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December 19, 2011

Moll Anderson Introduces Mood Lighting for the Holidays

Let’s get electric this week! Lighting is one of my five must-haves because it can transform your life into a seductive life—lighting affects us on a primal level. They don’t call it mood lighting for nothing! You can change the feel of a room with a flip of a switch or the strike of a match.

Laundry room lighting

Shown here is my "Old World" laundry room. You can see that lighting makes all the difference.

One of the quickest and best investments you can make for altering your private atmosphere is a dimmer switch. I put dimmer switches in every room possible, even the laundry room. I transform that room into a coatroom for parties simply by putting a collapsible clothes rack and lowering the lights. This easy trick will be a treat to enjoy year-round, but it will also be the perfect tool to create glowing rooms for holiday gatherings throughout the upcoming months. By simply installing a dimmer switch, you will be able to soften the lights instantly, adding drama and intimacy to a room not to mention quickly changing the ambiance of your entire life!

Life is not just boring black and white. The interesting things are in the gray areas that we live in on a daily basis, and the same goes for lighting! Dimmer switches are a simple way to add a little middle ground between off and on and bring some life to your lighting. Softer light is much sexier and flattering, and it can add some rich tones to a not-so-exciting room.

Below is an easy step-by-step way to install a dimmer switch that takes no time (even for the DIY-impaired). Let the ambiance begin!

How-To Install a Dimmer Switch

Note: Dimmer switches come in four popular varieties: slide, dial, touchpad, and switch/slide combo. It is important to read the directions for your particular device, but this general how-to guide will show you just how easy it really is to make a dramatic change in your space.

Materials: Dimmer switch kit, screwdriver, wire-cutters or wire-strippers, cordless drill and screwdriver attachment, needle-nose pliers, circuit tester

Safety First: Be sure the power to the circuit you are working on is turned off at the main breaker box or fuse panel. Breakers: Find the right breaker in the breaker box and flip it to the “off” position. Fuses: If you have a fuse box, find the right fuse and remove it completely from the panel. Test to make sure the power to the circuit has been disconnected by simply flipping the switch to the “on” position and have the lights turned off. (Once the switch plate is removed, you need to double-check that the circuit is disconnected by testing the wires with a circuit tester.)

Step 1: Use a screwdriver or a reversible cordless drill with a screwdriver attachment to remove the old switch plate.

Step 2: Remove the switch from the exposed workbox by unscrewing the screws at the bottom of the switch. (This is the step in which you should double-check that the circuit is off with a circuit tester.)

Candle light

This waxy candle is actually a light set on a dimmer switch.

Step 3: Disconnect the wires that are attached to the light switch. There should be three wires: black, white and green (it may be a bare copper wire in some cases).

Step 4: Use the wire cutters to cut the three exposed wires just below their plastic coverings. Strip the wire about 3/8” using the wire-cutters or a wire-stripper (this tool makes the job of stripping much easier, but isn’t necessary).

Step 5: Connect the black wire in the existing box to the black wire on the new dimmer switch by placing the two exposed wires next to each other and twisting on a wire nut (make sure that the bare wire is completely encased in the wire nut). Do the same for the white wires and the ground wires (green or brass) as well.

Step 6: Bend the wires in a zigzag pattern so that they easily fit back into the workbox. Push the switch into place and adjust it so that it’s straight, and the orientation of the switch is correct (up is “on” and down is “off”). Tighten the two screws to hold it in position.

Step 7: Install the new switch plate by tightening the provided plate screws.

Step 8: Switch the breaker box back on or reinstall the fuse.

Candle light by dimmer switch

These candles are also set on a dimmer switch.

Step 9: Test out your new dimmer switch to make sure that the installation was a success and enjoy!

Note: If the switch does not work, turn off your breaker or fuse again and double-check your wiring. Check that black is with black, white is with white, etc. (Also be sure that the wire nuts are tight and secure.)

Now that you’ve got these simple steps, go ahead and start living your most seductive life!
What are you waiting for?

What type of lighting is your favorite to create a sensual mood?

Moll

Order your subscription to Architectural Digest magazine for more inspiration.

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About the Author

Moll Anderson
Moll Anderson
Moll Anderson is an accomplished interior designer and lifestyle expert who infused the interior design world with a fresh new way of thinking with her first book, Change Your Home, Change Your Life®. She is known for her sensory-scaped approach to design featured in her newest book The Seductive Home™. Anderson, an Emmy-winning entertainment reporter, has served as guest and designer on national television shows and has been featured in popular women’s magazines. Get to know Moll Anderson at Magazines.com.




  • Anonymous

    Thanks so much for this post, Moll. We are currently trying to spruce things up around our home and I know that lighting will play a big part in changing the feel of our environment. This was just what I needed! Thanks, Dana

  • http://CindyRatzlaff.com Cindy Ratzlaff

    Sometimes we just get comfy with the way things are. This is such a quick, easy and delicious reminder that we can spice up our surroundings with something as mood enhancing as a dimmer switch!