By September 16, 2016 Read More →

Interior design trends and new technology influencing decorative wiring accessories

Andrew Wilson, Commercial Manager at Varilight, considers the influence of interior design trends and new technology on decorative wiring accessories.


There was a time when you could choose wiring accessories in any colour, so long as it was white. In the ’80s and ’90s, a gradual expansion of decorative options in wiring accessories began, with brass and chrome finishes becoming widely available. An even greater proliferation of decorative finishes and styles has followed, with an increasing interest taken by householders in interior design and refurbishment projects – a trend that was perhaps influenced by a succession of TV home make-over shows, giving homeowners new confidence to tackle DIY projects.

For many years, Varilight has consulted with interior designers and homeware retailers to identify which colours and styles are likely to be the next big thing. And together with our own ideas, we have developed new styles and colours that coordinate with each new season’s trends.

Brushed brass

Currently, although stainless steel remains a popular option, warmer hues such as brushed brass, bronze and copper finishes are becoming increasingly popular. Colours are also fashionable, with greys, off-whites and retro-inspired bolder accent colours all increasing in demand. From a design perspective, minimalist, low profile fittings, especially those with hidden fixings, remain popular with an emphasis on decorative metal rockers and toggles to complete the look.

Copper wiring accessories are even playing a key role now within hospitals and other buildings where infection control is a priority. Copper is an extremely effective antimicrobial agent with a 99.9% efficacy in killing pathogens such as MRSA. Varilight has launched a new copper range of switches and sockets which harnesses those innate antimicrobial properties. Our Antimicrobial Copper range carries the Cu+ logo, a designation from the Copper Development Association, to indicate its antimicrobial properties, and complements products from manufacturers of door furniture, hand rails and sanitary ware which can all be used as part of a campaign to reduce acquired infection.


We have also seen significant growth in the use of grid switch systems, which offer great versatility, enabling dimmer controls to be located alongside switches or even kitchen-friendly grid modules such as fuse holders, on a single faceplate. The Varilight PowerGrid system also includes remote control grid dimmer modules, bringing together technology and design to enable wiring accessories to blend seamlessly into an interior design scheme. These can be engraved with your choice of wording for easy identification.

Bespoke designs

We have also noticed an increase in specifiers requiring bespoke solutions. Versatile UK manufacturers, such as Varilight, are happy to satisfy this increased demand.

Changes in home technology are also having an impact on wiring accessories. With a sharp increase in the number of smart phones and tablets, many householders are finding that the provision of power sockets is no longer sufficient to power all the electrical equipment in their homes and keep all those handheld devices charged.

In response, many wiring accessory manufacturers have introduced replacement sockets to their ranges that offer USB charging ports alongside 13A sockets. These are great space-savers and with smart charging available from Varilight, connected devices are charged at an optimum rate, freeing up sockets more quickly and removing the need for unsightly chargers protruding from what is, after all, a decorative product.

Sometimes technology and style can combine to inspire a change in behaviour. An exmple is LED lighting, which has been popular with interior designers for some time. That popularity is now echoed in the choices made by an increasing number of householders who appreciate that LED lighting offers new and exciting ways to light up their living spaces.

Retro inspiration

Discrete LED strip lighting can be used alongside bold, “statement” luminaires and retro-inspired filament LED lamps to create bespoke lighting solutions. This revolution in the way we approach lighting in our homes has led to strong growth in the sales of LED-compatible dimmers such as Varilight’s V-Pro dimmer series.

V-Pro dimmers are available with conventional push-on/off control as well as touch and remote control. Features such as scene-setting add to the versatility of the remote control varieties, enabling end-users to save and recall their favourite lighting scenes.

Quite clearly, things have changed dramatically since white plastic was the only option when choosing wiring accessories. New trends and technologies are constantly inspiring new product designs, styles and decorative finishes, meaning that there have never been more to choose from. In the process, wiring accessories have changed from being purely a utility item to a considered purchase with a decorative role to play as part of an interior design scheme.