When it comes to renovating, there are many decisions to make on the journey to creating that perfect home you’ve visualised in your head. Whether you’re undertaking a major structural make-over or simply updating the interior, it’s a chance to make choices that will create a space that’s more liveable and more beautiful.
One of the first questions to ask in any renovation is: what kind of space are you trying to create? Is it modern and airy? Classically elegant? Pared-back industrial cool? It pays to have a clear idea of your end goal before drilling down to fixtures, fittings and furniture, because it’s those details that can make all the difference to the end result – like choosing the right switchgear.
More than just switches and sockets
When you consider that light switches and power points are things you’ll use every day and are visible throughout a home, take the time to choose a look that’s right for the interior style you want to achieve. The new technology in switchgear also means a choice of extra features that can add convenience to your daily life through simple smart home automation.
PDL by Schneider Electric has been in Kiwi homes for more than 80 years and is a brand that’s trusted for its quality electrical solutions that suit the New Zealand lifestyle. Its switchgear ranges offer a huge variety when it comes to style and functionality.
So, whether you’re modernising a bungalow, remodelling a 90s townhouse or bringing a faded villa back to its former glory, let PDL by Schneider Electric help you add the perfect finishing touch to your renovation.
Before you start…
If you haven’t already, get a registered electrician to do a full assessment of the property’s wiring, especially if it’s an older building. They’ll be able to advise you on exactly what you’re dealing with and whether you’ll need to have any elements upgraded.
If you’re faced with a full rewire and your budget is tight, you may find you can avoid the expense by installing Arc Fault Detection Devices. These all-in-one devices detect arc faults (one of the most common causes of electrical fires) and also include overload short circuit breakers and residual current protection. Including these in a new switchboard can take care of electrical compliance and satisfy insurers too, as they help to protect a home and its occupants from the risk of electrical fire.
Plan room by room
Make sure your home will have the right switches and sockets for your needs. Don’t assume that its existing electrical layout will be adequate, even if it’s a newer home. Ensuring you have enough plugs in the right places will make life easier and mean fewer power boards piled behind furniture, which can cause electrical fires.
Take the time to go through each area and map out the switches and sockets that are there. Then consider how you plan to use each room in the house and whether you need to add extras.
- Do you need to turn a bedroom into a home office with a WiFi router or network connection, printer or laptop?
- Do you want to add network ports to bedrooms or living rooms for faster content streaming or gaming?
- Do you want additional bedside switches for bedroom lighting?
- Would having USB charging points in the bedrooms, kitchen or home office be useful?
- Does the kitchen need more sockets for appliances like a coffee machine, kettle or toaster? You could also consider pop-up sockets for this space. These sockets can be set into benchtops and ‘pop-up’ when needed and keep surfaces looking sleek when not in use.
- Could long hallways (especially in a villa) benefit from step lights with multi-way switching (i.e. a switch at each end)?
- Do you have artwork or other elements you’d like to highlight with feature lighting? This can be added under cabinetry or kitchen island benches for impact too.
- Does the garage have adequate lighting? Will it need extra sockets for power tools?
- Do you need power outdoors for garden lighting, water features, or power tools etc?
- Do you have an electric vehicle or might you consider one in future? The PDL by Schneider Electric EVLink Wallbox can be installed in your garage or outside, and is faster, more reliable and safer than using a domestic socket outlet.
- Do you want to start making your home smarter? PDL by Schneider offers a range of Smart Home options including the new PDL Wiser wireless smart home system. Wiser allows you to control a wide range of elements within your home and offers flexibility and scalability
Draw up your ideal plan for switches and sockets so you can discuss this with your electrician.
What’s your style?
Forget boring, uniform, plasticky switches and sockets. PDL by Schneider Electric’s switchgear offers a huge range of styles, finishes and shades, and some even has built-in smart home automation. This is the opportunity to add some extra ‘wow’ factor to your renovation.
The game-changing Iconic range combines style with smart connectivity. Available in three distinctive designs and a range of shades, Iconic has Bluetooth capability so you can use a phone app for easy control of switches and sockets around your home. This means dimming lights without getting off the couch, setting a timer on sockets for appliances such as heated towel rails or the coffee machine, or even turning the electric blankets on before you get home.
Iconic also lets you change the look over time, as its range of switch and socket ‘skins’ are easily clipped on and off the Iconic base grid. You can add a range of extras such as USB charging options and pictograms too.
