HomeLibraryElectricalLightingDecorative Lighting › Upgrade Your Lighting with a Dimmer Switch

Upgrade Your Lighting with a Dimmer Switch

Installing dimmers is one of the most popular upgrades you could bring to your home decor or remodel. Dimmers control the electrical current that is sent to a light fixture, increasing or decreasing the amount of light you receive. A dimmer can create ambiance and enhance your decor as it creates various levels of lighting.

More Than Just an Electrical Device

Dimmers were first introduced by Granville Woods in 1892 for commercial purposes. However, continued progress in electronics and technology has seen dimmers change into a whole new concept of lighting control. Because dimmers come in a wide array of colors and styles, they make a stylistic statement above being just an electrical device for turning on and off your lights.

Three Basic Dimmer Types

Although there are several types of dimmers for different needs and uses, there are three basic dimmer switch types:

  • Classic rotary dimmers turn lights on and off. By pressing or turning the knob, the light’s intensity increases or decreases.
  • Electronic dimmers are identical to regular light switches and can be installed by changing the wall plate. Thus, you are able to keep your decorative plate.
  • Sliding dimmers allow energy savings, consuming only the wattage necessary for the selected light intensity. It also enables you to keep the intensity you have selected, not having to adjust the lighting level every time you turn the lights on.

Know Your Connections

It is important to know if your light is connected to one or more switches before buying a dimmer for it. If you turn on your light from one switch, you will need to purchase a single pole switch. If your light is connected to two switches, say at each end of the stairway, than you will need a three pole. Check the switch package for the pole and wattage. You can purchase both low-voltage and regular dimmers, regular for incandescent or halogen 120 volt bulbs and low-voltage for halogen or quartz lamps.

Dimmers and Energy Savings

Using dimmers can save money and energy. The energy is saved by using only the amount of electricity that is needed for light. If a light is dimmed by 25%, then 20% of electricity is saved. A dimmer also extends a bulbs life by reducing the strain on the filament. A bulb dimmed by 25% can last four times longer than a bulb at full lighting.


Dimmer switches are inexpensive and easily installed, it is important to always be cautious when working with electricity. If you’re unclear about any of the directions, think of hiring a professional electrician. You can also watch this tutorial at


If you want to make a simple but dramatic change to your home decor, install dimmer switches and bring mood, ambience and multi-purpose lighting to each room.

Articles related to Upgrade Your Lighting with a Dimmer Switch

How much will Window Replacement cost you?

Limited Time Offers from Our Partners

Why Calfinder?

  • Get multiple estimates to compare
  • Hard work of finding a reliable contractor is done for you
  • Completely Free, no Obligation

Our network of established contractors stretches across the US and are ready to help you remodel your home.

Read what homeowners are saying about CalFinder.

Remodeling tweets and photos posted daily. Join Us on Twitter