When redecorating a room or a whole house one place that is often missed is outlet plate covers. Using decorative switch plates for light switches and outlets is often that little touch that can pull a room together. When a room is redesigned and the outlet covers are missed, that plain cheap wall plate that came with the house can prove that you lack attention to detail. Even fancy plates are not that expensive so there is no excuse for having a cheap plastic cover on your switches and outlets.
Switch plates are not just decorative but also an important safety feature. The plate keeps people and things from touching the live wires and getting a shockâ€¦or worse. That bundle of wires is not only ugly but dangerous and it needs to be kept covered. Make sure when replacing the cover that all the wires are securely inside and none are caught between the plate and the wall. Give the wires a quick visual inspection to ensure that the wires are not exposed as exposed wires can create a fire hazard.
Decorative switch plates come in a variety of colors, styles, and materials. Metal switch plate covers can add to that chrome and glass look, while wood switch plate covers can finish up that rustic for your man-cave. Heck - go all out and use roosters or pigs for the kitchen switch plates and don't look back.
Wood switch plates are full of buffalo, coyote, and horses as well as cowboys, boots, and stars. This ranch style is good for a cabin or for a room that is more masculine. Ornate metal plates with a lot of fancy scrollwork will fit in with a Victorian motif. Oil rubbed bronze switch plates have a contemporary and modern feel. This simple matte finish is very elegant and will work with almost any style.
Switch plates can be cheap or expensive but in general the more decorative the covers are the more expensive they can be. Antique brass switch plates can run into a bit more money while a plain faux oak switch plates can be quite a bit cheaper. They are light as well and if you choose to purchase them online the shipping and handling will not add all that much to the total cost.
There is no limit to the possibilities when it comes to this decorative touch. Plastic, metal, and wood are all options. How they look isn't the only thing to think about either. With certain styles oversized outlet covers can be the way to go. Victorian switch plates and western switch plates are some styles that lend themselves to oversized accents. Oversized plates are larger than they need to be in order to add decorations. These plates can be in the shape of a big boot or even an elephant.
Even when the whole room isn't being redone just changing out the covers can make the room feel a little spruced up. Picking a couple of new accent pieces with some matching outlet covers and the room can take on a whole new feel. Not only will the room feel a bit different but so will you. Those little touches can make a room feel just different enough that you feel like you've accomplished something. This is a great place to start if you have a tight budget. When the family finances are tight a few little touches can make those lean times a little more pleasant.
Installing Decorative Switch Plates
Installing light switch plate covers is easy as well. A screwdriver and a little patience is all that's required. Remove the old switch plate and the new one should fit right where the old one was. Occasionally the screw holes will not match up and a couple new holes will need drilling. Normally the hole spacing is standard but if you're anything like me, the one you choose will end up being that oddball that needs its own special screw spacing. I'd like to repeat again that when you are replacing or installing these things you should give the wires inside a good once over to ensure that there is no bare wires which could cause a fire hazard.
Before running out and buying up a bunch of plate covers take a little time and see just what you are replacing. Turning lights on and off and plugging things in happen so often that sometimes we don't exactly know what we have. How many single switches does your house have? How about doubles or even more? Do you have any switch outlet combos? If so what order are they in. Are your light switches push button, rocker, or the default toggles? Each of these will require a different type of cover. Count and recount all that you have in each room you plan to replace.
Types of Decorative Switch Plates
Rocker or push button switch plates can be a little tricky if you're looking for a certain style. Antique switch plates can be hard to find when looking for these types. Keep looking though there's bound to be one out there that will match your dÃ©cor. Don't forget to look into matching outlet covers. There is no reason to have a fancy decorative switch plate and have bland plain plastic outlet covers.
Before going any further I'd like to explain what the 3 types of switches are. Toggle switch plates are the ones we are most familiar with. They are true switches up and down equals on and off. Push button switches are a little old fashioned. There is one button for on and one button for off. Rocker switches are a single switch which you push on one end for on and another end for off.
Whether you're looking for something cheap, just to replace your old ratty switch plates or something wild and crazy there is a switch plate out there for you. A teen redoing his or her room for the first time will need to replace those balloon and clown kids switch plates with something a little more grown up or funky. Don't forget about safety if you have young children. Get some safety outlet covers to keep curious fingers from getting a nasty shock.