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DIY Tutorial: How to Upgrade Switches & Outlets

A DETAILED tutorial on how to upgrade your builder grade switches and outlets to more functional and stylish options such as USB outlets or nightlight switches. This post has all you need to know!

TGIF, y'all! You know, I've had a tough time getting back into the swing of things after my High Point Market trip (a full highlights post of that trip will be up on Monday!), but I have made a conscious effort to get some projects knocked out because I hate living in a state of chaos. A project we accomplished last weekend in a little under two hours was swapping all of our switches and outlets in our master bedroom. Using the radiant collection by Legrand, we went from builder basic to sleek, screwless and gorgeous.

Special thanks to Legrand for providing the product and compensation for this partnership. All photos and opinions are my own. 

You may be asking yourself why we decided to upgrade, and really it's something we wanted to do during our house building process last summer, BUT we decided to just DIY it later on down the road to save some $$. Since we're working on our master bedroom for the One Room Challenge, it seemed like a good time to tackle this particular room.

Our master bedroom has a lot of switches and outlets because of the patio door access- we can control our patio ceiling fan/light and flood lights from our room. Additionally, we have interior recessed lights and ceiling fan/light. And during our build process, we had outlets installed on nearly every wall after living in our former home and having to use extension cords in our bedroom!

A review and thorough review of the installation of switches and outlets from the radiant collection by Legrand.


All that being said, it was very easy to make the switch (pun intended) to the sleek and modern radiant collection switches/outlets. I know it may seem challenging to DIY this if you've never worked with electrical stuff before, but this is truly easy if you follow directions. I'll walk you through the steps!*

Supplies Needed:

• Flathead screwdriver
• Phillips head screwdriver
• radiant collection switches or outlets of your choice
radiant collection wall plates for the number of outlets/switches (formally referred to as "gangs") in your respective wiring scenario
• Wire cutter/stripper tool
• Pliers
• Needle nose pliers
Optional: volt meter

Step 1: Turn off the power via your home's breaker box.

Step 2: MAKE SURE THE POWER IS TURNED OFF. (No really, this is so important! You can double check this using a volt meter)

Upgrade your builder grade switches and outlets to something more functional and stylish with this tutorial.


Step 3: It's time to remove your existing faceplate from the wall using a flathead screwdriver. Set the faceplate and screws aside.

Upgrade your builder grade switches and outlets to something more functional and stylish with this tutorial.


Step 4: Unscrew the switch/outlet from the electrical box (top and bottom screws), pull it out of the electrical box and carefully remove the wires from behind the switch. This is usually done by using a phillips head screwdriver to loosen them from under the screw (terminal).

A DETAILED tutorial on how to upgrade your builder grade switches and outlets to more functional and stylish options such as USB outlets or nightlight switches. This post has all you need to know!


Step 5: Now it's time to connect the wires! Generally speaking, the white wire is your neutral, the black is your "hot" wire, and the copper one without any cover is your ground. The ground is easy to match up- you'll always connect it with the greenish/blue colored screw. But, the black and white can differ depending on the terminal connection type, so here's where we'll diverge for a moment.


Step 5A: If your radiant switch/outlet has easy connect terminals (where you don't have to curl the wire under the screw/terminal and just insert it into a small hole, see photo below): you'll likely need to flatten/straighten out the curled wire using pliers. There's also a guide on the back of the radiant switch/outlet that shows how long the wire should be if you need to trim it down using your wire cutter/stripper tool. Once it's straight and the appropriate length, push it into the respective hole for your black and white wires and tighten the screw to secure. Easy peasy!

A DETAILED tutorial on how to upgrade your builder grade switches and outlets to more functional and stylish options such as USB outlets or nightlight switches. This post has all you need to know!


Step 5B: If your radiant switch/outlet has regular terminal connectors (that look a lot like the ones from your previous switch/outlet that you removed in step 4, see photo below): you'll unscrew the screws and fit the curled wire piece under the proper terminal/screw and tighten for a secure connection. This type, to me, can be a bit more time consuming, but it is not hard by any means. If your wire is not already curled, you can easily curl it using needlenose pliers.

A DETAILED tutorial on how to upgrade your builder grade switches and outlets to more functional and stylish options such as USB outlets or nightlight switches. This post has all you need to know!


Step 6: Once your connections are all made, you're going to put the switch/outlet back in the electrical box. This means you'll have to gently push the wires in and move stuff around. While you should be careful, do know that these wires are generally heavy duty and can withstand some shoving around for placement. Screw it into place on the top and bottom and make sure it's straight.

A DETAILED tutorial on how to upgrade your builder grade switches and outlets to more functional and stylish options such as USB outlets or nightlight switches. This post has all you need to know!

Step 7: If you have other switches/outlets in the electrical box, repeat steps 3-6 for each one until all your new switches/outlets are installed.

A DIY tutorial/installation and review of Legrand radiant collection switches and outlets.

Step 8: Open up your wall plate package and get the black piece and the respective screws. Place over the switches/outlets. You may need to do some tweaks to the positioning to get them straight/aligned. After you get everything perfect, tighten the screws in place.

Step 9: Look at the back of the white faceplate to determine which side should be "up" and snap it into place over the black portion.

A DIY tutorial/installation and review of Legrand radiant collection switches and outlets.


Step 10: Turn the power back on and marvel at your fancy schmancy radiant switches/outlets without any screws in sight!

We installed a lot of general on/off switches and regular plug-in outlets, but we did install some USB outlets near our nighstands that have made me so happy!

The best outlet for nightstands- features two electrical outlets AND two USB ports. This post goes over all the steps to get them installed.


Now I have TWO USB outlets to charge my iPhone and Kindle (and Fitbit!), and I also have two standard electrical outlets.

The best outlet for nightstands- features two electrical outlets AND two USB ports. This post goes over all the steps to get them installed.

The best outlet for nightstands- features two electrical outlets AND two USB ports. This post goes over all the steps to get them installed.


And on the switches that control the ceiling fan lights (both in our room and on the patio), I chose a switch that has a tiny LED light at the top so when I'm fumbling around in the middle of the night to let Pee Wee out, I can easily see which switch is the one for the lights. Pretty genius, right? They also have nightlight switches, but I decided to use those in the bathroom since I'm a weirdo who can only sleep in pitch black.

The radiant collection by Legrand features modern screwless faceplates and tons of smart home functions/options.


Overall, the reason we like these types of switches and outlets is the screwless wall plate design. It's sleek, blends in to our walls and the larger paddle-type switches look modern to me. Most homes feature the standard builder installed stuff, so it's nice to have something different.

The radiant collection by Legrand features modern screwless faceplates and tons of smart home functions/options.

LOVE this idea of installing USB outlets near nightstands. This post features a full DIY tutorial on how to change out electrical switches and outlets. Looks easy.


We are also updating the switches/outlets in our master bathroom, which recently got a glam gold and white makeover, and those will be feature packed! We'll have timers, nightlight switches, occupancy sensors and more, so stay tuned for more fun home tech upgrade with Legrand.

I hope this tutorial was helpful and inspires you to check out what radiant collection items could make your home function a bit better. There's dimmers, USB outlets, and so much more to enhance your home's lighting and electrical functions, plus some smart home/home automation options will be added soon. 

*I am not a licensed electrician, and I cannot provide advice on your home's specific wiring scenarios. If you're ever in doubt, please contact a local licensed electrician, and as always, exercise safety and common sense precautions when attempting any DIY project.

2 comments

  1. great tutorial monica! My husband is a builder so I leave anything electrical up to him!!

    ReplyDelete

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