3 lights and 3 switches

I just joined and first time poster.

I have a hallway with 3 lights in the ceiling. Each of these lights is controlled independently by a separate switch in the hallway.

I would like to hide the middle switch, and just have a 3 way type setup with a switch at either end to operate all 3 lights at the same time.

Is this possible?


If you are going to use dumb switches, yes, it’s possible, but will require changes to wiring and new 3 way switches. Additionally, you need wiring with 3 conductors (plus ground) for carrying the traveler wire. Here is a good example.

If you plan to use smart switches, most manufacturers have an accessory switch that is used in conjunction with their smart switch vs a second smart switch. There is a good example of 3 way wiring using GE/Enbrighten (Jasco) smart switches here.

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  1. Are the existing switches where you want things to be when you’re done or will you be putting in new boxes?

  2. Do you always want to control all three lights as a group?

  3. Do you want to be able to dim the lights or only turn on and off?

  4. Are you in the US?

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I have no clue about terminology, but no chance of changing the wiring without major construction. each light switch is already wired for its own light. I am in the U.S.

I am not worried about dimming and will ALWAYS want the 2 outer switches to work all 3 lights just like a normal 3 way. I am wanting to use existing locations, wires and boxes. I want to hide the middle switch and am wondering what to do with power outages, etc.


What type of fixtures do you have? Sometimes the easiest way to solve This kind of existing configuration Issue is to use smart lightbulbs, then put a smart switch cover over the existing switch so that the light you want to go on goes on when that specific switch is pressed. These days there are quite a few choices, although it does depend on what country you are in. This also allows you to leave the existing dumb switches in place for emergencies.

Philips Hue has a lot of options, including different smart bulb types, and different switch cover options so again, that may be the easiest approach, although it won’t be the least expensive.

Anyway, you can definitely do this and get the result you want, probably in any of many different ways, so it just depends on the other details, including budget. :sunglasses:

And here’s a nice switch cover. That works with Hue Bulbs: this is the one I use in my own home



For example, we have a large family room where the main overhead light is in the ceiling fan. The wall switch used to turn the fan on and off. Then you had to use a chain pull on the then to adjust the fan speed. It was really annoying, especially since we hardly ever use the ceiling fan in that room. We changed to dimmable smart bulbs in the fan fixture, and two additional table lights. Then added the smart switch cover. Now when you turn the switch on at the wall, just the lights come on: all the lights, the two table lamps plus the ceiling lights in the fan fixture. And we have a separate button remote stuck to the wall next to that that controls the fan. this works very well for us and no wiring was required. :bulb::bulb::bulb:

You won’t be able to “hide” the middle switch without rewiring or using some smart device in that location that is triggered by the other switches. Do you know if there is a neutral wire in the J-Box for each switch?

Do you own a SmartThings or other home automation hub? Or perhaps some Echo/Alexa device(s)?

all of you are so awesome with your answers! this is what i have gathered so far:

  1. middle switch needs to be “smart” in some fashion…that can then be grouped with or triggered by either of the other 2 switches. hope i got that right
  2. I will need a hub or something - i have ALEXA…
  3. I really like the living room solution JDRoberts mentioned, except that it does not seem to be a 3 way solution.
  4. type of current switches might be important…i have regular light switches (for the USA) that each work with one light. 3 in this hallway. i want to find the person who wired this and smack em!!!

once again, thank you all for your advice so far!

You can make it work anyway you want. You would end up with three smart switch covers, and you could have any of them do whatever you wanted to have happen with the 3 bulbs. You could set it so each of the three smart switch covers controls all three of the lights as a group. So you could turn them on or turn them off or dim them from any one of those three locations. You could also make it so that the switch covers at each end turned all three lights on and off together, but the one in the middle did something different, like only turn on the middle light. It would be completely up to you.

The advantage to this approach is that the smart switch covers are communicating by radio with the smart bulbs, so it literally doesn’t matter what the existing wiring is. You just leave each of the existing dumb Switches turned on, pop a batterypowered smart switch cover over the top of each switch, and then tell each switch cover which lights it is supposed to control. :sunglasses:

We have used these in multiple places in our house to create zones where we didn’t used to have zones. Our house was built in 1955 and seems to have assumed that pretty much everyone used plug-in table lamps and that was it. So none of the light switches did what we wanted. by using a combination of smart bulbs and smart switch covers, we got things back to what seems to be intuitive for the 21st-century. :wink:

Again, the smart switch cover option is different than all the other approaches: you actually don’t need any hub If you don’t want one, because each of the smart switch covers can be “bound“ to between three and 10 smart bulbs, depending on the exact model, so that would cover you.

However, I do recommend that people go ahead and get the Hue hub, because then you will also have voice control through your Alexa, plus a number of other advanced options like scheduling. If you use the binding method without a Hub, you just get on/off/dim from the physical smart switch cover. Choice is good. :sunglasses:

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You don’t necessarily need a hub. Depending on what Echo device you have, you could get Matter over Wi-Fi smart switches and replace the dumb switches with those. If you want to use the ST ecosystem, you could buy smart switches that are compatible with ST and that don’t require a hub. The down side to that is the implementation in that case is cloud->cloud (for example, Leviton->ST). If want local control and Routine execution, you would need a hub and you could choose from a variety of radio solutions such as Zigbee, Z-Wave, or Matter over Wi-Fi or Matter over Thread. If you want to go that route, I would suggest picking up a SmartThings Station which provides Zigbee, Matter over Wi-Fi, and Matter over Thread support (fairly inexpensive and it also doubles as a wireless phone charger). Then depending on your price-point, you could select from a number of different vendors that have Zigbee and Matter devices. For example, I recently install Leviton dimmers and switches (not the cheapest vendor) in my second home and control them using Matter over Wi-Fi using an Echo Dot 4 but control them in ST via the cloud->cloud integration because I don’t have a hub yet in that location.

Once you have the smart switches, then it’s just a matter (no pun intended) of creating a few Routines to mirror the switches behavior to the others or creating a virtual switch that can be used to turn on/off all three. You could even have another device such as button or motion sensor trigger the virtual switch to turn all three on/off. And with a virtual switch controlling all three, you can use voice to control it through Alexa like “Alexa turn on Hall”.

There are many ways to achieve what you want and as @JDRoberts always says “Choice is good”.



This is a crucial question that will block some options. Most smart switches require a neutral wire so that the switch remains powered.

Turn off your breaker to at least one of the switches. Then take off the cover plate, then loosen the screws holding the switch body in place. Take a picture showing the wiring as best as you can and post it.

We’re looking for wire(s) in the back of the box, usually white, that have a wire nut but aren’t connected to anything.

Also, are you comfortable replacing the switches if that’s possible?

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Strongly suspect you could do this using MOES smart switch modules or perhaps MOES smart light switches for example.

You should decide exactly what you wish to do. For example you could put a 3 gang switch at either end with a switch for each light, or a 1 gang switch for all three lights, or a 2 gang switch with one switch for all 3 lights and the second switch for the one local light etc.

See multi-control association section in their device manuals for example…

Hiding the central switch is physically possible but electrical codes in the U.K. at least would suggest you shouldn’t plaster/drywall over wiring unless it is in certain vertical or horizontal positions wrt visible wall plates/switches.