Monday, February 2, 2009

Quick & Easy Foot Switch

So this all started with a floor lamp we bought from IKEA, with a handy foot switch built into the cord. The convenience of just stepping on a foot switch to turn on a lamp is really quite nice, and I've found more opportunities to do this elsewhere in the house.

During one of my many trips to Home Depot, I stumbled on the exact same foot switch I had seen on the IKEA lamp, in the lighting section, hidden in with the lamp parts. For just under $6.00 I had the foot switch, and for another $1.00 I had an extension cord to wire it into. Simply cut one strand of the two-wire extension cord and strip the ends back about half an inch. After twisting the ends, the exposed wire inserts into the switch. Once this is complete, press the wires into place and re-assemble the switch.

This worked particularly well for my office. I have a couple lamps on my desk, and turning them both on would be a bit difficult the way the switches hang off the back of the desk. So, I plugged both lamps into the end of the modified extension cord, and I can turn them both on and off by stepping on the foot switch under my desk.

So... not the most difficult house project, but a very nice convenience.


  1. I have exactly the same switch. The big question is how do the wires insert into the actual switch?? There are no screws to hold them in place. Just two holes where your photo shows them. The wires kind of "sit" there with no security.

    1. help! I have the same switch and can't figure out how to attach the wires!

    2. Another reader (Kevin) sent me this reply since he was unable to post (since comments on this blog are now disabled due to spam). Below is his reply:


      I had the same issue, and had to dissemble the switch itself to figure out the solution. If you are using solid copper wire, you can just insert the solid wire into the switch and it will grab the wire, no problem. However, if you're using stranded wire, which is common in most lamp cords, you need to do the following:

      On the narrow sides of the switch (the sides next to the sides where the wires are inserted), locate the release for the wire as if the switch already had a wire in it. It is a small slot on the narrow end of the switch, and may even be labeled with text and/or a small arrow on the plastic. When you insert a very small flathead screwdriver into the slot and apply pressure, you will be activating the release mechanism and if there was a wire in the switch, it would easily come out. That is the key to getting the new stranded wire in.

      Twist your stranded wire a number of times in the same direction to make the strands as solid of a wire as possible. Next (and this part is helpful to have a second person assisting you, but it can be done solo), use your small flathead screwdriver to press and hold in on the wire release on one side of the switch. While holding that release down, insert your new wire all the way into the switch on the side you're holding the release for. Once the wire has slid all the way in, remove pressure from the screwdriver, and the release mechanism should clamp down on the wire you just inserted. Pull gently on the wire to see if it was grabbed securely. If it didn't grab it, try again -- you may need to re-twist your new wire again to make it as thin and firm as possible.

      Once you have the wire secured into one side of the switch, turn the switch over and repeat the process to get the other wire into the other side of the switch.

  2. Where exactly in home depot did you find this part? Was it marked to be sold? Have a part number?

    1. I believe they are in the lighting department, in the same area as the lamp repair parts. I don't have a part number however and I could not find it on the home depot website. Granted this was 3 years ago so this could have changed. I did see some on eBay when I did a quick google search for "lamp foot switch"

  3. I've just picked one of this switches from a shelf in Portugal and figth with it back at home because there were no instructions available.

    I just wanted to tell you that I dont know you, but I love you.I really do!

    Thanks from Portugal.



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