One switch per room (almost) in new construction - will it work?

My goal for our new construction: One light switch per room!

We’re building a new house. I hate rooms that have multiple light switches. In some rooms in our current house, we have to flip 4 switches to get all of the lights on in a single room.

In the new house, I’ll use Inovelli blue switches. I’ll program the switches via Node Red in Home Assistant running on a raspberry pi with a Zigbee dongle.

Our idea is to put one switch in each room wired to the main light of that room. All other lights/light groups we want to control in that room will be wired to Inovelli switches in an AV panel located in the garage.

So, for example, if someone taps the switchin the living room, that will turn on the main light, but it will also trigger the other switches (located in the garage) to turn on at the same time for that room. So, floor lamps, art spots, table lamps, etc.

I can program tons of different effects into the one switch. For example, a double tap on might set a “party” lighting scene. Three taps might be a bright “cleaning” scene, etc. Four taps can turn on the whole floor. Or I can have different “on” settings depending on the time of day.

If I need to reset or access a switch that’s not in a room, I can access them via the panel in the garage.

My home tech expert/installer likes this. And I’ve played with Inovelli switches, lights and HA and it works in concept very well. He says it’s similar to how they set up Lutron systems, which is what the next owner of the house would be able to do. Of course, that might be more than 20 years from now, so who knows what tech we’ll have then.

Anyone else tried this? Any suggestions? Things to avoid? Thoughts?

There’s a concept when designing systems describes be the phrase “fail well”. When a thing breaks, is it easy to fix or replace? These components will break for one reason or another, and they fail at 100 or 1000 the rate of a physical dumb switch. The house should be around in 50 years or more.

When any given component breaks, what will you have to do? What will the next homeowner need to know? Who has the skillset to do it? What is the cost? What happens when the technology changes in a couple of decades?

It sounds like you’ve thought a bit about this. Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to have the switches in another room, as it’s not obvious what controls what, and it will need to be documented (and changes that occur over the decades will need to be documented). Also, if you wanted to un-smartify the home, it would be a significant effort to rewire it. It doesn’t feel like it fails well.

Side thought: Does the electrical code have any requirements that could conflict with the idea of moving the switches outside the room?


I’ve seen Matt Risinger do something similar to the concept; it seems to work out for him. Video should start at the 12:20 mark.

I would say that you could probably make it work using the upcoming scene switch.

Personally, I’d hate it. 2 tap = A, 3 tap = B, 4 tap = C, 5 taps = D, etc.

Multi-taps pretty much requires you to stop and carefully tap out the sequence. It goes against the whole “hit the switch” on the way into the room. A scene controller might work for that but I’d never expect a single switch to replace 3-4 of them. There are people that find you have to be too deliberate to hit these switches one click.

Evaluate how many switches you really need. For example, I’ve seen a bathroom with a big soaker bathtub and separate shower. There was a switch for pot lights in the main area, a switch for a vanity light, a switch for pot lights over the tub, a switch for pot lights over the shower, a switch for pot lights over the toilet and a switch for a fan, so 6 switches. In practice, was that many switches really necessary? Why not 3, vanity, pot lights and fan?


My 2 cents . . that would suck.

1 - My approach is that there should be a fail safe. When your automation doesn’t work, or you can’t remember the multi-tap, or a guest or family remember that doesn’t understand the automation needs to turn on the additional light(s), they can just use the proper switch.

2 - I know you don’t think you’ll be selling the house in the near future, but whenever you do, a majority of prospective buyers will walk away. At least for now, the hard-core automation lovers are well in the minority.

3 - Your electrical installation will cost a lot more. Maybe this isn’t an issue for you. But there is a lot more involved in all of the runs to the switch panel location. Way more labor, more copper, more hole boring, more protector plating. Electrical rough-in cost would probably triple, if not more.

I’d just put the switches where they belong. You can still do the automations and not have to touch the “secondary” switches.


