I have found a few wiring diagrams online, but none that fit my specific scenario. Please can you tell me if my wiring plan according to my diagram below is correct. Apologies for the non standard diagram and probably terrible terminology, I hope it makes sense. I am quite new to electrics. I have somebody I can have check the system for safety, but I am trying to learn on my own.


We have a main overhead light in the centre of the bedroom, and two reading lights above the bed. The main overhead light and each reading light is switched independently, and each can be switched on without any of the other lights being on.

To this end, I intent to run the supply in on the live loop, and run the live back out to the main overhead light switch, which when on, will complete the main overhead light circuit.

The other two lights, the reading lights will be joined together in one terminal, each going to a light and switched circuit returning to the neutral terminal together.

As far as I can see, any switch being switched on in this system will complete a circuit, independently of the other circuits connected from this ceiling rose.

Does this look correct?

enter image description here

  • Electrically, that does what you want it do. Whether you can make those connections in a way that meets code may be a different question; I'm not following how you plan to set this up physically.
    – keshlam
    Oct 4, 2014 at 1:42
  • 1
    The switches for the reading lights should be before the lights in the circuit, not after. You always want to switch the "hot" conductor, not the "neutral".
    – Tester101
    Oct 4, 2014 at 1:47
  • I see, thanks. In terms of the connections inside the ceiling rose, is there anything breaking code in there?
    – gbro3n
    Oct 4, 2014 at 1:50

1 Answer 1


As put in the comments, you should never put a switch in the neutral of a light.

Further, I am going to assume you are in a place where they use the wire colours as follows, because that seems the case in your drawing (I don't know all the world-wide colour schemes, but the most famous one that fits you image is this one I think):

  • Brown = Phase ( = hot )
  • Blue = Neutral
  • Green/Yellow = Earth
  • Black = Switched Phase ( = hot after a switch )

EDIT: Due to John's comment I add here, that apparently in the UK the switched wire is normally neutral colour (blue here), but with a live-colour (brown here) sleeve at each end. The remaining story most likely stays the same, with that substituted for black in the remainder.

As you can see in my list, there's a special, dedicated colour for switched wires, this is true in almost all colour schemes. In most countries dozens of pages of code can be paraphrased with:

You are not up to code if you do any of the following:

  • Use different coloured wires for the same signal (as you do in your drawing: Your main light gets brown, where the same wire is blue coming from the switch)
  • Use a safer colour for a less safe signal (i.e. Blue for something that is switched or black for something that is always phase)
  • Use the earth colour for anything other than earth
  • Use the neutral colour for anything other than neutral
  • Use the phase colour for anything other than phase
  • Combine low voltage DC or AC, that's assumed isolated and safe, in the same distribution channels as high voltage AC.
  • Put more than X wires in a tube of size Y (X and Y differ between approval collectives and as such continents)

(often these codes are as redundant as the list above, I promise)

So, if you live in a area where my wire colour assumptions are correct, you will need to do the following to be up to the latest version of code (here in NL, for example there was a transitionary period also including Red and White as standard colours, but this has well and truly ended for new installations):

  1. Make all the wires connected directly to the phase brown.
  2. Make all the wires directly connected to the neutral blue.
  3. Make sure the switches are all connected to the phase (with brown wires).
  4. Use black wires (this is where my assumption comes in) going from the switches to the lights
  5. connect the other sides of the lights to the neutral (with blue wires).

This makes you up to code, and as a bonus (partly why the code is there) you can at any point in time quickly check whether all is right, because you know which wire comes from where and connects to what and no one colour ever connects to another.

  • In the UK, the switched wire would usually be the neutral colour, with a sleeve at each end the same as the live colour. Currently that would mean the switched wire being blue, with a brown sleeve at each end to denote that it could be live.
    – John
    Oct 5, 2014 at 19:10
  • @John Thanks, did not know that yet. Adds another colouring scheme to my index. Anyway, I'm assuming the UK codes still require you to be consistent in those colours, regardless of the fact they're 'less segregated' in a way.
    – Asmyldof
    Oct 5, 2014 at 20:05
  • Yes, they are consistent (though old colour scheme and new colour scheme can coexist in an installation, but all new work has to be to the new colours). The blue with brown sleeve mostly comes from the UK not generally using single cables (for domestic installations at least), but "twin and earth" cable, which contains two insulated conductors (brown and blue) and a uninsulated earth cable all contained within a PVC sleeve. You only need to run one T&E cable to a switch, but then you need to sleeve the blue conductor to indicate it's in use as a live conductor.
    – John
    Oct 6, 2014 at 8:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.