How to restore and improve a wardrobe with your own hands. Part 3

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In this Article: Determining the Place for Mounting Lights Inside the Wardrobe Cabinet, Selecting Luminaires for the Sliding Wardrobe, Selecting and Installing Switches, Installing Electrical WiringCommunity Q&A.

How to restore and improve a wardrobe with your own hands. Part 3

  • How to restore and improve a wardrobe with your own hands. Part 1
  • How to restore and improve a wardrobe with your own hands. Part 2
  • How to restore and improve a wardrobe with your own hands. Part 4

We have already mentioned the small benefit of external illumination of the wardrobe, which has rather a decorative purpose than a practical one. Now it’s time to consider in more detail the issue of efficient lighting of the space inside the body of this furniture, as well as the selection and installation of switches and lighting fixtures of your choice..

New materials and luminaire models developed over the past few years make your furniture truly modern and functional. A wide range of models and ease of installation of LED strips, fluorescent and halogen lamps enable us today to carry out our own installation of lighting for the interior of the wardrobe. This is also facilitated by a large selection of switches and a variety of sensors, which allow you to easily control your recessed lights.

Determination of the place for mounting lamps inside the wardrobe-compartment

As we found out, in order to achieve the maximum effect from the work of lighting fixtures, they must be placed inside the furniture. Moreover, given the fact that the shelves will interfere with the further passage of light, you should know that installing lamps only in the upper compartments will not bring the desired result. Therefore, lighting fixtures need to be placed at different levels, in each of the niches that you yourself define..

By the way, you don’t need to install too many lamps – it will be superfluous. In our case, they will not be required in those places where the pantograph, pull-out linen baskets and nets for shoes are located. Since all these mechanisms will provide you with access to things outside the inner space of the cabinet, it makes no sense to spend money and time purchasing and connecting extra lamps. The most rational for a 3-door wardrobe will be the installation of lamps in the mezzanine compartments and where the stationary hanger bars are located.

How to restore and improve a wardrobe with your own hands. Part 3

You should also determine (after you have chosen the niches where the lamps will be located) the optimal place for fixing them. While doing this, you need to take into account several factors: they should not interfere with taking and folding things, the light from them should be evenly distributed throughout the entire space inside each niche, nothing will prevent you from getting to the switch if it is located on the panel of the lighting fixture. You need to heed these recommendations, because if you ignore them, the whole event loses its meaning – you will gain little in terms of comfort.

The choice of lamps for the wardrobe

With all the variety of lighting devices on the market today, the most suitable for lighting the interior of a wardrobe are:

  • fluorescent lamps in a flat plastic or metal case;
  • LED lights;
  • combined furniture lamps for wardrobes.

The main requirement for luminaires for installation inside a wardrobe is maximum efficiency with minimum dimensions. That is, the lamp housing should be as flat as possible. Ordinary fluorescent lamps are perfect for these purposes, which, despite their low price, successfully cope with the task assigned to them. In addition, they are quite easy to fix, both under a horizontal shelf and on a vertical rack. To do this, it is enough to remove the cover and take out the lamp, screw it to the chipboard through the holes in the rear panel. Since the screw head often slips through them, stock up immediately with washers of a suitable diameter so as not to redo the work twice.

How to restore and improve a wardrobe with your own hands. Part 3

Fluorescent lamps have different shapes, colors and materials from which the body is made. More expensive are lamps made of stainless steel or with decorative chrome and nickel plating. It is much more profitable to purchase lamps with a painted tin body and a shade with plastic tips, a set of four will cost you about 500-1000 rubles. The most suitable for our case can be considered lamps 350 mm long and 8-10 watts. The base color of the body of these lighting fixtures is white, but you can find brown and gray lamps if you want to choose a model to match the body of the wardrobe.

LED strips and modular luminaires working on this principle can rightfully be considered one of the most suitable for these purposes. Due to their low heat transfer, an impressive working resource (up to 50,000 hours), more than modest dimensions and simple installation, they have become widely used in arranging the lighting of the interior space of the wardrobes. You can purchase both ready-made lamps and assemble them yourself, since everything you need is sold for this. Moreover, on the second option, you will spend significantly less money. If the cost of the finished simplest device starts somewhere from 500 rubles, then a lamp assembled by yourself will cost you at least half the price. In both cases, you will need a power source, the price of which is 400–600 rubles. Many factory-assembled devices already have a built-in power supply inside the case. Therefore, by purchasing such lamps, you additionally pay the cost of 3 power supplies. The conclusion is obvious: it’s best to do everything yourself.

