Dim the Lights!

I'm not much of a DIY'er, even though I constantly dream of being one. However, there is one project that I ALWAYS recommend my clients do in just about every room in your home. And, believe me when I say, "You can do this!". It's time that you install a dimmer switch. This is possibly the easiest DIY project you can tackle and you get the BIGGEST bang for your buck.

Photo via Apartment Therapy

Photo via Apartment Therapy

Think about it, using a dimmer is a great way to set the mood. Whether you are enjoying a family dinner or hosting a party, dimming the lights will soften things up and make you and your guests feel relaxed and cozy.  And, if I'm being honest here, don't we all think we look better when the lights are dimmed?

Whatever your reason for turning the lights down low, you can't argue with the fact that a dimmer switch provides options. If you want to relax, dim the lights. Need to work, turn them up! Dimmers are also more energy efficient, and therefore an excellent choice for just about any light switch!

There are a few things to keep in mind before your start your first DIY dimmer switch project. I recommend that you purchase the best dimmer you can afford, simply because it'll last longer. Just like the old adage says, "You get what you pay for." Of course, some of my favorite dimmers are from Legrand, as they add to your décor.

Dimmer Switch from the Legrand Adorne collection.

Dimmer Switch from the Legrand Adorne collection.

I also love the invisible dimmer switch designs by Forbes and Lomax, especially in rooms where you have wallpaper. The dimmer switch simply fades away, instead of distracting the eye.

Invisible dimmer switch by Forbes and Lomax.

Invisible dimmer switch by Forbes and Lomax.

Leviton designed these dimmers to match just about any color scheme in your home! Why not have a little fun with your switches?! Who knew there were so many options these days?!

Leviton dimmer switches in an array of colors!

Leviton dimmer switches in an array of colors!

Be sure you get the right bulb for your project. Not all lightbulbs are created equal. Read the packaging to ensure you know what bulb is best. I prefer to use a dimmer that can be paired with CFL's or LED lights, as they are more energy efficient.

While I don't claim to be an electrician, changing your light switch to a dimmer is pretty easy to do. Just follow these simple steps below:

  1. Read the instructions on the package (counterintuitive for some of us, I know. But when playing with electricity, I feel it's a must!)
  2. Disconnect the power at the circuit breaker. Try turning the light on and off to ensure that the power is shut off properly.
  3. Unscrew the switch plate and remove it. If you have a noncontact voltage detector, I recommend that you use it to ensure the wires are no longer carrying any current.
  4. Remove the screws holding in the old light switch and gently pull it out of the wall. Now you'll be able to take a good look at what you're dealing with. Most likely, the wires are wrapped around the connector screws, in which case you can either loosen the screws or use wire strippers to snip the ends off and remove the old switch.
  5. Now it's time to install your new dimmer! READ THE INSTRUCTIONS! Following the package directions, loop the ends of the wire around the connector screws on the new dimmer switch.
  6. Tuck the switch into the box, secure it with screws and reaffix the switch plate.
  7. Turn the power back on via the circuit breaker. Then dim the lights!

Of course, if you don't feel comfortable at any point, please call an electrician. Safety first!

Good luck on your DIY dimmer switch installation! We know you can handle it!