Thanks for the reply. These are good points.

If a switch breaks, it will be easy to replace it. All of the switches will be accessible, whether they be on the wall in the room, or in the panel in the garage. My raspberry pi running Home Assistant is another story. If internet goes out, not a problem. If the pi dies or HA crashes, I’ll not have any scenes and automations. But I plan a robust backup and restore plan for this. However, if HA is down, inovelli switches to dumb bulbs still work. And if I bind the switches to the smart bulbs they control, they’ll work, too. BUT, I’m not sure if that will mean I can only turn on the “main” light in each room, since the other switches will be in the remote panel and I’m not sure I can bind them all together in some way. I’ll have to look into that.

Regarding your third paragraph, I don’t think that matters. For any person coming into the house, they’ll see one switch in each room (there are exceptions for fans, heaters, exterior doors where I need a switch for interior lights as well as exterior, etc). If they enter the living room and hit the switch, boom, all of the lights come on in a default “scene”… just like a dumb house. They don’t need to know that double tapping would give them a “party” scene. There’s no tapping to learn because most guests won’t need these advanced features. Only my husband and I will know some of these. And honestly, we’ll mostly control the lights by voice anyway using Siri. And at most we might have 2 or 3 scenes for the main rooms and that’s it.

In the panel in the garage, all of those switches will be labeled and ideally only need to be accessed to perform a reset or replacement.

Good question about code. I’ll double confirm that with our smart home installer. Thanks again!

Cool, thanks for this!

Thanks for your reply. I think 99% of the time that we use switches, it’ll just be to turn on the lights or turn them off. For some rooms, like the living room, I might have just 2-4 scenes. One will be a “default” scene – like warm white light at a pleasant brightness. That’s one click. Other scenes (party, bright for cleaning, etc.) could be programmed to other clicks. However, we’ll likely use Siri most of the time to set scenes for entire floors, say, for a party. For example, if we have scenes for a party, we’d likely want to implement that for the entire house, not one room at a time with switches. For any guest, they’ll just tap the switches once to turn lights on/off. For me and my husband, we’ll use a combo of time-based scenes and voice commands if we want something outside the automations. So I don’t think there’s much of anything to remember except a few scene names.

Your last point is a good one. We have some switches in our current house that could really be combined. But my husband is a lighting fiend and is filling this house with a bunch of lights of different types at different levels (floor, ceiling, wall, etc). And he’s a big fan of the automations and scenes I’ve set up in our current home. So when I’m looking at some of the rooms we have in this new house and his lighting plan, I don’t see any other way of avoiding banks of switches.

I think the way I would do this, if it’s a blank sheet of paper, is to have a “main” switch closest to the door where you use a scene controller (Project Walt or the Zooz equivalent, Zen32) in a single gang. In the next stud-bay over, set up a 3 or 4 gang switch box with all the rest of the controls. That allows you to have a single point where you have multiple buttons you can press to trigger scenes, but the wiring and individual controls are still rational to someone looking at it who isn’t familiar with what you wanted to do.


Hi, Bry… thanks for the reply!

  1. I won’t set it up to be that complicated. If you tap a switch on, I’ll set it to turn all the lights on in the room in a basic default way (nice white light at a good brightness) just like a dumb switch. The only difference is that all of the lights in the room will come on, instead of just an overhead light. Guests and anyone in our home will be familiar with that functionality bc it mimics a dumb switch. They’ll likely only be pleasantly surprised that all the lights came on.

As far as setting up double taps and such, I would keep this pretty uncomplicated and only used by the two of us. I might say if you double tap any switch, it turns on all the lights on the whole floor to their defaults. Maybe a triple tap turns on the whole house (except garage, bathrooms, etc.). Simple, and not stuff guests need to ever know.

