The light switch - One of the most used fixtures in your home, but also the one in which people put these least amount of thinking from a design perspective. If you're remodeling your home, here are some alternatives to the standard flip switch.
Becoming more predominant in today's world, the Decora switch (commonly called the rocker switch) is a great start. Its contemporary look can be customized with a number of colors and broad range of switch plates
For you old home enthusiasts, the push button switch is a classic. When my wife and I remodeled our home, it was important to us that we restore certain aspects to have the character of a home from the early 1900s. I looked high and low for push button switches and them, finally. After several arguments with inspectors, we were set to go. These are becoming more readily available from companies like Rejuvenation (
For a more modern space focused on technology, here's a switch by Leviton that provides users with a range of functions on one switch - on/off, dimming, nigh light function, etc. These can be extremely useful in universal design, as well since use of the switch is so easy. Switch on the right is another modern light switch that has that 2010 Space Odyssey look. Simple, yet functional.
The idea for this article started with these retro toggle switches. Again, the designers focused on the simple design of the toggle switch, enhancing the overall look by focusing on the cover plate. I love how the two looks change dramatically just depending on the cover plate. The first look, with the black plate, have a more traditional, retro feel. The second one is clearly more at place in a modern space.
Next generation of the light switch - not in production, yet! This is a radical rethink of the traditional light switch. Instead of a mechanical switch, this new switch would be an electronic, gesture controlled trackpad that can be used to control multiple lights, either individually (with a single finger directional stroke) or as a group using a circular movement.
Hopefully it won't be long until this type of technology is developed for residential use. So, be sure as you get started in your remodel project that you take a moment to consider the role your switches will play in your overall look.