enter image description hereI want to change my light configurations on my house, and think I have an easy change but want to confirm with some experts on this site!

I have 2 switches that are by my front door. A single pole switch that turns on an outside lamp post, and a 3 way switch that turns on a porch light as well as sconces near the garage. In the garage is the other 3 way switch that does the porch light and sconces.

What we are wanting to do is change the wiring so that the single pole switch turns on just the porch light, and the 3way switch does the lamp post & sconces. In my simple brain its just switching the wires on the switches by my front door accordingly. Is it really this simple?

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  • Assuming the switches are in the same box (i.e. in a 2-gang box, not in two separate boxes), it should be reasonably straightforward. However, that's not a guarantee...one never knows exactly what sort of work has been done previously. If (and only if) you are able and comfortable with taking a photo of the wiring, that would help folks here guide you. If you are planning to hire an electrician, I suspect it will be pretty straightforward Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 12:51
  • Depending on the layout of the porch and garage, you may become noncompliant with code if there is not a switch to light the porch in the garage. If there is a door from the garage to the porch there should be a light source on the porch that you can turn on in the garage
    – RMDman
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 13:17
  • Thanks @susiederkins & RMDman for your replies. Uploaded some photos. Also, RMDman the front porch is far from the garage, and the sconces are the only lights near the garage. The lamp post is actually closer to the garage sconces so it'd make more sense to have those connected which is what we are wanting. The front porch light makes sense to be separate as its so far from the other two... Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 13:31
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    You'd need to pull the cables out and label the wires so we can see what goes where. It's impossible to say anything from those Clark Griswold gobs. The key issue is whether the power cable for the three-way is here or elsewhere. Detach all the devices and separate and straighten the wiring so we can get some sense of the layout.
    – isherwood
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 13:34
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    Before detaching any wire, be sure to label every switch and wire so you know exactly what went where so you can put it all back together and have it functional! Otherwise, your next question here will be "Help! I pulled all my wiring apart and can't make it work again!".
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 15:49

1 Answer 1


Sorry - it is absolutely not that easy. For a single pole switch, power comes in to the switch and goes out to the light(s). For a three way switch, power comes into one switch and goes to the second switch. Then power goes from the second switch to the light(s). What you want to do would work only if the 3-way switch in the house is the second switch in the 3-way chain. You need to figure out which box (house or garage) has the wires from the porch light and sconces coming into it. That is the only box where a switch change would work.

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