An ultra-modern and sleek wall & remote controlled light switch – Photo Courtesy: CJ Sorg
As technology continues to advance in all the fields of electronics, it should come as no surprise that it has seeped into home design and lighting as well. One of the handiest technological breakthroughs has to do with turning lights on and off, which means that the surprisingly complicated world of light switches and light switch plates has gotten even more complex. Once you master this quick guide to choosing the right light switches and light switch plates, you should be relieved of your light switch anxiety and confident about your choices for light switch plates in your home.
First of all, consider the many options for light switches before you make a final order for your residence. Here are the most common types of switches, with some of the hottest trends noted:
1. Single-pole switch: this controls the power to your lights from only one point and is usually installed in an electrical box with two terminal screws.
2. Double-pole switch: much like the single-pole switch, but with four terminal screws.
3. Three-way switch:this switch can control power from two different points, such as in the kitchen and in the hallway, for instance. It takes three terminal screws.
4. Four-way switch:this switch controls the power from three or more points and takes four terminal screws.
5. Outdoor switch: often cased in a weatherproof box, can be any of the switches described above.
6. Delayed action switch:keeps the power on for a few seconds or minutes after switch shut-off. These are handy for garages and other places where you need a bit of time to get out of the room and don’t want to walk in the dark.
7. Rocker switch: much like normal switches but with a rocking, not toggle action.
8. Illuminated switch:a light is placed in the base of the switch, making it easy to find in darkness. These are wonderful for children’s rooms, stairwells and hallways.
9. Motion switch: activated by motion, often found outdoors and around entryways to alert you to unanticipated comings and goings. These are not always good in places that get a lot of wind or squirrels.
10. Dimmer switch: a dial is used to turn down the brightness of the light. These are spreading all over the house, not just in the dining room anymore.
11. Wireless light switch: this is absolutely the hottest trend in lighting as people no longer want to run around and flip all of the lights off in the home. These are often incorporated into an automation scheme that can be run from your computer or iPad.
Light Switch Plates
Now that the “guts” of the light switch choices available have been surveyed, it’s time to learn about the coverings for these switches, otherwise known as light switch plates. There are several categories to consider as you plan to install light switch plates. Choosing the right light switch plates will not only be important for your décor scheme, but also to prevent any unnecessary delays in your building or remodeling project.
Here are a few steps handed down by professionals as you plan for light switch plates:
1. Make a list of where all of the light switch plates will be needed. You might even want to sketch where they are in the room(s) you are designing.
2. Be clear on what type of outlets you will be covering with your light switch plates: two receptacles or four? Rocker switches or toggle?
3. If you go decorative, make sure that the switches will be properly covered. The more creative you get, the higher the chance that the light switch plates will not correctly cover your switches. If you get creative with both switches and light switch plates, you could be in danger of a real mismatch.
4. Make sure that the color and finish of your light switch plates match your new color scheme in the room(s). You don’t want white light switch plates in a dark brown room.
5. Wait until the electrician has installed the outlet boxes before ordering light switch plates to avoid any potential mismatches.
With these pointers in mind, you should be fully prepared to put in the light switches that will work best for you and your budget, as well as the light switch plates that will most amplify your home’s décor. Don’t underestimate the style touch that light switch plates can add to your home’s look; you might be surprised at how much good attention they draw when they are carefully chosen and installed.