Lighting Basics: Controls and Dimmers Made Simple

You know you want to redesign your surroundings with a focus on better lighting, but looks alone aren’t enough for you. Convenience is also a top priority, and selecting controls is the best place to start when you crave an accommodating arrangement. With so many options to pick from, however, it can be tough to get your creative juices flowing.

Fortunately, we’ve made it easier to master lighting control and dimmer design, so choosing your perfect layout is no longer an impossible task. Be certain that you understand the following facts.

Knowing Your Options: Essential Lighting Control Families

What goes into lighting control? Things have progressed beyond the traditional pull chains that once adorned classic lamps and fixtures. By contrast, today’s control hardware is sleek and futuristic, so designers have way more options to work with. Here’s how we got so far.

Switches: From Classic to Contemporary

At their heart, switches perform the simple task of connecting or disconnecting electricity from the circuit that powers your lighting. These devices typically exist in an on or off state that doesn’t permit much room for flexibility.

The earliest light switches involved bulky toggle mechanisms and monotonous wall plates. As technology grew increasingly compact, however, designers gained the power to experiment and become true innovators.

Modern switches feature rocker designs that make it easy to locate the functional element in a darkened room. These lighting controls perform the same essential function as traditional toggles, but they’re much quieter. Because they have larger active surfaces than older variants, they’re also easier to operate.

Dimmers: Improving on Tradition

What if you prefer an in-between state instead of being forced to pick between full illumination and pitch black darkness? Dimmers make this possible by changing the way power gets applied to the light to adjust its brightness.

Compared to switches, dimmers have many benefits. In large-scale commercial installations, they can minimize bulb wear by pre-heating lights before they turn on at maximum power.

If you’re concerned about your utility bills, then using dimmers on medium settings is an excellent way to save money. Of course, they also have the decided advantage of letting you choose a more comfortable level of light.

What Does Modern Lighting Control Have to Offer?

Today’s dimmers and switches are a far cry from their predecessors. In addition to including perks like nightlight functionality, they incorporate options such as remote control compatibility.

Even better, some advanced controls integrate with intelligent home systems. You can program lights individually or in groups, set your preferred illumination levels and activate systems on demand using a smartphone or tablet.

Touch Integration

Taking their cues from the mobile devices that have become ubiquitous parts of daily life, many switches and dimmers include tactile interactivity. In other words, they respond to a gentle touch, which makes them far more accommodating to a wider range of users.

With these devices, you can modify settings like lighting colors and intensities via simple gestures. Unlike earlier generations of dimmers and switches, touch-activated devices let you perform complex functions without having to mess around with knobs or dials. Since they have few moving parts, they’re also more versatile.

Another significant benefit of touch controls is that they look a lot sleeker. Although they’re the ideal complement to modern designs, they can blend in with other styles unobtrusively. Their customizability and smooth surfaces make it easier to upgrade classic spaces without having to sacrifice the iconic appearance that you’ve worked so hard to cultivate.

Smarter Functionality

Smart light switches deliver heightened levels of functionality that reflect years of testing, consumer preferences and intelligent ergonomics. The fact that many incorporate pre-programmed settings makes them compatible with versatile modern lighting like LEDs. Since they mostly favor advanced semiconductor technologies, these controls also work well with data-aware security systems and programmable homes.

Improved Utility

The more control you have over your lighting, the more functional your spaces become. Being able to set the perfect amount of light instantly or program a dimmer to a specific setting without having to make fine adjustments helps you establish a consistent routine.

In the end, it doesn’t matter whether you want to run a more productive office or simply prefer relaxing in a comfortable home environment. Smarter modern lighting controls let you derive increased enjoyment from your surroundings.

Top Trends to Look Out For

Now that you know what you can expect from today’s lighting control systems, where should you begin your search for the ideal interior options? There are plenty of great examples.

Fixture manufacturer Legrand sets high standards with its Adorne collection. Products like their Accent Nightlight models add practical functionality to wall plates by imbuing them with one-finger touch control features. In addition to being infinitely sleek, these designs gently illuminate nearby spaces for ease of navigation. They also make stunning accent lights.

One interesting interior design principle that Legrand Adorne clearly capitalizes on is the idea that it should be simple to complete a top-to-bottom remodel. Instead of trying to match different fixtures and cosmetic fittings, you can realize a sense of style that pervades your entire property. The collection’s inclusion of matching fan controls, mobile device cradles, data connectors and other functional hardware makes it easy to create a uniform interior or exterior aesthetic.

Many Adorne controls snap on, so you can install them with far less work than you'd usually expend during a remodel. Since forward-thinking home and workplace design is all about saving effort, this is definitely a collection that should be on your radar.

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