Use a dimmer switch in the nursery

Rachel shares her love of light dimmers (a love I share):

In our attempt to decorate the nursery on a budget, I kept fussing over the lamp decision.  No lamp under $40 looked appropriate for a nursery.  Finally, my father-in-law suggested we add a dimmer switch to our overhead light.  It was super-easy and cheap (under $15.)  We don't have to find our way in the dark to a lamp to check on our son if he wakes, we can barely turn the light on to check on him when we want him to STAY asleep, ewe can work our way brighter in the morning for a nice, gradual wake-up, and we can dim it as bedtime approaches.  Now that our son is moving into a "big boy" room to free up the nursery for number two, we will be going to Home Depot for another dimmer switch because it's the one bit of "decorating" that we now can't live without.


  1. Chris says

    I totally agree. We did this with our son’s nursery (plus light-blocking shades). I love it because at night I can turn it lower while I read a story to set the tone for bed time and then turn it off when I leave or leave it on the lowest setting if he wants it on. Also, when he was a baby, it was perfect for those midnight nursings.

  2. Kate in Iowa says

    We have a dimmer switch in the kid’s bedroom too. We’d converted it from a den, and it turned out to be a great “leave-behind.” Our last foster son insisted on having the lights on when he fell asleep. We could “inch” the dial downward as he drifted off. By the time we went to bed ourselves, the light would make a good substitute for a nightlight, being just bright enough for him to find his way to the bathroom.

  3. teri says

    dimmers are also wonderful in bathrooms. you don’t want/need full light for middle of the night bathroom trips.

  4. Jordan (MamaBlogga) says

    Love it! (And the light-blocking shades, like Chris, too.)

    One caveat: I’m told you should never put a ceiling fan on a dimmer switch. I’m sure that depends on a few things, but it also killed the fan in our bedroom (we didn’t wire it; the previous owners did, I swear).

  5. Jenny says

    I could use some of them for my house. Especially in the dining room. And maybe the bathroom too.

  6. wdskmom says

    We have a ceiling fan, so can’t do this. As well, the energy save bulbs don’t work well on dimmers. But if you can, it’s great!

  7. Rich says

    This was a must-have for us, as I hated the overhead light in my room as a child. It’s been a huge help for all of my son’s 7 1/2 years, and now serves as his night light (gotta find those dimmable compact fluorescents, though!).

    Jordan: you’re exactly correct–any dimmer connected to a ceiling fan should ONLY be connected to the LIGHT, never to the motor. This is due to differences in the way motors and lights must be controlled.
    It’s a pet peeve of mine to have to walk into a dark room and have to hunt for the pull-chain just to turn on the light OR have the fan come blasting on when I turn on the wall switch.

  8. Jim says


    Actually, some ceiling fan manufacturers make a remote kit that you can install in your fan rig that allows you to control the fan speed and turn on and off (and Dim!) the lights.

    I was shocked that ours had this feature. My toddler figured it out when he pressed and held the light button on the remote and it slowly dimmed to off and then cycled on and turned up to fully on. A quick press (which is all I was doing) just turns the light off and on.

    Your manufacturer might offer such an accessory.

  9. John says

    I just discovered those remote kits for ceiling fans. Work great! Check Lowes or Home Depot by the ceiling fans.

    I also suggest the dimmer switches that have a built in night light. It’s not meant for lighting the room, but for finding the switch in the dark.

    I urge against the ones with a knob (like pictured). Our toddlers kept pulling them off so we just left them off. Still work, but not very pretty.

  10. mike says

    this is one of the best tips someone gave us before our daughter was born (everyone is always full of tips). It is also nice for mom and dad that have to change diapers at night – enough light to see what is going on, but not enough that you fully wake up.

  11. Chris Webb says

    We did this in our son’s room just before he was born – very useful indeed.

    Note you can not use dimmers with the CF bulbs.

  12. Brad says

    just a quick hack .. we have a dark bathroom and our kid trying to learn to use the toilet could not stop and turn on the light or wait for me…

    I bought a 15$ motion sensing light switch from lowes and now as soon as she runs in to the bathroom to go, the light turns on for her… then turns off 5 min later.

    It made it fun for her to go to the bathroom also cause she can “turn the light on” by her self.