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Types of Light Switches: Find the Right Style for Your Home

Realising that even the smallest details can have a big impact on the ambience of your home, you pick up your phone and start browsing different types of light switches. Your current light switches serve their purpose, but you’ve noticed that their uninspired design sticks out like a sore thumb in your otherwise carefully curated interiors.

Exploring your options, you quickly discover there’s more to choosing light switches than you first thought. The right light switch can add decorative flair to a room, blending beautifully with your existing décor, and there is a vast range of different types available to suit the various lighting schemes around your home.

Discover the different types of light switches and find the ideal style for every room.

What are the different types of light switches?

When decorating your home, it’s important to consider your light switch choices carefully. After all, light switches feature in every room and are often located in prominent positions to make sure they’re easy to access.

‘Light switches are an often overlooked detail, but choosing a beautiful metallic or colourful finish can massively elevate your interiors – like adding a piece of statement jewellery to an outfit’, says Ally Dowsing-Reynolds, lighting expert and co-founder of Dowsing & Reynolds.

However, there are many different light switch types to choose from, with some options being more suitable for certain spaces than others.

Rocker switches

Rocker switches are the most commonly used type of light switches in contemporary homes. They have a wide, flat design which makes them easy to use, even for small children or people with limited mobility. The sleek design of these switches also makes them a practical choice and prevents them from snagging on clothing or objects.

The rocker switch gets its name from the simple rocking motion it makes up and down or side to side to control light operation – pressing the top of the switch turns the light on while pressing the bottom turns it off.

Is it the right type of switch for your space?

Rocker switches are a suitable option for any room in your home. If you have multiple light fixtures in one room, you may want to choose a double, triple, or even quadruple rocker switch to ensure all of your lights can be operated from the same place.

Toggle switches

Toggle switches have a simple lever that can be flipped up or down to operate the lights in your home.

Although they serve the same function as rocker switches, some people prefer toggle switches because of their unique aesthetic appeal. ‘Toggle switches are ideal for period properties where you want to retain some authentic heritage charm’, says Ally.

Is it the right type of switch for your space?

Toggle switches can be used in any room, but they may be a less practical option than rocker switches if you have children or people with limited mobility in your home.

Ultimately, whether you choose rocker switches or toggle switches comes down to aesthetic preference. Some people are drawn to the sleek design of rocker switches, while others enjoy the visually intriguing design of toggle switches.

Dimmer switches

Dimmer switches allow you to adjust the brightness level of the lights in your home. The most common style is the rotary dimmer switch, which features a simple knob that is rotated to increase or decrease the brightness. The light can be turned off completely simply by pressing the knob.

‘Dimmer switches are essential for any layered lighting scheme’, says Ally. ‘Adjusting the brightness of your lights to create the perfect ambience at any time of day or night enables you to tailor your home to your mood.’

Is it the right type of switch for your space?

Dimmer switches are an excellent choice for any room where you want to control the intensity of your lighting. Many people choose to feature dimmer switches as part of their bedroom and living room lighting schemes, as this allows them to turn the brightness down when relaxing in the evenings and turn it up when extra light is required for carrying out day-to-day tasks.

Pull light switches

Pull light switches are incredibly easy to operate, requiring a simple pull of the cord to turn the light on or off. Although typically associated with more old-fashioned interiors, there are now many modern and sophisticated versions of the pull light switch available, all designed to add decorative flair to your space.

Pull switches are much easier to retrofit than other types of light switches, primarily because the wiring can be fed through the cavity above your ceiling, rather than requiring your walls to be dug into.

Is it the right type of switch for your space?

These switches are suitable for use in any room in your home, especially if you’re looking to create a space that’s a little more retro or unique.

(Please note that Dowsing & Reynolds pull light switches are not approved for use in bathrooms.)

Combination switches

Combination switches combine multiple types of switches into one, enabling you to operate different types of lighting in the same room with ease. It’s common for these switches to feature a combination of both toggle switches and dimmer switches, with the number of each depending on what kind of and how many lights you have in the room.

‘Combination switches are a must-have for open-plan living spaces where you want to control multiple lights from one place’, says Ally. ‘Having both dimmers and standard switches on one plate can be a revolutionary addition to your home.’

Is it the right type of switch for your space?

Combination switches are a practical solution for any room that has a combination of dimmable and non-dimmable lighting fixtures. In an open-plan living space, you may want to have your kitchen pendant lights on a regular toggle switch and your living area wall lights on a dimmer switch, making a combination switch the best choice.

Show us your stylish light switch choices

We’d love to see which light switches you’ve picked out to complement your home décor. Tag us on Instagram @dowsingandreynolds – we can’t wait to see how you’ve styled our pieces!

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