removable option, this roundup of LED closet lighting solutions has what you need to start making your closet more functional.
1. A Plug-In LED Tube Light For Your Closet
This 5,000-kelvin plug-in LED light fixture from Airand is perfect for reach-in and walk-in closets alike. The fixtures are less than 1.5 inches thick, so they should be able to mount securely inside most closets (yes, even small ones) while still leaving at least 12 inches of space between the fixture and your clothes. And the 2-foot length means they’ll cast plenty of light throughout the space, even if you can only fit one fixture inside.
For larger walk-in closets, you’ll be happy to know you can link multiple lights together as a multi-fixture closet lighting system, all connected to a single plug. You can link up to 18 fixtures to the same system, which should be more than enough for even the biggest walk-in closets. Each light comes ready to plug in and go, but they can also be hardwired into your home’s electrical system if you prefer a more permanent setup. They’re available in packs of one and two, in a few lengths ranging from 2 to 5 feet.
According to one reviewer: “We have an under-stairs closet that has no light in it. We tried battery-operated, motion sensing lights but they were never bright enough, and went through batteries far too quickly. This electric one fit the bill. Nice to have the option to direct wire, plug in, or chain them together. We plugged this one into an outlet. It's nice and bright and provides just the amount of light we needed.”
2. These Easy-To-Install Puck Lights
Simply peel and stick to install these Brilliant Evolution LED puck lights. The thin, lightweight fixtures can be stuck anywhere. Since they’re battery-powered, there’s no need to worry about sticking them near an outlet or hardwiring them into your electrical system. Each puck produces a warm but bright 3,000-kelvin glow that’s great for walk-in closets or pantries. Plus, the easy-to-use lights turn on and off with a quick tap.
According to one reviewer: “We lit a dark closet and also stuck one on the underside of kitchen cabinets to brighten the counters. Easy to click, shines sufficiently […] These are small and very lightweight and we would buy them again if we needed more. I am sensitive to bright white lights because I’m always getting migraines but these don’t bug me.”
3. A 2-Pack of Rechargeable LED Lights For Your Closet
When you want lots of bright light without dealing with hardwiring or plugs, these battery-powered 16-inch long LED lights from YIGER are the way to go. The motion-sensor lights come in a long, thin design that can fit in most closets while still staying a safe distance from your clothes and the battery-powered lights are rechargeable, so you don’t have to worry about replacing batteries. The LED fixtures produce light up to 6,000 kelvins, which is a bright, natural-looking light that works great in reach-in closets. If you plan to use the lights in a walk-in closet where you plan to try on outfits, you can opt for a dimmer setting to better see how the clothes look without washing out the colors.
These lights feature a unique magnetic installation that makes them a versatile lighting solution. Instead of sticking the fixture directly to adhesive tape, the fixtures are magnetic. You can either stick the included adhesive iron strips to the ceiling or wall where you want the lights to be in order to attract the magnets on the lights – or you can simply mount the aluminum light to any magnetic metal surface. The coolest thing about this magnetic mounting system is that if you’re rummaging through the back of your closet, you can simply pull the light off of its iron strip and use it as a flashlight. When you’re done, pop it right back in place. This also means you can pull it down easily when it’s time to recharge instead of trying to get the charger to reach the light from an outlet.
According to one reviewer: “A great addition to my closet, bright light and easy install because the built-in magnet attached at my wall/door corner where there is a metal strip. [I’m] able to adjust the height location easily along the metal strip […] I've had it for at least 2 months and have not had to charge it yet. Love the features and ease of use. I have the other on my garage fridge and love now it lights up when I walk out there in the dark for me, hands free.”
4. A 2-Pack of Colorful Light Strips
For a fun and easy-to-install closet lighting system that’s also functional in other spaces, this two-pack of smart LED light strips from Dalattin gives you all the customization you need to tailor your lighting system to your mood. Each LED strip has millions of color options, a dimmer, and programmable settings that can be controlled from your smartphone or from the included remote control. Set the lights to change colors and flash in tune with any music you might be playing while you get dressed, or program it to turn on automatically in the morning when you wake up and off by the time you leave the house. Set a higher brightness level in the morning and warmer light to help you wind down at night — there are lots of options!
