If you need to economise, use brass light switches downstairs to make an impression on your visitors, and cheaper plastic switches in bedrooms and less important rooms like larders. Light switches are a small but really important element that can make a big difference – this is something you touch many times per day so buy the best you can afford to take real pleasure in every day activities.
Chrome sockets work well on a modern interior but should be avoided on period renovations, where brass and wood should be adhered to, although chrome switches won't look out of place in a period bathroom.
The ideal period light switch to use on a Victorian renovation is a fluted dolly switch with dark wood and antiqued brass. Budget may not allow to use these throughout, but there’s no reason why you can’t use these for your main light switches in hallways and reception rooms, combined with stepped or plain brass switches elsewhere in your downstairs.
Light switches should be positioned at a comfortable height for anyone who may have to use them including children, the disabled and smaller adults.
The Victorian Emporium's stepped brass socket, available with black, white or matching brass switches and surround.
As for sockets, in a typical Victorian house, the skirting is deep and sockets should be positioned above and not on the skirting so as not to damage the skirting. It is key to have the right amount of sockets for your house. Nowadays power requirements are so much higher than they were even just 10 years ago with mobile devices, laptop computers, games consoles etc, and are set to increase even more.
All period light switches and sockets must be fitted by a professional electrician. It is important that long before your electrician arrives, you plan how you are going to use your space and how many sockets and switches you need in each room and in what position. At the beginning of a renovation project it may seem difficult to plan where each chair, table and lamp will be positioned in a room but this is key to get your power requirements and positions right. You may wish to encompass two or three way switching for lighting circuits, typically in the hall, landing and stairs. Consider which way your doors open to make sure that power points are not positioned behind the door.
It is worth drawing out a rough plan for your electrician to show your desired location of power points too – and as they charge per point, it could save you money if your particular electrician is over eager with the power points.
The Victorian Emporium sells a wide range of brass and chrome sockets and switches including dimmer switches, TV outlets and Isolator switches.