Tips for Planning the Electrical Layout when Building a House

Socket placement, lighting and light switches should be a major detail in your house building plans; even though they seem like small issues in the grand scheme of things. It’s immediately obvious when visiting a house if switches have been poorly placed or there aren’t enough electrical sockets for all your needs.

In this guide we’ll share hot tips from electricians and builders about where is best to plan your plugs and outlets; and how to brighten up your home with clever lighting tricks. Be sure your plans get the OK from a professional before they go ahead – get any bad placements replaced by an electrician to ensure they will work with the inner wiring of your house.

Electrical Outlet Tips

  • On your layout blueprints, do sketches of where you plan for your furniture to go. There’s no point planning sockets before furniture, as they’ll end up in inconvenient positions. You don’t want to end up covering them with your sofa or bed; they need to be placed neatly to the side where lamps and chargers will need to be plugged in.
  • It’s best to throw in a few more outlets than you think you need. You’re probably forgetting games consoles by the TV, plugging in lamps and vacuums in the hallway, and just how many mini electricals you need on the kitchen counter.
  • Electricians recommend putting electrical outlets every 4 feet apart in the kitchen, and at least every 10 feet apart in the rest of your house.
  • Remember to include a small electronic shaver and electrical toothbrush outlet in your bathroom (away from the water supply).

Light Switch Layout

  • Professional builders recommend that you look at your house blueprints, then envisage walking through the house in your mind. Where will you expect light switches to be?
    Remember to plan for dotting a few switches that serve the same light fixtures along long hallways – probably one switch at each end. In average sized rooms, only one light switch will be necessary.
  • Also, remember to put light switches at the top and bottom of stair cases.
  • Make sure not to place any where you will want to hang pictures or art. Place them to the side where they are in easy reach but won’t obstruct your décor.

Placing Light Fixtures

  • Lighting isn’t just as simple as putting one in the center of each room! If this is your style then go for it, but there are some more opulent ways to brighten up your rooms.
  • Firstly, electricians warn you not to go crazy with the light fittings. Don’t over-brighten your rooms: an overload of artificial light doesn’t look nice.
  • Choose a few elegant and unusual light fixtures. Sconces in bathrooms look chic placed around mirrors; and a sophisticated (but not over the top) chandelier won’t go amiss in the main reception area or above a kitchen island.
  • A very important consideration to make where feature lighting is concerned – take into account dining room or kitchen sideboards when choosing your placement. Many people automatically plan to place feature lighting in the center of rooms; but their tables often don’t end up in the center. Plan exactly where your dining table will go before you end up with wonky lighting.
  • Don’t forget lighting on the outside of the house. Place some wall lights outside the back door to light up your garden in the summer, and a motion sensor light above your front door.

Fans & Air Conditioning

  • If you live in an all-year-round warm area, or somewhere with very hot summers, consider installing some ceiling fans – these can be combined with overhead lighting in most rooms.
  • Also plan for where you will want to place AC units. These are best placed in rooms that will receive a lot of natural sunlight streaming through the windows, which will heat up rooms like greenhouses when it’s hot outside.


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