For scenes, I could use the Aux button. For example, if we’re having a party, I could tap the Aux button once on any switch on the main floor and it turns on the main floor lights to a party setting (warm, dim colors, say.) But honestly, we’ll most likely use our voice for this anyway (“hey, Siri, party time”). Again, guests don’t need to know any of this and can just turn on the lights.

I actually think, for guests, it’s a lot less complicated to see a switch, press it to see what it does, and all the lights come on, rather than seeing a bank of switches and trying to figure out what goes to what, and then run around the room and find the switches for every lamp.

I also think it’s less complicated than if I have a bank of five switches in a room, and I have to tell the guests that they should ignore the four secondary switches because all five switches do the same thing: turn on all the lights, or turn them all off. They’ll think I’m crazy! :slight_smile:

  1. I’m worried about this, too. My understanding is this is exactly how Lutron setups are wired. So converting to Lutron would be easy, and probably a selling point. I do want to consider the future. However, it can only carry so much weight bc I really can’t know when we’ll be doing in homes in 20 years. My guess is that we’ll all have much smarter homes in 20 years with more centralized functions. I doubt we’ll still be flipping five switches to turn on all the lights in a room.

I also have to consider the flip side: I could back out of this idea, only to find that in 20 years this is exactly how we wire our smart homes for more group control. And my old, dumb method of wiring switches is now the thing I have to fix.

  1. True! It’s not triple, but it’s more.

I don’t know if this changes your thoughts on any of this, but I do appreciate your insight.

Interesting thought. But I just feel like it’s much more complicated than what I’m trying to do. Not only will I have scene controllers, which would take the place of the light switches for day-to-day use, but I’ll have additional banks of switches that will largely go unused and just clutter the walls. I’m striving for simplicity here. One switch turns on the lights in the room. For guests, I would have to explain to ignore the switches and tap the scenes they want, etc. Seems like a lot.

I know a LOT of people are installing Lutron systems in new homes these days. I would be wiring my house the exact same way as a Lutron system. Except I would be using Inovelli switches. (I don’t want to be locked into Lutron’s confining universe and costs). I never hear anyone say to avoid Lutron systems because the wiring is too confusing. It’s usually a selling point. Thoughts?

If the Lutron comment is about folks putting a central bank of main switches in a data closet etc, I don’t think that’s very common either. Most folks just install Lutron similarly to anything else.

If you go this route, I’d at least consider wiring up the other normally-placed switch boxes in the wall, even if you just end up covering them with blanks.

Whenever I hear folks ponder doing something like your idea, I think of the wise words my awesome realtor told me years ago as I was looking for my first house – “Uniqueness is the kiss of death in real estate”.


If you go through with it then pipe it.

Floor, wall, ceiling lights? Why not do some in low voltage. I’ve got LED strips in a crown molding dropped 4" down the wall in my main area. The lighting is great.

FYI, floor or baseboard lighting is great for one thing - seeing how dirty the floors are.

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We’re doing it! We have several rooms with low-voltage. We really like that type of lighting, too.

Not sure I want to see how dirty my floors are though! :smile:

Interesting, I’ve had several installers tell me this is a typical setup with Lutron systems in new construction. I’ll verify that.

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It’s common with commercial systems, Lutron Homeworks for example. It’s not common with the more consumer facing Lutron Caseta or RadioRA line.

Thinking more, I’d say to both use conduits and bring everything to a big control cabinet. That way, you have the room to change controls if/when you decide to change from individual light switches to some other type of control module with a completely different form factor.

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I would love to get the feedback from someone at Inovelli about this setup. Surely, the Inovelli team has worked with people who’ve done similar installations. Maybe @EricM_Inovelli? I’m investing in a ton of Inovelli product, so I’d love to hear some advice on setting this up before I start closing up the walls! Thanks!

Have you looked into KNX? I don’t know much about it, except it is local and has all the cabling run back to a single point and I think people have switches at that single point.Night be something to look into, if nothing else to get ideas.

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I have not heard of it but I’ll check it out!