Installing Dimmer Switches


The pics I’m sharing today aren’t all that exciting, but did ya’ll realize that installing dimmer switches is something you can do yourself? I knew it was easy, but decided I’d like to change out a couple of mine. So, I started in the dining room and it really was easy. The hardest part was taking out the ground wire that was inserted in the old lightswitch. Once I got it apart, it was a snap to put back together. On a single switch outlet, it’s just 2 wires around the screws and then inserting the ground wire back in the proper place, put it back together and you have instant dim and moody lighting. Of course, before you start this, TURN OFF THE POWER AT THE BREAKER BOX. And make sure you get the right one. If you’ve got a switch that has 2 or 3 boxes that turn it on, you’ll have to get a 3-way dimmer switch. But, for only one outlet, just a single box dimmer switch will work.


Here it is all put back together. It has a little slide to the side that moves up and down.  I had to look at it all a bit, but it finally all came together.

And voila, instant mood! I love it and I’ve already put one on the new chandy in the beachy guestroom, as well as the big recessed lights in our livingroom.

It’s easy. You can do it too! I promise. 🙂

Linking to Kimba’s DIY party today.

- Rhoda


  1. Debbie in Florida says:

    I love dimmer switches, I never thought to change them on my own. I guess if I can do everything else. I also love your blog and I lurk on your site almost every day. And…. I love that you’re up early like me!

    Debbie in Florida

  2. I love it! I put a dimmer switch in my dining room last year and we love it as well. We girls and our skills are not to be reckoned with. Good job!!

  3. Are you ever brave. I am precluded from activities of this sort by agreement with local emergency services 🙂

  4. I know you hear this all the time, but I LOVE YOUR BLOG! I get so inspired here. I just may surprise my husband and put a dimmer switch in our dining room. He’d be so surprised because usually he gets the jobs like this. Since reading your blog, I’ve started to tackle more projects on my own. I’m not afraid to try things now. I can’t thank you enough for that.

  5. Ok…now you really ROCK! See you in bit~

  6. Just found your blog, and I can’t wait to start reading it! I love everything about Southern Living!

  7. Great project. I’d love to have a dimmer in my Dining room and my Kitchen. Is that weird? We host a big family party for dessert on Christmas Eve every year, and I think it would be so much nicer with the lights dimmed. 🙂

  8. I’m so glad you posted this. I’ve got the dimmer switch and have just been waiting for some courage to install it. Thanks!

  9. My husband installed a dimmer switch in our breakfast nook. It only took him a few minutes, and he said it wasn’t difficult. It’s nice to be able to dim the lights in there when we want.


  10. I put two dimmer switches in a few years ago. Please remember that with those new twisty energy saver bulbs-you cannot use dimmer switches. The fixture will hum and the bulbs burn out quickly. An electrician confirmed this for me, so it isn’t my imagination! He put one in for the bathroom which has regular bulbs. That switch had old wiring which is why I didn’t attempt it. Very nice for those late night trips where you don’t want the glare of a bright bulb.

  11. I was going to say the same thing that Martina did.
    Google it and you’ll see some dimmers work if they are specifically made for the fluorescent bulbs.

  12. I love dimmer switches! We have one over our dining table and both the ceiling fan in our living room and master bedroom have dimmers as well. They are wonderful!!

  13. Rhoda, this is so timely as I have been contemplating adding dimmers to two switches and wondering if I could do this myself. Electrical work scares me! I bought a book on wiring with illustrations. You have given me the push I need! thanks!

  14. I think people are too scared of electricity. Follow the rules and you will be fine.
    Always power off at the breaker panel first. Everyone should label their panels too.
    You can plug in a radio and turn it on in the room you are working on and when you flip the right switch it will shut off and you will then save yourself multiple trips up and down stairs. THIS IS NOT ENOUGH TO INDICATE ALL THE POWER IS OFF IN THE ROOM THOUGH. JUST A START SO YOU CAN ACTUALLY COME AN CHECK THE LIGHT FIXTURE IS OFF TOO. NEVER ASSUME.
    Make sure your connections are all securely fastened and not touching each other.
    They can do it, right Rhoda.

  15. thanks for the info.

  16. Dimmer switches are the best! They make such a difference to your lighting.
    Love your blog.
    Donna in Alabama

  17. Love teh dimmer switches! I think I will let my husband install them. I am sure I could do it but he is so handy when it comes to those things!

  18. You are one brave soul Rhoda! I don’t possess that fearless nature and I don’t even like it when dear hubby does electrical work. I really do prefer the ambience that dimmers provide and it’s so much easier on the eyes than dining under glaring lights. TFS! Sheila

  19. Rhoda – we just got back from a trip to Destin, and I thought about you many times while we were in flea markets! I wanted to know how much you know about decorative trays – and have you look at a tray I purchased. My blog is above and the post is “rainbows and antiques”. I was told the tray was french and that it dates to teh 1860’s. What do you think?

  20. There is no such thing as too many dimmers. I put them up all over my house cause I’m a mood lighting gal, and I just couldn’t live without them !

    Great tutorial too. 🙂

  21. My hubby installed a dimmer switch in our dining room and it has made all the difference in the world. We can have a quiet supper with them low and a few candles or an energized breakfast with them on high. I love it! Karen

  22. We are huge fans of dimmer switches at my house. Hubby has them on almost every light, including the ones outdoors.

  23. I really liked the picture/poster of french castles. When you look at them it takes you somewhere mysterious yet at the same time you celebrate a moment in time in a romantic era you can only dream about. It would be wonderful to have this picture somewhere you could relax and dream.


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