I have recessed LED in the bathroom which is way too bright. LED is dimmable but I can't put regular dimmer in front of it since it has small switch shared with two other switches. Neither I need changeable dimming.

So is there a way to reduce brightness? Can I stick some resistor in the switch? How do I choose the resistor? Is there code legal components that can be used for that?

  • 1
    Why can't you use a lower wattage bulb?
    – Niall C.
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 17:39
  • the bulb comes with trim and selection of such assemblies is generally pretty poor as of today. Hopefully it will be better in couple of years. I couldn't find what I need.
    – Uncle Meat
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 17:42
  • Not very sure what the situation with the switches is, and why you can't add another dimmer that only dims the LED bulb. Can you explain a bit more?
    – dbracey
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 19:32
  • 1
    Sounds like waaay too much wire coming into a single box
    – dbracey
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 20:28
  • 1
    Ignoring the fact that putting an inline resistor into a cramped box is a terrible idea it simply won't work with LED lighting as LED dimmers are not resistive.
    – Matthew
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 21:17

3 Answers 3


I am not certain, but the likelihood of finding a dimmer in a single gang with two separate switches is unlikely. In addition to the electronic components needed by a dimmer, it also needs a significant heat sink.

You could replace the existing single gang box with a double gang box, replace the triple switch with a double, and run the LED wires to a spearate single gang dimmer (LED rated).

Before working on the box, turn off the power to the box at the breaker panel. Usually, all switches in a single box are on the same circuit, BUT TAKE NO CHANCES. Make sure each wire is not live with a non-contact tester.


Depending how your existing box is mounted, you may be able to simply cut sideways into the plaster/wallboard sufficently to fit the double gang. If your existing box is nailed into a stud, you should be able to access the nails and remove the old box. If the old box uses a an extended strap to hold it in place. you might need to take out some wallboard above and below the box.

The new box can be screwed into the stud on one side and supported on the opposite side with either built in support brackets or with sheet metal support straps that lock it to the plaster/wallboard. If the box is free-standing (not on a stud), it can be replaced by an old-work bouble gang box that has built in support brackets for both sides.

As you are working on the existing box, be careful of the existing wires.

  • good post except a nitpick, modern dimmers like those for LED lights are not resistive (like old dimmers) and thus do not typically require large heatsinks.
    – Matthew
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 21:16
  • @Mattew PK - Great point.
    – bib
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 21:20
  • It's already double box plus it sits on tile. And I don't want it any bigger. Anyway, seems that I am stuck. Since it's single light in shower, I will probably connect it to main lights and operate with single dimmer of those. Thanks.
    – Uncle Meat
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 22:48
  • 1
    @UncleMeat if it's in a shower then I presume it has a glass cover gasket over it. You could simply frost the glass on the cover to reduce transmission.
    – Matthew
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 23:17
  • Here is specific light I have homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/… It's complete assembly. I could try to take it appart but glass already seems frosted.
    – Uncle Meat
    Commented Aug 24, 2012 at 1:47

If the light is mounted inside of a reflective can you can try to sand or paint the inside of the can to reduce the reflected light.


Shroud it with some semi-opaque lens? I put masking tape on my electronics LED's - they are way too bright.

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