As titled, I'm planning on installing a new 15A lighting circuit for my unfinished basement with 6 new 40W LED fixtures. The fixtures themselves are direct wire and UL listed. The diagram I drew up for the plan is below. I have 1/2" KO cable clamps for the Romex running between each light, which I plan on running in the rafters (drilling holes as necessary). You can assume all ground conductors will be interconnected and running back to the load center.

I'm looking for a review of my diagram by those who know more than me. I just want to make sure that I can wire up the switch the way I have drawn, with it sitting sort of in the middle; I'm trying to be as efficient as possible with the routing of 14/2 and 14/3 Romex.


diagram of a new lighting circuit

  • 7
    The switch will operate only one lamp
    – Traveler
    Jan 16, 2023 at 3:01
  • 3
    If I read that right only the light beside the switch will work. All the other lights will be controlled by the breaker. You want to bring the power to the switch first, then to the lights.
    – crip659
    Jan 16, 2023 at 3:04
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    Aren't you supposed to have a switch at top and bottom of basement stairs, e.g., a 3-way setup? Jan 16, 2023 at 18:06
  • @JimmyFix-it I had read that, and you may be right. At the moment, there's just a single basement light switch controlling the light at the base of the stairs. I had planned on switching that to an always-powered pull string and repurposing the switch, but perhaps it would be easier to leave that switch alone and install a new one at the base of the stairs. Jan 17, 2023 at 9:27

2 Answers 2


The way you drew your diagram, you are controlling only the light nearest the switch - the others will always be on.

I’m assuming you want to control all of the lights from the switch. In this case, you need to change the 14/2 between the two lights on the left to 14/3. Run the black from the top-left light box from the black feed all the way to the switch. Run the red (the switched hot conductor) back to the two lights on the left and to the black running to the lights on the right.

Here's your diagram with the necessary changes: enter image description here

  • 1
    Thank you. Switching all the lights was my desire. Jan 17, 2023 at 9:25

Doxylover has the right answer in principle.

Note also how Doxylover used colors to define the function of the wires - using black for always-hot, and red for switched-hot (hot when lights are desired to be on).

That's something you didn't do on your original drawing. But it's a good idea, beacuse it makes it easier to conceptualize. Let me show you my tune of Doxylover's drawing, where switched-hot is red throughout.

enter image description here

In practical terms, you can use a few wraps of colored tape on each end of a wire to "re-designate it" to that new color. Just treat a black wire with red tape as a red wire.

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    Thank you. Is the red tape on the 14/2 something I should do for NEC code as well? Jan 17, 2023 at 9:24
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    @J.D.Mallen Nope, not a code requirement. NEC doesn't care what color your hots are (as long as they are NOT white, gray, or green.... however when re-tasking a white/gray as a hot wire, in that case marking is mandatory). I suggest it merely to aid clarity. I do it widely in my own boxes. In a case like this I might not really mark; however I absolutely do it in 3/4-ways because those get CRAZY. I use yellow for travelers (brass screws). Jan 17, 2023 at 19:44

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