5 Easy Light Switch and Outlet Hacks That Make Life Easier

March 02, 2023

Easy updates to your outlets and light switches that make life easier!

If you know how to change out a light switch or outlet, these small updates will be easy for you. And if you don't, they are worth paying someone to install until you get the hang of it. 

I encourage you to watch a YouTube video to see how easy it is (or check out the tutorials I share in this post). 

You don't need an electrician to add these gadgets in your home! I promise it's not that hard to change out a switch or outlet. Once you get the hang of it, each of these will take five minutes to update.

If you are inexperienced, have an electrician or other knowledgeable person install these until you feel comfortable. 

These DIY lighting and outlet hacks are all easy fixes that make life a bit easier, save energy and extend the life of light bulbs!

1. Dimmer Switches

I've blabbed on and on about dimmer switches for years for good reason! They are my FAVORITE! 

Dimmers allow you to soften the light rooms so they aren't so bright at all times:

sliding dimmer switch

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I love them in any room -- we have them in bedrooms, bathrooms (if you get up before the sun they are a must!), the kitchen, dining area and living room. 

Pretty much on light fixtures all over the house:
tall blue fireplace wall

cone light small hallway

There's nothing better than being able to turn down a bright, harsh light to a soft glow at night!

I especially enjoy them for a ceiling light over the dining table: 
large cone shape light over table

They definitely create a soft and cozy mood!

You can find my simple tutorial for installing a dimmer switch here! (I wrote that post years ago -- be sure to use the instructions on your dimmer for the most updated tutorial.)

There are a couple things to consider when purchasing dimmer switches. First, make sure your dimmer switch works for LED light bulbs. Most options on the market now work for those and incandescent bulbs, but older versions may make LEDs flicker. 

Also, determine if you'll need a single or three way pole dimmer. 

If your light operates from one switch it is called single pole, if it works from more than one switch it's called a three way

Most dimmer switches work for all of these now -- that's why they cost more than they used to. (Back in the day they were less than $10 each!)

You can find my favorite dimmer switches here!

Did you know you can also add a dimmer to lamps

I learned this little trick last year and LOVE that I can dim our lamp light now:
foyer table with round mirror

Dimmers not only adjust the light to your liking, but they allow for soft ambient lighting that is really lovely in the evening or on a stormy day. 😍 

Plus you will save energy and your light bulbs will last much longer!

2. Recessed outlets

I've shared these cool recessed outlets (and how to install them) as well. They are deeper, inset outlets that give you a few more inches behind furniture and TVs:
Recessed outlets for behind furniture
I've shared how much I hate when I can't push furniture all the way against the wall -- these help tremendously! 

Also, if you're having an outlet installed behind a hanging TV, I recommend these instead of a regular outlet. That way you have plenty of space for the plug behind the mounted television:
Gallery wall around hanging TV

You can find these handy recessed outlets on Amazon and in hardware stores. 

3. USB outlets

These USB outlets are another favorite because they're just so useful. They still have two regular outlets, but also two USB sockets as well:
USB outlet for charging devices

You can plug anything in like a normal outlet, but don't need the bulky chargers to power up your devices. There's plenty of room to have something plugged into every spot. 

We have one in our mud room and it's perfect because we have so many items that need to be charged -- speakers, watches, phones, etc. 

I keep all of the cords in a drawer right there so we can grab them all:  
blue base cabinets white uppers
Tour our refreshed laundry/mud room combo here!

The kitchen island is another perfect spot for one of these!: 
USB outlet on island

I think they'd be great in an office or bedroom (by the nightstand!) as well. 

4. Motion sensor light switches

I hate when lights are left on around the house! Not calling my family out or anything...I'd never do that. ;)

I fell in love with the motion sensor light switch when I used one of these in our old house:

Motion sensor switch turns off light

A motion sensor light is GREAT for areas where our families we tend to leave lights on. 

They turn on when you walk in and you can set how quickly you want them to turn off when you leave the room. You can also tap the button to turn them on and off manually.

I think they're especially helpful in closets and pantries. I LOVE the one in my closet (that I covered in wallpaper scraps!), especially when I'm carrying a laundry basket:
wallpapered switch cover

These switches take some getting used to -- you'll still reach for the light switch for a good week after installing it. :) 

Motion sensor switches will definitely save you some money on the electrical bill if you have light switch offenders in your home.

5. Paintable outlet covers

These inexpensive outlet covers are GREAT and require zero electrical work to install: 
paintable outlet covers

You just take off the original outlet cover and install this on top of the socket. You can make the color whatever you want, so they they become nearly invisible on the wall. 

These covers are also great if you want to update discolored outlets, but don't want to change them all out. 

If you're planning to install any of these handy switches or outlets, you'll want to pick up a voltage tester as well. It's super simple tool that tells you if there's any power going to what you're working on. 

I ALWAYS test (in addition to turning off the breaker) -- even if the light is off, there may be power coming from an another line.

I think you'll find any of these outlets and switches helpful around the house! Have you used any of these handy gadgets?

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  1. You have the best hints! Thank you for sharing. I'm buying some recessed outlets today!

  2. I am moving into a small house where in the living room, I have a blue console, an upholstered brown sofa and a white chair. I am unsure as to whether to use a patterned rug on the hardwood floor or a subtle small pattern or none pattern rug and what color to use.

  3. Do you have a link for your hallway light and dining room light? Thanks

  4. Perfect timing for me as I just made a note about updating the dimmer switch in our dining room not more than 5 minutes before I read your article! Also, I tried to find it but couldn’t, have you shared the gold and linen shade light fixture shown in your hallway? It’s beautiful!

  5. I JUST bought some paintable covers for my 100 yr old house's outlets. Can't wait to get them in use! :) Camille

  6. I love the paintable wall plates. I have 40 yo yellowish wall switches and hate them. I didn’t want to retire all of them and now can use these instead


If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here!

You can find our paint colors and links to items at the "Our Home" tab at the top of my site.

THANKS so much for reading!