Looking to re-wire a room with a bit different design.

Goal: I have a room which is a living room on one end and an office on the other (two zones if you will) where I am installing can lights. I would like to have each zone of lights separately dimmable. Additionally, both banks to be turned on/off together via switch. So, each rooms light level could be set to 0 - max individually, and all banks able to be turned on/off via a switch.

Existing: I have two working switches wired up in three-way. One switch in the office and one in the living room. The hot feeds into the switch not from the light fixture.

My thinking: I could keep the three-way switches. Wire two dimmers in-line to the three-way.

Am I crazy? Any thoughts appreciated.

Thanks, Mike

  • 1
    How open are you to "smart switches/smart bulbs", or straight-up home-automation tech such as Insteon, for that matter? Also, are these can lights Edison base fixtures or integral LED setups, and if they're the former, what sort of bulbs are you whacking in them? Sep 12, 2019 at 0:48
  • ThreePhaseEel, I generally prefer to stick to the tried and true with my home electric upgrades. I work in IT and have a feeling in 10-15 years a lot of these cool automation products we have now will be without support for latest phones/tablets/etc. =) Can lights are Edison bases and I plan to use either BR30 or BR40 LED bulbs. Thanks!
    – mikealm
    Sep 12, 2019 at 17:08
  • How open are you to running new wiring between the switch locations and adding junction boxes there, then? Sep 12, 2019 at 23:15

1 Answer 1


So if:
1) power goes into 3 way switch 2) switch legs go to other 3 way switch 3) combined switch leg which powers lights now goes into 2 dimmers 4) each dimmer feeds a wire to a different set of lights

It can work.

An easier thing might just be to get a bunch of philips hue bulbs and program and control them with home automation software - with an added benefit of colors!

  • 1
    Thanks guys. Appreciate the feedback! I ended up having an electrician come out for another project and he got me squared away on this one, too. What we were discussing was doable, just with more wiring than I had foreseen. Opted to have a second three-way put in and just control them via separate dimmer/switch combo boxes.
    – mikealm
    Sep 12, 2019 at 18:35
  • @mikealm - this should really be posted as an answer, then accepted, instead of just being a comment. That will prevent the system from automatically bumping this question every few months from here to eternity...
    – FreeMan
    Jun 9, 2020 at 18:09

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