How to restore and improve a wardrobe with your own hands. Part 3

To make an LED lamp you will need:

  • power supply unit (from 400 rubles per piece)
  • LED strip (from 130 rubles per meter)
  • aluminum profile (from 120 rubles per running meter)
  • screen to profile (from 140 rubles per meter)
  • components for the profile (from 50 rubles per element)
  • connectors and connectors for rulers (25 rubles per piece)

The assembly of such a lighting device is not particularly difficult. First, you need to calculate the required length of the LED bar. This size is determined based on the required power, which is easy to calculate. Calculations are carried out taking into account that one LED luminaire should provide an amount of light equivalent to an incandescent lamp with a power of 40-60 W – this depends on the dimensions of the compartment. An aluminum mounting profile is cut for the resulting segment of the LED, into which a light source, a protective screen is inserted. At one end, this lamp is closed with a solid plug, and at the other – with a plate, with a connector inserted into it, worn on the edge of the LED line. Even a 12-year-old child can do such an installation, not to mention adult men, so it is better not to overpay, but devote one day off to this business, as a result, we will save at least 1,000 rubles.

LED lamps can be placed inside the wardrobe both horizontally under the higher shelf, and vertically – in the corner of the compartment near the back wall. It is best to attach them with double-sided tape, only you need to ask the seller to give you duct tape from well-known manufacturers, as cheap products may not hold the lamp in place. There is also a recommendation for choosing a case configuration: it is better to use a corner aluminum profile. In this case, the light will be directed exactly at your things..

Manufacturers of furniture fittings, knowing the need for such an improvement in the interior space of furniture, have developed a range of lamps that are built into various fixtures. Rods with a built-in fluorescent lamp have been created especially for wardrobes. They have different lengths, so there is always an opportunity to choose a lamp bar that is suitable for your niche. Of course, such accessories are more expensive, their price ranges from 650 to 4000 rubles per copy. The cost of such lamps depends on the material of manufacture, size, type of lamp, functional characteristics and on the manufacturer: European brands, even if they are produced in China, are always more expensive.

How to restore and improve a wardrobe with your own hands. Part 3

The body of such a furniture fixture can be made of plastic, aluminum, chrome-plated or nickel-plated metal and stainless steel. This rod is attached to the shelf inside the case with the help of special holders with which its case is equipped. The lamp is located inside a hollow tube, it can be covered with a shade, but not all luminaires are equipped with this protective shield. However, its absence does not in any way affect the quality of the model, on the contrary, when you need to replace the lamp, you will spend much less time on this procedure..

Some models of furniture lamps have a switch button on their body, and more expensive copies are equipped with a touch sensor, when triggered, a lamp is lit. All these points should be taken into account when installing the lamp rod. Also pay attention to how the fasteners are adjusted, they can shorten and lengthen. By adjusting them, achieve the optimal distance between the bar and the shelf so that it is convenient for you to take off and hang clothes. Usually it is about 80 mm.

The choice of lamps is not limited to the indicated models, but when making your final decision, do not forget that aesthetic qualities in this case are not as important as functional ones. Remember that you need to be able to easily and quickly change lamps, they should not burn out quickly, but the light from them should come evenly and in sufficient quantity. You can also install two different types in the same cabinet: in the mezzanine compartment, insert two spotlights into the roof of the cabinet, and below fix the backlit rods.

Selection and installation of switches

Despite the fact that today almost every fluorescent lamp has a switch button built into the case, this method of lighting the light inside the wardrobe is not entirely convenient. It is more efficient and effective when the lamps are switched on when the doors are opened. In addition, all this illumination can be connected to an ordinary wall switch, in general, there are many ways. Let’s highlight and consider the most frequently used:

  • turning on the light using a conventional rocker switch;
  • the use of a limit switch;
  • use of infrared switches;
  • installation of touch sensors for a wardrobe.

A fairly inexpensive way, but not the most convenient, is to install a rocker switch either inside the case or somewhere close to this furniture. Mounting the switch on the wall is associated with stripping the walls for electrical wiring and the need to punch a hole for the box. Installing such an electric point is troublesome and time-consuming, so it can be started only if you are making repairs in an apartment.

How to restore and improve a wardrobe with your own hands. Part 3

It is much easier to install it inside the wardrobe body by fixing the external switch on one of the side posts. You can use a single model that lights all the lamps at once or provide a separate key for each opening. Do not forget to step back from the front edge of the side post 100 mm – the sliding system will take this place. If this moment is missed, then one of the doors simply cannot close, leaning against the switch, which will still have to be moved. In memory of such a miss, there will be a hole and traces of self-tapping screws..

The electrical wiring from the switch can be carried out both outside the cabinet and inside it, hiding it in a decorative plastic channel. The second option is preferable, when neatly decorated wires go out in a straight line behind the back wall, where you will separate them in different niches. When a decision is made to stretch the wiring outside, the cabinet will not move close to the wall, and in some cases the wire sheath may be broken.

However, the above method is gradually replacing the installation of limit switches for wardrobes. The principle of operation of these electrical appliances is based on the fact that when the furniture door is closed, pressing a key opens the contacts and the light turns off. Typically, such switches are mounted on the basis of one sensor – one facade. Thus, you get the opportunity to alternately light the lamps in each compartment – this is very convenient.

