How Far Should a Light Switch Be From a Door Frame?(According to National Electrical Code & ADA )

Who likes to walk across to the opposite wall to turn the light on after a hectic day?

I bet no one!

But placing the switch board right after the door is not also safe.

Not too close, not too far!


So what is the standard distance of The switch from the door? How Far Should the Light Switch Be From the Door?

According to the National Electric code- somewhere you can easily reach out! So there is no specific rule on how far a light switch should be from a door frame, but the standard distance for the electric switch of your building should be placed at 8  inches far away from the door frame so that a person can comfortably reach it while standing.

Fun fact: Did you notice- switching the light on/off is the most common household activity?

So what is the standard distance of the switch from the door?

Ok, I know what you are thinking……If there is no specific law regarding this, then where the heck is the standard distance?

Honey, there is something called the Fair Housing Act.

And here it is:

The electric wall switch boxes should be positioned at the bottom of the box & the distance between the wall & door frame will be 8 inches. And the minimum distance is 150mm or 6 inches.

Wondering why 8 inches?

In the USA, our doorways are usually surrounded by 2 – “2×4” wooden studs. Plus, there is another inch of door jamb wood.

The result?

It only leaves about 4 inches from the electrical box (I mean from the inside of the frame to the edge of the door. Now add 1.5 – 2″ for the door frame trim & half an inch for the edge of the switch box. That means the remaining distance is approximately 2″ – 2.5″ of wall space between the switch cover and the outside of the door frame trim.

If you want a good smart switch for your home, I totally recommend the Treatlife Single Pole Smart Switch.

What about height? What is the maximum height of a light switch?

The height of the switch board should not exceed 48 inches. And when it comes to the minimum height, keep in mind it should not be less than 15 inches

And What is code for light switch height for disabilities? (ADA-preferred requirement)

The policy is for people in wheelchairs or individuals with disabilities.

So how far away from door should light switch be for them?

As far as height is concerned…… a light switch must be placed in the way the people in a wheelchair can easily access. The switch mounted for normal people (at 48”) won’t be comfortable to reach for people with quadriplegia, little people, or for those who have to carry heavy boxes. And for those 40” is the optimal height to reach out easily.

Another crucial fact you should keep in mind is- the type of light switch. And you should know there are 2 major categories in it:

  • The typical toggle light switch
  • A plate rocker switch

The typical toggle is the one we usually see at our building. But the problem with this is it requires substantial finger force, which can be a big deal for an individual with disabilities. 

That’s why a plate rocker switch is recommended for them, as it requires less finger power & force.

By the Way- Should a Light Switch Be Behind a Door?

We are so used to seeing the switch of the bulb close to door.

Am I right?

For dwelling units, the switch can be literally anywhere you can easily access. But we do set up close to the door so that we can reach out to the board right after entering the room.

Then the question may arise- Can you put a light switch behind a door?


But make sure that you place all the switches on the latch side of the door. This is just because of quick access. And that’s why the hinge side of the door is not recommended for the switch.

Ever wonder why are light switches in the US always directly inside the door to the room they light?

Not only in the US, the same process also goes with the UK & a few other countries.

Except the bathroom!

The code is just because the light board in this place allows the person to control the light right after entering the room without searching too much. This is also super convenient to switch off when you leave the room.

And what about a double door? Where should a light switch be placed on a double door?

Yeah, Talking about the classic French exterior door.

Well, in this case, the switch boards are usually placed next to the fixed side door. In fact, the French room into a room means technically you have to ideal place for the switch.

3 key facts to consider while placing the light switch in proper distance & height

Inside or outside room?

Usually, we see this in some European countries- especially Poland!

It’s called the switch-outside-room policy.

And it was mainly for privacy & security- to protect you actually.

Kinda odd, isn’t it?

Yeah, we(Americans) are not comfortable seeing this.

But for the bathroom, the outside switch seems more reasonable and logical. So before installing the switch setup, you need to consider whether the light switch inside or outside room.

Placement of switch box

Yeah, we have already decided to go 8 inches away from the door with a 48-inch mark height.

But where we gonna place, it-that’s the big question. Well, it should be set up either top or bottom of the switch box.

Is it a dump place? How close can the switch be to the shower?

According to both the NEC and the building code- a wet location like a bathroom should be within 36 inches of on the edge of a tub sink.

The Bottom line?

Well, placing the socket switch in a safe zone is important, but also make sure that the switch goes on the lock side of the door. 

Ciao for now!

About Annabelle B. Malcolm

Howdy, readers. This is Annabelle B. Malcolm and I’m a content curator. Don’t tell anyone but I low-key take pride in having a treasure of random knowledge. I co-manage this website with my husband Jamie who is a lighting technician by profession. The idea for this website stemmed out of boredom. Out of nowhere really, Jamie came up with the idea of having a website and since he is an authority on lighting fixtures, we decided to play to our strengths.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.