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I am remodeling my kitchen (a little) - kitchen with one door and two open walls to adjecent rooms. Currently I am installing new ceiling (hanging gypsum board) and I want to add some lights. Currently I have only one ceiling light with one single switch at the door (A in picture at the bottom).

Now I want to add at least two more(thinking about a fourth) lights with independant switches. Numbers 1-3 represent the lights I am currently thinking about. Some individual spots switched together, a central multispot light and a big one over the dining table. However, I am not planning to redo the walls, so I do not like the idea to carve vertical channels for light switch cables (but will do if necessary)

But then again, I want it to be reasonably usable.

  1. One idea would be to put light switches at every entrance wall (A,B,C,D,E) - but adding 3-4 switches at every location, chiseling channels, feeding 3-4 cables - I would get 20 light switches just for the 4 lights...

  2. Another option, having radio controlled remote controls in a remote holder at every location (A-E) and having the lights connected to the radio conrolled switches/plugs. But this solution has some uncomforting vibe to it - looks, feels... I don't know something bothers me with this. enter image description here

  3. Yet another solution, have some regular cable connected switches but not in all locations. Like only at the doors A and maybe C (and E?). Talking about cables - do I regular cross switching(connect all switches for each lamp) or do I switch the lights with relays - light cables to subpanel, switch cables to subpanel - some relays connecting and switching everything?)

  4. Or some radio remote controlled switches...

enter image description here

  1. Or a single wifi switch and make Alexa turn on and off the lights?

Looking for any advice. I mean probably there is no single optimal solution, but what is an acceptable middle way.

enter image description here

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  • This is far too broad and opinion based. Any of those options will work for you, pick the one that will work best for you. You might get 5 answers, each suggesting a different one of your options is "best". Then what...
    – FreeMan
    Feb 17 at 12:14
  • @FreeMan thank you, but there must be at least some guidelines like in such a situation one has to have at least two locations for the switches. Or like best practice would be...so what's best practice here? Maybe best practice is something I don't like but should consider - would 20 Switches at every wall be best practice, I hope not :)
    – AndyZ
    Feb 17 at 12:46
  • In the US, I believe code requires that you be able to turn a light on from each entrance to a room. It doesn't say that you have to be able to operate every possible lighting situation from every possible location. Once you've got enough light to see in the room, you could walk to the location with the NASA-size bank of switches to operate the rest of them. Based on the receptacles in your image, you're not in the US, so do what's appropriate for your code. Also, to me, locations B & C seem redundant, but that's my opinion.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 17 at 12:53
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    You can tell your question covers too much hazy ground by the fact that you weren't able to form a concise title sentence for it. Feel free to try again.
    – isherwood
    Feb 17 at 13:48
  • @isherwood - exactly, this all topic has confused me too much. jay613 pointed out what I needed - lights switches everywhere, but not for all lights, just so that wherever you come in you can turn on light. And then I will have a NASA sized switch for my 3-4 lights somewhere :D
    – AndyZ
    Feb 17 at 14:31

2 Answers 2

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Most of your question is subjective. I can't tell you what you want. But here are some relatively (not entirely) objective comments on your situation:

  1. You should have at least one switch by each entrance to the kitchen that allows people to turn on a light and enter safely. You don't have to be able to control everything from everywhere.
  2. Workstation lights should be controlled by a single switch at the workstation. The most typical one in a kitchen is the exhaust hood light over the cooker. But if you have a spotlight for washing dishes etc you can put the switch at the location and be done.
  3. It's a kitchen ... it needs to be kept simple so that children, grandmothers, guests can all operate the lights without training. That means, don't use complicated scene controllers, phone apps, or hand-held remotes. No part of the system should rely on batteries.

I can't tell you exactly where to put switches, or whether or how many walls you should damage but I think if you can't decide between hard or remote switches the best compromise is this:

  • Use simple Smart Switches. These are wired, mains voltage, not relayed, and can be operated by anyone as though they are ordinary switches but can also be controlled by smart apps.
  • Make 2 wall chases for switches, if possible, one to be accessed between doors A/B and the other between doors C/D. Think about traffic and especially where traffic comes from in the dark. Presumably if you are coming from door B/C there will be sufficient light pouring in from the large opening through which you came to allow you safe access to a switch.
  • Control most lights from only one of the two locations. You don't need too many switches.
  • Use Google Home to control all the lights and even to create scenes. While everyone can control all the lights in the expected way by flipping switches, you can post a note on the fridge with commands to set scenes, control colors, and whatever else you want. And you can have some secret ones for yourself.
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  • Thanks a lot, this brought some clarity to me - I was so focused on all lights, that I did not consider just one light switch at each entrance and only a single one for every additional light. This makes sense, is easier and less confusing to use. Thanks!
    – AndyZ
    Feb 17 at 14:22
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I'm not sure which products are easily available in your country, so it depends... But in short:

Assuming the standard used is a widely supported one (and of course the same between products), you can interchangeably use remotes and wall switches. The same goes for plugs and built in switch units. And if you're not sure about placement, these remote units are ideal, as you can easily move them around if you don't like them, or turn out not to use them in the locations you initially picked. And an open standard can also later be hooked into a base station, alexa or something else that supports it.

Wether you want to use built in or plugged switch units is more of a convenience thing. For 'wet' use (anything within splash range of the sink) I would use built in ones as they're a bit better protected from splashes. The advantage of plugs however is that you can replace them much easier of course. The absence of cabling is of course a major advantage, you can pretty much stick your switch anywhere you want (I can't comment on building code requirements in your country however). And it's up to you to perform major electric work and physically tie lights together with cabling, or simply insert the switch units into each existing location, then bind them to the same button.

Finally, hand held remotes and switches don't rule eachother out, I use both for the same lights. You can connect multiple lights to one switch, and you can connect multiple switches to one light. I've put up a remote switch in the hallway for example that connects to ALL lights, so I can turn them off with one click when we go to bed or leave the house. I've even used double sided foam tape to attach a compact switch to the side of my desk so I can control lights in the room from there.

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  • Thanks, I am more concerned about the longterm usability as once all is set and finished there will be no more way to add or change the location of a switch. I don't want to end up with missing a switch in one place every time I need light. But I think the other answer pointed me in the right direction, have a light switch everywhere, but not all lights everywere.
    – AndyZ
    Feb 17 at 14:29
  • The switches I use come with a a bit of sticky foam tape, I've moved these around a couple of times already.
    – MiG
    Feb 17 at 15:22
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    Cheap unsafe crud off Amazon/eBay is available everywhere... Feb 17 at 19:12
  • Not what I'm using. Hope the sticky foam tape bit didn't send you off in the wrong direction :)
    – MiG
    Feb 17 at 19:45

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