Let's Get Moody (aka Goals Met)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

I did it.  I got five batches of cookies made.  I got two dimmer switches in.  I got the master bedroom closet light in.  Also walked Finn in the park, carefully avoiding off leash dogs yet again.  Laundry running.  A few other minor things and it's only 3:15 pm.  Whooooo-ie.  On a roll!  Ugh my back....

Ok, but here's the thing.  Dimmer switches are awesome.  Everybody should have dimmer switches.  Even renters can have dimmer switches; just ask your landlord or switch them out and put back the originals before you move.

Sure, some are crazily priced but there are also more affordable ones if you do a little seeking.  But seriously, dimmers are the schniz.  Look at me all hip n' stuff.

picture of  new dimmer switch
Dimmer switch at Menards for $7.00
Dimmer switches give you control over your lighting, rather than off/on or changing the bulbs for different wattages.

Right, I know, many compact fluorescents are not dimmable or if there are, they don't always work well.  There are LED dimmables on the market but I have yet to find one that doesn't flicker or put out terribly unattractive light.  Maybe I don't lavish enough money on them, who knows.

So yeah, hate to say it, as much as I try to be green and save energy, incandescents are my go-to for dimming.  As such though, I will qualify by saying I generally only put them in fixtures we don't use all that often.

But back to dimmer switches.  They let you decide the amount of light for the room, creating a warm moody dimness, an atmosphere.  Lighting shapes a room.  Options people, we like options.  Options gooooood.

On the plus side too with these things, they are easy to install with some basic wiring knowledge.  I can't stress enough though, if this intimidates you, if you find a mess o' wires that's beyond confusing in the electrical box, it's best to call a professional.  Do not mess with electricity as it can kill you and/or burn your house down, mmk?

My first switch of the day was for that foyer fixture I'm still not sure about.  After switching out the bulbs to incandescent 40w, I knocked off the power at the breaker box then popped off the switch plate cover.

removing old switch

All righty, this was a tad confusing.  The black wire was ganged with the switch next to it, the stair lights, and stripped in the middle.  Palm to forehead.  No worries, I snipped the black wire into two since my dimmer switch had a place for both to happily coexist.

wiring new switch

This option keeps the circuit connected.

Cram that sucker into the electrical box (or at least I had to, you may not need so), screw it on, replace the foam insulation bits....

replacing foam outlet covers in switch box

....reattach the cover, flip on the breaker and bam, suh-weet, dimmed light.*

new switch on

It's better.  I can't say I'm suddenly all in love with the fixture.  But it's better with the striped wall and such.  Granted, the carpet on the stairs still needs to go and that door....well that door.  Black.  Thinking I'm gonna paint it black.

(We've reached that point in the post where Mike is questioning his wedding vows again....black paint.)

Next was a switch in the kitchen for a set of four recessed cans we have between the kitchen and the living room.

switch for overhead can lights
Bright lights!
I want to do the living room lights as well but I wasn't up for doling out $20 on two 3 pole dimmer switches.  We need those versus the single pole as we have two switches for those lights in two different places.  I shoulda just gotten them....Ah well, pfft, another day.

Anyway, this was a rat's nest upon removing the switch cover plate.  Two switches plus this also feeds wires to the switch in my office on the other side of the wall.

wiring mess inside electrical box
Holy....rat's nest.
And then this was mighty confusing, to be honest with you.

wiring of switch
I hate this flipper.
Uhhh.  Three wires.  All the same color.  Um.  The green ground screw on the top right, other side empty.  One screw head painted black, the lower right.  Huh.  Confounding.  This, ok, yes, I took a chance on.  Do not do as I do.  Please.  I am begging you. (FYI, I did discover hours later that this is a two switch/two location group. We never use these lights or that second switch. Will be fixed pronto.)

I placed the two left wires in the same side of the dimmer switch and the bottom right wire on the opposite side.

wiring new 3 way switch for can lights
Ka-pow, dimmed lights, wooo hoooo!
Whooie, lucky me, so far.....It worked.  Can't say I'm not a little nervous about that.  'Cuz I am.

But, moving on!

Yay, the master bedroom closet light!  I'd show you more of the closet but hey, I'm a real person and my closet is kind of a mess.  Sorry.

old boob light in closet

Right, so I got the fixture on eBay* a while back in all it's mylar-y goodness and I kept dragging my feet getting it installed.  After killing the power to the ever-so-lovely crassly named light, aka Contractor Special, off it came rapidly (its only plus:  ease of removal and disposal).  I turned to the new light.

preparing new light fixture
Pardon the uh, dead plants in that planter on the balcony there.  Ahem.
Aaaawwwwww crap, really?!  Another one of those ball lights!

Ok, but ya know, I learned a lesson here and discovered with a slightly clearer head than the other day how it's supposed to be installed.

wiring new light fixture

Screw in the bracket with the extra enclosed screws using the other darn holes/cut outs/slits, whatever.   No need to remove the darn screws pointing down.  Yeah, darn it, palm to forehead again.

Whatever.  I got it.  Sigh.  Heh.  Feel like a bozo.  I did have to loosen the screws going up a bit as I was having trouble threading the down screws into the fixture base far enough for those darn balls to grab on.

So here's the light!  Yay!!

new light fixture off

I like it quite well.  It doesn't throw off a huge amount of light, but again, moody, atmospheric.  I like darkness.

new light fixture on

A compact fluorescent is not a good choice of bulb for this though.  It's hard to see in the photo, but when lit, you see the curly unattractiveness clear as day.  Sooooo, back to Menards for another bulb!

If I don't catch you before the holiday next week, I hope you all have a wonderful time filled with all sorts of happiness, goodness, and joy.  Happy rest of Chanukah to you all too!  xo

*The eBay light fixture links are eBay affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. Looking good Becky! That one with all same color wires cracked me up... but only because I changed out light switches in my old house and ran into OLD, OLD (the house was built in 1944 and that was probably still the original wiring!) wiring that was all the same color too!

    I think the door would look awesome black. I've seen that being done a lot lately and it always turns out nice.


  2. Oh, and you have a Merry Christmas!!


  3. Oh, old wiring, oh boy! Kudos to you for working through it! That can be super tough and confusing for sure. I guess times never really change -- same color wires!

    Thanks for the encouragement on the black door! I've been seeing that a lot lately too and as I'm already bananas for black paint, it warms my heart. :)

    Merry Christmas to you too and I hope you have a fantastic holiday!


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