This article discusses dimmers and dimming bulbs. First I have to say it is always recommended to have a qualified electrician install your dimming switches, I am no expert by any means. I just like to play around with my dimmers to get the best effect possible from my light fixtures, so I'm a fan of dimmers for sure.
It's a good idea to install a dimmer on your light fixtures, for one it saves energy when they are dimmed, 2nd it gives the option of "setting a mood" in your boudoir and 3rd sometimes only a little bit of light is needed and sometimes a lot of light is needed. It's nice to have options.
Most light fixtures are dimmable, what is needed though would be a dimmer switch to control the light and a dimmable light bulb. A variety of light bulbs can be dimmed, but make sure it's says Dimmable, be it Halogen, or Incandescent. Since LED bulbs consume such low wattage they could possibly need a special dimmer. Check with the dimmer switch manufacturer before installing just a regular dimmer switch with a dimmable LED light bulb, if your not careful you could damage the fixture. From my research it appear Leviton and Lutron are reputable companies and have a list of which dimmer is compatible with LED, Halogen and Incandescent. Better safe than sorry.
The most common dimmer switch is called a line voltage dimmer. This type of dimmer can be used with Incandescent and Halogen. Do not use a (MLV) magnetic low-voltage dimmer or an (ELV) electronic low-voltage dimmer with these light bulbs.
So what is an MLV - ELV dimmer used for you ask. It is used for low-voltage lighting for example 6, 12 or 24 volt. These kind of bulbs are usually connected to a transformer.
We should talk about fluorescent lighting too. Special dimmers are need for this type of lighting, called an Electronic Fluorescent Dimming Ballast.
There are a multitude of choices when it comes to dimmer switches. There are some that can be pre programmed so all that is needed is a tap and the light goes on the way it was programmed, just for you. Some dimmers have knobs, sliding switches. Some are equipped with a wireless remote, so that you can control your dimmers from close by or even clip it to the visor in your car to control your lighting before you enter your home.
The four kinds of dimmers are as follows:
Single - when your light fixture is controlled by only 1 switch.
Three/Four way dimmer - One dimmer that controller a light fixture that has more than one light switch for the fixture. This one is where the dimmer is set by only on dimmer switch, but when you turn the other switches on the functionality of dimming is not there.
Multi location dimmer - One light fixture has multiple switches, each one has a dimmer switch on it so that dimming can occur from any one of the switches.
Then the ever popular plug-in dimmer - used to dim the bulb of a table or floor lamp. These dimmers just plug into an outlet, then there is a place to plus your lamp into the dimmer.
The thing to remember if you are going to install a dimmer switch yourself (never recommended) make sure first you have a dimming bulb, next that your dimmer switch is compatible with your bulb and next that the dimmer switch can handle the load of how many watts it will be controlling. Remember Safety First!