The original Iconic design suits a range of décors and is an excellent all-purpose choice as its translucent edges allow the skin to blend with your wall colour. The modern matte finish comes in Vivid White, Cool Grey, Warm Grey and Anthracite.
For an elegantly modern look, consider Iconic Styl with its sleek metallic finish in Silver, Silver Shadow and Crowne.
Bring the outdoors inside with Iconic Essence in Arctic White or Ash Grey. This switchgear has a natural feel thanks to edging in real birch timber. The wooden detail makes this range perfect for coastal/bush-inspired homes, or those with Scandi or mid-century modern styling.
The three Iconic ranges also offer a variety of clever extras to make life in your home simpler and more streamlined with basic smart home automation that can be upscaled.
Consider adding some of the following to your renovation plan:
USB chargers – free up power points around the house by adding USB charging sockets to bedrooms, the home office or kitchen. These are available within light switch plates (to use by a bedside table, for example) or in power points that incorporate USB C or USB A+C options. PDL’s handy USB smart shelf is big enough to hold two phones or a tablet, and is perfect for the kitchen if you’re reading a recipe from the screen or want to watch a show while you cook.
Multimedia – keep things sleek and easy in the home office or media room with Iconic's modular design that offers a range of options for connecting home computers, smart devices, TVs and audio equipment. You can arrange up to six different connectors in one Iconic plate.
Night Walk – this subtle LED light plugs into an Iconic double power point and is great for kids’ bedrooms or guest rooms as it comes on when it detects movement to light a safe path.
Bluetooth control – have more control over your lights and appliances and save power with Iconic’s Bluetooth compatible switchgear. Use the Wiser app on your phone to dim lights or turn them on or off. You can even pair electrical sockets with the app and set schedules for appliances like heated towel rails, or add timers to specific sockets so you never have to worry about whether you’ve left your hair straighteners or the iron on.
The Saturn range with its distinctive push button switches is sleek, simple and modern. The original Saturn has a glass look finish in Pure White or Ocean Mist, while the ultra-modern textured metallic of Saturn Horizon comes in silver or black. Saturn Zen is stylish and understated with a matte finish in black or white and subtle blue LED backlights to indicate use or as a locator.
PDL Metal Plate
This ultra-slim range comes in Stainless Steel or Solid Brass. It’s ideal for industrial-style modern homes, but the brass finish is also popular for villas, where it can complement existing brass fixtures or fittings such as doorknobs or window catches.
A distinctive curved edge and nine colour choices make Modena a bold interior choice. The large switch buttons offer ease of use, along with the automatically switched sockets.
Tips & tricks
- When choosing switchgear for your home consider whether you’d like it to complement or contrast with your décor. Black Saturn Zen switchgear can look striking on white walls, for example, while the metallic finish of Iconic Styl can add texture to a room.
- Rather than having traditional overhead lights in each room, consider using lamps for ambience instead, especially in bedrooms or living rooms. These can be linked to wall switches with dimmers that can in turn be controlled from your phone with switchgear like PDL Iconic.
Safe and sound
The safety of your home is another important area to consider when renovating. This can cover everything from working smoke alarms, to outdoor security lighting and switchboard safety.
- If the smoke alarms have seen better days, consider installing long-life photo-electric smoke alarms as recommended by the New Zealand Fire Service. PDL’s FireTek smoke alarms sound an 85 decibel siren when smoke is detected and can be interconnected (hardwired or wirelessly), so if one alarm detects smoke then they’ll all activate, giving you peace of mind 24/7.
- Motion sensor outdoor security lights are an excellent initial deterrent to any would-be intruders and provide a safer outdoor environment for your family at night.
- With so many appliances running in today’s homes, switchboard safety is key. Talk to your electrician about installing Arc Fault Detection Devices in your switchboard for extra peace of mind. The new AFDD RCBOs detect arc faults (one of the most common causes of electrical fires) and also feature miniature circuit breakers (MCBs) and residual current devices (RCDs) to protect against short circuits, overloads and fatal electric shocks. You can also add a Surge Protection Device to help protect your appliances and electronic equipment from lightning strikes, power surges and voltage strikes.
Want to find out more?
If you’d like to see more of what’s available and to talk through what might work best in your new home, contact Robert Knight on 021 225 8708 or drop him an email at [email protected]
Or see the ranges for yourself with a visit to a Vision Studio in Auckland or Christchurch, where you can explore the possibilities and discuss the options with our consultants.