Design Tip #1~one of my favorite little known facts

Thursday, January 8, 2009


DSC_0042

I realize that not many people will actually be able to use this tip but I love it so much that I still need to share it. Over the years, as Dave and I would look at houses, we were always really bothered when we would see a big return air vent or electrical switches in the middle of a dining room wall or in the line of vision of art. It would drive us CRAZY! We would say to each other, WHAT were they thinking?!"

So, when it was time to build our home, we were very careful when we planned out these decisions. We collect art and we had found that over the years, many a light switch got in the way of hanging art. The above photo is an example that drives me NUTS. This is our current home and this is a perfect place for this painting. However, I despise the fact that the light switch is in the same line of vision as the painting.

There are codes that every state and city has as to where you need to place electrical outlets and switches. Most light switches are placed at about 51-55 inches from the finished floor. This is exactly where our standing line of vision is. So, all the light switches are within eye level (we are short). I don't know about you but I don't want to look at light switches.

An interior designer told us that building codes allow you to have them much lower. In our Virginia house, we placed ALL of the switches at about 3 feet. At first, our builder thought we were crazy but when we explained that we did not want the switches to interfere with our art work, he quickly understood. It took a tiny bit of getting used to but it looked SO SO SO much better. And it is actually a more natural reach for your arm. Plus, the kids could reach them. So, if you ever restore, remodel or build a home consider placing your switches lower. I would NEVER place them at the normal height again---ever.


32 comments:

  1. Where were you two years ago, when I needed you!! That is a great tip......now a days there are SO many of these swiches, vents, and speakers for surround sound...it can really get obtrusive!!

    This was the first home we built....and we have learned a lot. We made a large list of things we would do different next time...this was definitely near the tippy top of the list!!

    I thought you were going to talk about the level at which you should hang a picture on the wall when I started reading this post...whenever I look at homes, that is one of the first things I notice...a lot of people hang pictures too high!!

    Can't wait to hear more of your tips:)

    Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  2. Have you been peeking at my house. lol...... I am guilty of this but like you we find ourslef with a perfect picture that needs to go on a certain wall and no option. Someday if we ever build a dream home I will remember this post.
    By the way thanks for the comment you left on my blog yesterday. We are making progress! Yeah! Also I did try to order a shirt that was in one of your previous posts but I have to many kiddos I Guess to accomadte the cute T!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I work for a custom home builder and we place our electrical switches at the same height as the door handles. It really does make a difference when you have beautiful artwork to hang.

    I look forward to more great tips!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Such a great idea. The person who built the house we are in gave NO thought to light switches. I have never seen such horrible placement. We will be building our next home and appreciate the head's up.

    I'm with Lisa - why do people hang art and pictures WAY too high? :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Such a great idea. The person who built the house we are in gave NO thought to light switches. I have never seen such horrible placement. We will be building our next home and appreciate the head's up.

    I'm with Lisa - why do people hang art and pictures WAY too high? :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. That's a great tip! It drives us nuts too and can make art look as though it is not spaced properly, which really annoys me.

    I look forward to more design posts!

    ReplyDelete
  7. This will help if we do our addition, so thanks for the tip!

    Miss you~

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a great idea! When we decide to build, that will be top on my list! Thanks :)

    Jennifer

    ReplyDelete
  9. Kim we are considering selling and moving again. I WILL keep this great idea in mind! What a simple, clever solution when you build!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I remember actually having a wall cut away in the D Rm just to hide that darn thing! haha

    I love the cupcake shot below, sp pretty! happy Two years Kim!!! Two years of lovely, heartfelt posts!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. what an interesting tip, I have noticed how annoying light switches can be too! i will have to remember this if we ever build again!

    ReplyDelete
  12. as i read this i looked up to see a light switch right next to a work of art in our dining room :)

    it didn't bother me... until now, that is!

    look forward to the next tip!!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. That is sheer genius! We built the house we are currently in and so many of our light switches, alarm pads, etc are not only at eye level but right smack in the middle of a wall. Seriously do they think they are decorative accents? My dream is to build at the shore one day. I will tuck this tidbit of decorative advice into my memory. Many thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  14. What a brilliant idea! Too late for this house, but - if we ever move - I'll keep this tip stored away. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  15. My husband is 6'7" so everything is way to high but I got used to it. Now when I go almost anywhere else, things seem to low. Good type for people of normal height!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. what a great tip..thanks Kim:)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I LOVE this painting!!! Who is the artist?

    ReplyDelete
  18. I never thought about varying the height of the switches. What a great tidbit. Something I will keep in mind if we are able to add on again.

    I LOVE your painting! Does it have a story?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks for sharing as I saw this in a newer home once but didn't want to ask why the switches were so low. I bet they knew what you know about this. It is true that they get in the way of hanging stuff and I think it is very sensible for the kids to be able to reach them. Susannah gets very frustrated by this. Our house is 30+ years old, but we have renovated a lot. However we didn't move the light switches in very many places and where we did, we just kept them at the same level.

    I am so glad to see you are posting about your passions!!! And where in the world did you find the cupcake photo?! Please tell me you did not make all of those!!

    And can you encourage Denise not to give up on digital scrapping yet? I wish I could go and help her in person! I love your new blog look by the way.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I so agree with you about light switches and air vents interfering with art. It bothers me, too. Great tip for anyone who is building or planning on building in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great post. I have a lot more I wanted to ask you but my hand hurts to type from the surgery still. Keep posting, I'm reading and learning.

    ReplyDelete
  22. That is a great tip, and yes, I've never thought of that before! I can't wait to read more of your design pearls!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love any post having to do with art, and this one really got me thinking! My family's beach house in California had really low light switches (was built for the builder of the community, so he must have known what he was doing). It always took a few days to get used to when I would go out there, and I always wondered why it was designed that way. I assumed the builder was very short or in a wheel chair, but maybe he was an art lover!

    ReplyDelete
  24. That's a good tip. I'm also visually particular about things. I like thermostats in a hidden place and I also hide power cords (i.e. from lamps to the outlet) so you don't see them.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Such a good tip Kim. Drives me nuts as well. I can tell already...I'm going to love all your tips.

    ReplyDelete
  26. thats a good tip! I never even thought of that!!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Great tip Kim... thankyou... I never even thought about there being an option.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Great tip! You're right, builders don't really think about this much. I remember when we built, I walked into the kitchen and the light switches were not only at eye level but practically in the center of the wall instead of within a few inches from the door frame! I made them move them!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Fascinating and logical at the same time.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Kim I am settingmy blog to private so if youd like to have access to it, just send me an email to iluvmynonna@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  31. I will have to record this in my file for the builder!
    I love these decorating tips!!!!
    Hugs,
    Chesnye

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your kindness.