Let’s talk about a bright idea that can instantly transform the ambiance of your home: dimmer switches. These devices replace a standard light switch and allow you to adjust the brightness of your lights. While not exactly new technology (invented in 1896, then put into practical use in 1959), they are incredibly functional and solve several problems. But do they have any downsides? And where should you put them in your home?
What are Dimmers?
Light switch dimmers are sophisticated devices that enable you to control the intensity of your lights. Unlike regular switches that only offer a binary option (on or off), dimmers allow you to fine-tune the brightness level according to your needs. During the daytime, you'll usually need more light to match the sunlight from outside. At night, less light will be just as functional and much more aesthetically pleasing in many situations. In other words, Friday night jazz and wine doesn't need the same amount of light as Sunday brunch.
Considering the Cost: Dimmer vs. Regular Switch
At the time of this post, a dimmer rocker switch is going to cost about $25 more than its equivalent standard switch, but that's not where the cost conversation ends. Dimmers allow you to use less electricity so the initial cost will be offset by energy savings in the long run. So you not only get the benefit of a lower electricity bill, but also more control over the ambiance of your house.
LED vs. Classic Light Fixtures: Different Dimmers for Different Needs
It's important to note that LED and classic light fixtures require different types of dimmers. LED lights, being more energy-efficient, need dimmers specifically designed to handle their lower wattage. Using regular dimmers with LED bulbs can lead to flickering or reduced lifespan of the bulbs. On the other hand, traditional incandescent or halogen lights work well with standard dimmers (although we highly recommend upgrading to LEDs). When considering dimmer switches, it's crucial to match the dimmer type with the lighting fixtures to ensure optimal performance and longevity.
Ideal Locations for Dimmers in Your Home
Choosing the right spots for dimmer switches can significantly enhance your home’s atmosphere. We suggest starting with the rooms where you spend evenings and then add on as you desire. Our favorite spots for dimers are:
Under Cabinet Lighting (this is our favorite and the main source of light for most of our clients as they wind down their day)
In summary, light switch dimmers are more about practicality and less about extravagance. They offer a straightforward solution to customize your lighting, making your home both functional and comfortable.
Bonus Tip: Add an outlet to the wall on one side of your toilets. They're great for plug-in night lights to keep you from waking up too much in middle of the night bathroom trips and allow you to plug in a bidet if you ever want one.