How to restore and improve a wardrobe with your own hands. Part 3

There are several modifications of furniture limit switches, they are mounted in different places of the wardrobe. Each model is accompanied by instructions according to which they should be installed and connected to the limit switch. Errors that can be made when performing these works lead to a violation of the smooth running of the facades, so you need to be extremely careful and adhere to the recommendations. In principle, there are no special differences during installation: you just need to attach a small plastic box with a key in the place indicated in the drawing and make sure that it does not interfere with movement along the guides of other doors (we are talking about a switch for the middle door). For a set consisting of three such devices, you will have to spend from 70 to 250 rubles.

Despite the fact that infrared sensors for furniture PM218C are not yet as widely used as limit switches, they are the future. These sensors are specially designed for furniture with swing doors and sliding systems. Basically, their sensing element is triggered by movement. That is, in a non-contact reaction to the opening of one of the doors, the infrared furniture sensor turns on the lamps, and then, when the facade returns to its original position, the lamps themselves go out. The use of these new devices in all furniture models where the lighting inside the cabinet is installed is the most convenient and fastest way to control the lighting inside the cabinet..

There is also a model of hand wave infrared sensors. In fact, both versions of these devices are equivalent in their functionality, you can choose any – this will not affect the operation of the lighting system in any way. A distinctive feature of infrared furniture sensors is that they are designed to operate under almost any load. They can be connected to fluorescent lamps with electronic ballasts, LED bars, energy-saving and halogen lamps.

How to restore and improve a wardrobe with your own hands. Part 3

Such sensors consist of an actuator, which can be removed to a secluded place, and a sensing element, mounted close to a moving object. In general, these models, unlike their passive counterparts, are designed in such a way that they respond to reflected radiation, which facilitates their installation and operation. The response time of the switching mechanism of these devices is from 15 to 60 seconds, the described models have one drawback – they do not have this parameter adjustment. However, there has recently been an improved infrared sensor that has this feature. The cost of these devices is about 500 rubles per piece..

Sensor switches for a sliding wardrobe are a small box, which contains a device that switches voltage up to 240 V. A wire with a metal tip is connected to the sensor. The principle of operation of this device is as follows: when an object touches the tip, the load is switched on or off. On the one hand, such a switch is easy to install, but during its operation, malfunctions may occur during operation. Therefore, despite all the advantages of sensors, it is better to give preference to a limit switch or infrared switch. But if this type of sensor is still more suitable for you, then in order to purchase it, you will need to pay about 500 rubles.

Installation of electrical wiring

At the design stage of the corner end, the depth of the side rack was provided for 20 mm more than the same size of the wardrobe barrel. This was not a mistake, such a difference in dimensions allows us at this stage of the work to get a small gap between the wall and the fiberboard. This space is quite enough to place all the wires, thereby removing them from the roof and from the inside of the wardrobe. In the interior space of this furniture, they will only pass between the rear wall and the lamp, their length in this area will be only 100-250 mm. That is, we can say with confidence that the wires inside the wardrobe will practically not be visible.

In order for everything to be done beautifully and neatly, it is recommended to first “grab” the lamps in the places where they will be installed, approximately (with a margin to the larger side) measure out the pieces of wire and immediately connect them to the lamps and lamp rods. Where they will be displayed behind the back wall, small holes are made in the fiberboard. For this case, it will be enough to use a drill with a diameter of 6 mm. In general, the size of the cutting tool should be a couple of millimeters larger than the sheath of the wire, it is not necessary to greatly exceed this difference, otherwise the hole may then not be blocked by the cable channel.

How to restore and improve a wardrobe with your own hands. Part 3

There is one more nuance that must be taken into account: some models of luminaires are connected to the network from the side, which should subsequently fit snugly to the chipboard plane. If you do not take measures in advance, then a gap will flaunt between the furniture part and the lamp. This can be avoided by making a small groove about 80–100 mm long (less is not recommended, since the wire will break) in the body of the chipboard. It should end at the point where the wires enter the lamp itself, and begin, respectively, a few centimeters before this point. To perform this procedure, take a drill with a diameter of 8 mm, equip it with a stop so that it is immersed in the body of the part no deeper than 10 mm, and drill several holes in a row that are located in close proximity to each other. The remaining bridges can be easily removed by running the drill several times in a row back and forth, the rotating drill will clear the channel. However, for those who perform this for the first time, it is better to first practice on some kind of trim, so as not to spoil the main part.

When the lights and switches are installed, and the wires connected to them are brought out to the back of the wardrobe and to the roof, it’s time to assemble the circuit. Before proceeding with this stage of work, it is advisable to sketch a diagram on a sheet of paper. If someone has forgotten, it will not be superfluous to remind: in our situation, the lamps are connected in parallel. The wires can be connected in the old fashioned way with electrical tape or use the terminal blocks, which are now abundant on the market. When measuring the wire, try to make it so that it is slightly longer than the calculated dimensions.

After assembling the circuit, we fix the electrical wires on the back of the rear wall. It is recommended to use fasteners with studs, which are nailed to the back of shelves and partitions. Inside the cabinet, the wiring is covered with plastic cable ducts. After several control on-off switches, the cabinet can be moved to the wall, set in level and prepared for the last stage of its restoration – installation of a sliding system and facades.

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