This is how we easily added a rotary on/off dimmer switch to a pair of hard-wired brass wall sconces for our daughter’s ‘big girl’ bedroom.
Ever find the perfect light fixture for a space, only to realize that it wont work with your current switch (or lack thereof) configuration? We have great news – you can probably modify it yourself! With a few simple steps, we converted a hard-wired sconce to a switched, dimmable one.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Step 1 | Tape & Measure
The first step of the process was to determine where we wanted to drill the hole for the dimmer. The clear ruler came in really handy so we could see the center points and determine the location. Keep in mind that the shape of your sconce and shade will dictate the best position for the rotary switch, and be mindful of how accessible the switch will be.
Step 2 | Drill Appropriately Sized Hole
Once we’d marked our drilling location, we started with a small bit (1/16″ or so) to act as a pilot hole. We then worked up in size until the shaft of the dimmer switch fit tightly through the backplate. In our case, the final hole was 3/8″, but each dimmer will be different, so start small and adjust accordingly.
Step 3 | Install the Rotary Dimmer
With the hole drilled, we popped the thumb dial off of the dimmer, slipped it through the backplate, then tightened it up from the front. The dimmer is very thin and designed to fit inside the fixture with no problem.
Note: The thumb dial was originally more of a yellow-ish gold that didn’t match the fixture well. We hit it with a couple light coats of spray paint for a much better color match.
Step 4 | Wire up the Dimmer
After everything was connected physically, we assembled our sconce fully and connected the wires according to the instructions.
Step 5 | Install and Test
Once the modified sconce was wired up it was ready for installation and a quick test. Perfect! The rotary dimmer is smooth and precise. After we spray painted the knob, the color match is almost identical!
That’s it! This project was truly as simple as it looked. 30 minutes and a couple of tools that we had on hand, and we completely changed the functionality of this pair of fixtures. Have you ever customized a light fixture? We’d love to hear about creative ways you’ve made things work for your needs!