Decora or Toggle or?

mark_gApril 5, 2010

I would appreciate feedback on what kind of switches and receptacles to use--both from aesthetic as well as functional perspectives.

The Decora switches are beginning to look a little dated to me (maybe b/c that's what we have been living with for the past 15 years), and I want to get away from something that screams 1980s.

I look at pictures of high-end builds and seem to see a lot more toggle-style switches and receptacles these days -- wonder if that decision was b/c of more classic styling, cost, or?

We're building and Arts & Crafts bungalow and I thought about pushbutton-style, but they're not really available in all the configs that we need.

Is there anything new worth considering?

Thanks for feedback! --Mark

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That's personal choice. Electrically they all the same.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 8:44AM
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Depending on budget there are new styles to consider and maybe a fresher cleaner look.

For plain switches and dimmers browse the Lutron and Leviton websites to see if anything catches your eye. Leviton has the Acenti family that is definitely different. Lutron's designer devices, especially with screwless plates look cleaner than regular Decora and come in a score of colors. Leviton and others have screwless plates also. The Lutron plates are a bit easier to fit other devices like volume controls into.

If you have the budget for a lighting control system then you have lots of options for a fresh and cleaner look because you can hide all of the switches and dimmers out of site and use keypads which reduces the space on the wall down to a 1 gang or maybe a 2 gang plate.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lutron

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 3:42PM
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I've installed a bunch of Decora devices in my home lately. I still really like the look. I only use white. I think they look especially nice on a newly-painted wall.

The only caveat I have is with the switches, and it's a functional one. I prefer toggle switches if it's just inside the room entrance. To me it's a more natural movement to hit the switch with the side of my index finger than to turn my hand over 180 degrees and press in (as with the Decora rocker-style switches). But if the switch is on the middle of the wall, and not around a corner, I use the Decora switches.

As far as new construction, I'd bet the reason you see more toggles is because they're cheaper...that, and probably 99.9% of people don't notice and don't care. To me, the Decora devices give the room a nice finished look with attention paid to detail.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 4:12PM
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IMO the Decora style is flatter and less distracting so for Kitchen Remodel changed from small toggle to Decora. Very happy. The change to the outlets that are flat has a nicer look.

If you do something new then you can run into problems getting every kind of control in the same style and a desirable look, e.g. Dimmer, Mag LV Dimmer, fan speed control, double switches. If you're not doing white then mixing makers the colors do not always match. The Lutron Lt Almond is very different. If you go with something new or unique you then make it difficult to change or repair without a special order. I was going to get Lutron in a Satin color but was worried it would be a hassel to get everything, and future hassels changing.

I like the Pass & Seymour Spec Grade Decora stuff. They have many interesting Decora products. It's the main line sold at Menards, and a little of it at HD. Both can special order the full product line. They make a screwless cover plate that I did not like the fit, plus color match of LA was not good.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 1:32PM
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Hi Mark,

Recently had renovations done I have to agree with you about the decora switches and outlets...the electrician installed them and i had him come back and take them out and replace them with traditional outlets and toggle switches. The decora's looked completely late 1980's or early 1990's and the larger surface area of the swiches tends to bring your eye to them even more. the toggle switches are classic looking and discreet at the same time.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 1:32PM
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