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365 Objects Of Design, In the Light, Volume II

Objects of Design #240: Light Switches

27th October 2013
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dolly toggle light switches brass light switches

dolly toggle light switches

“The time has come,” the walrus said, “to talk of many things … ” only this time it’s not cabbages and kings but light switches and things. As this lighting series of objects of design draws to a close, we have spent time not only looking at lighting, but also at flexes and bulbs and the other parts that go towards creating a great, and layered, lighting scheme.

invisible light switch from forbes and lomax

invisible light switch from forbes and lomax

But, I have a horrid feeling that if any of you are anything like me you’re all still turning those gorgeous lights on and off with the aid of a nasty white plastic switch. Yes hands up … you at the back there … sit up straight.

I managed to incorporate brushed chrome dolly toggle switches into my kitchen but didn’t even think about the rest of the house I’m ashamed to admit. And now I find I am really keen to remedy that.

unlacquered brass dolly switch from forbes and lomax

unlacquered brass dolly switch from forbes and lomax

There are two schools of thought on this, so pay attention (007). Firstly, a white plastic switch is, in all likelihood, the same colour as the walls and will therefore disappear into the background. And, I hear many of you say, why draw attention to something that is purely functional and quite ugly?

Which, dear reader, brings me to my second point. You should always pay the greatest attention to the parts of your house that are at eye level and that will be touched. Door handles, bannisters, hooks and, yes, light switches. It’s those details, where people are actually coming into contact with things that will make your home seem considered and well thought out.

invisible light switch with brass dolly toggle switch

invisible light switch with brass dolly toggle switch

These ones are from Forbes and Lomax, established 20 years ago, and who make nothing other than light switches. You can choose the finish and the type of switch. If you fancy the invisible ones, which are perfect for a wallpapered wall, they come with a plate that fixes onto the wall over the messy plaster that inevitably lies behind the white plastic switch. You then paint, or paper this before fitting the toggle and the clear plate over the top. Yes, I know, good luck with matching the pattern.

invisible rocker swtich with black rocker

invisible rocker swtich with black rocker

As a guide price the brass dolly toggles start at £38.25. There are discounts available for trade (get the builder to order them) and obviously prices depend on how many toggles you need per fitting.

invisible socket paint to match the wall

invisible socket paint to match the wall

I have focused on Forbes and Lomax, but there are other places you can look. Try Jim Lawrence and Living House UK and keep an eye on vintage stores such as Baileys Home and Garden where you can buy one of these fluted dolly switches for £48.

brass dolly switch from baileys home and garden

brass dolly switch from baileys home and garden

Oh, and Forbes and Lomax also do plug sockets too, although, as they are usually near the floor they are perhaps slightly less important than the switches. See the image above; they can be painted to match the wall. I confess that once I have dealt with switches, I may well be finding the time has come to talk of plugs and wires and electrical things …

 

 

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  • Lindsay 28th October 2013 at 7:26 pm

    I often thought of changing mine when we bought our home 3yrs ago but with everything else to buy people suggested it was a waste……..3yrs later many things changed but my switches! Not sure why I listened as often it’s the finishing touches that make a room. Great suggestions here thanks!

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 28th October 2013 at 7:31 pm

      That’s exactly what happened to us! We thought about the kitchen – probably because we were extending so we needed to buy everything – and left all the others as they were. Now I’m really itching for brass (which will age naturally over time) dolly toggle switches. I’m definitely going to do it as, yes, it’s all in the detail.

  • Paul 27th October 2013 at 10:03 am

    Just be careful… Many ‘mains voltage’ dimmer switches are not compatible with ‘dimmable’ LEDs.

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 27th October 2013 at 10:09 am

      Good advice, thanks for pointing that out. Everyone, make sure you check. I only have one dimmer, in the bathroom so it’s not something I need to be worrying about but I know many people have lots of dimmable lighting.

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