For larger closets, the two rolls of 32.8-foot LED light strips connect to each other so you can run the entire system on one plug. For any closet, the adhesive backing and ability to cut the strips to size makes it super easy to install this lighting system just the way you want it. Line the doorway or shelves to cast light across the entire space.
According to one reviewer: “These lights are freakin awesome. They are super easy to set up and don't require any extra adhesive which i think is amazing. I placed a part of the light strand in the wrong place and it was easy to remove and reapply to the correct part. It adds great [ambiance] to the room and being able to change the brightness and color modes are great too.”
5. A Budget-Friendly Adhesive Light Strip With Motion Sensors
With a motion sensor and preset day and night modes, the CFGROW LED strip is another convenient option for closets of all sizes. It’s battery-powered (using four AAA batteries) but can also be plugged into a standard micro-USB charger if you prefer a plug-in option. Just note that a charging cable isn’t included so you’ll need to grab a micro-USB charging cable if you want to plug the system in.
While you only get one strip in the pack, you can choose from different lengths ranging from 3.28 feet to 19.68 feet long (the one featured above is 9.84 feet). You can also cut them to size as needed. Each strip can be set to turn on automatically when it detects motion with its infrared sensor. You can then program the light-on time to last anywhere from just 15 seconds up to 5 minutes after the motion sensor detects movement. You also have the option to set it to “sun” or “moon” mode. In sun mode, the lights will turn on whenever the sensor detects motion, no matter what time of day it is. In moon mode, the motion sensor will only turn the lights on at night. There’s also a regular on/off switch if you just want to just turn the lights on and off yourself. One thing to note is that these lights are a little warmer than recommended at 2,700 kelvins. It might be better for a walk-in closet than a reach-in one.
According to one reviewer: “This strip was a really great solution for a linen closet that we converted into a pantry. Adding a single light at the top would not help much and I didn't want to run electrical into it; so we needed battery solution. I ran this strip around the top half of the door, with the motion detector at waist level. As you can see, it lights up everything pretty nicely!”
6. A 4-Pack of Hardwired Recessed LED Panels
The AVANLO Super Slim closet lighting system is a sleek, versatile hardwired lighting system that would work great in a larger walk-in closet. The four-pack of 4,000-kelvin dimmable LED light fixtures can be installed in any closet. Since the 12-inch square fixtures are recessed into the ceiling, there’s no bulky casing taking up space in smaller closets.
The 4,000-kelvin light is bright enough to see everything in your closet but warm enough to not be too harsh while trying on clothes. If you prefer a warmer glow, these also come in a 3,000-kelvin version — and for those who prefer whiter lighting, there’s a 5,000-kelvin version, too.
You can buy these lights in packs of one if you’d rather not buy four.
According to one reviewer: “These are awesome! Put them in all the closets, way brighter and very clean look. Also put one in Utility room, garage and one in the kitchen too [...] I highly recommend.”
7. A 2-Pack Of Smart Hardwired Recessed Lights
Get all the perks of smart LED lights combined with the perks of a permanent, hardwired closet lighting system in this two-pack of Lumary smart recessed lights. Each fixture boasts a dimmable light ranging from a warm 2,500 kelvins to an ultra-cool 6,500 kelvins. And you can choose from millions of colors and save your favorite color and brightness levels as a preset “scene” in the Lumary app on your phone. You can also program the lights to turn themselves on and off at the same time each day, or even sync to music.And best of all, the hardwired system won’t ever run out of battery or take up an outlet in your home. For larger closets or multiple closets, you can opt for a four-pack, and for smaller ones, just buy fixtures as needed in packs of one or two.
According to one reviewer: “The light output produced by these lights are extremely bright for their size. The app control is extremely accurate and responsive. One feature that I love the most is when the lights are turned off they return to their last settings. The different hues of white are also selectable in the app.”