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How to hide switch plates?

Limeyzen's picture

SWMBO has requested that in our new house she would like on colored walls, eg green, blue or?,  the outlets, switches and switch plates to match the color and, therefore, not stand out.  I'm pretty handy but short of painting them, thus leading to wear chips etc., have no ideas.  Thoughts?  TIA

(post #175840, reply #1 of 27)

Use wood covers and paint to match.

(post #175840, reply #4 of 27)

Tony, good thinking but what about the switches and/or outlets themselves or do we have to live with that?

Edited 12/20/2004 10:31 pm ET by LIMEYZEN

(post #175840, reply #7 of 27)

Unfortunately, you are left with your choice of white, bone, or brown for the switch/outlet.  Do your best to make one of these stock colors coordinate with the rest of the room.


(post #175840, reply #8 of 27)

If you do paint them, rough them up with some sandpaper first to give the paint something to adhere to.

(post #175840, reply #2 of 27)


If SHE has wallpaper in the plans, your troubles are over. I've seen it in many buildings, commercial and residential, where the plates were simply covered with wallpaper to blend right in with the walls. The material will stretch well enough to fit the plates well, and even if its a floral print or suchlike, just get a scrap with that part of the pattern where the plate goes and paste it right on.

Damage later? Save those wallpaper scraps and redo it when necessary.

If painting, I'd want to experiment with the paint and an extra plate to find the right combination of prep, primer and paint. Done well it should be as durable as the wall around it.




I'm not the man I used to be, but then I never was!

(post #175840, reply #5 of 27)

See my reply to Tony but thanks for the thought.  Incidently, no wallpaper in our future or at least none that I've been told about!

(post #175840, reply #3 of 27)

Leave the switches out and install Clappers.

(post #175840, reply #6 of 27)

Interesting! But doesn't seem to address the question about outlets though.  Thanks.

(post #175840, reply #9 of 27)

I believe Leviton makes a higher dollar paddle switch in a variety of colors. I have something at work with a sample and color book, I'll look tomorrow if I remember

Team Logo

(post #175840, reply #10 of 27)

Thanks, would appreciate that and if you could provide contact point (no pun intended) that would be great.

(post #175840, reply #11 of 27)

black goes with everything.

(post #175840, reply #12 of 27)

 .. saw this done at the depot one day .. get nylon switch plates, they can be dyed with fabric dye, just mix the color you want .. of course the toggles, and screws would still be ..

(post #175840, reply #13 of 27)

I have  all the switch plates in my house painted; I just leave the toggle switch or actual plug alone. My painter just primes the plates, then paints them with regular interior paint. I haven't had any problems at all!

(post #175840, reply #14 of 27)

Krylon makes spray paints for plastic.  Maybe one of their colors would match - or work as an accent.

(post #175840, reply #15 of 27)

Krylon makes a "fusion" paint for painting plastic - supposed to bond at the moleculer level to the plastic - I have used it and all I had to do was make sure the plastic was clean and dry before using it.  If you can get a color that is close or complementary that could be an option.  The best option I have seen was the one suggesting a wood cover primed and painted with the same paint as the wall - however that does stioll leave the toggle and the outlets showing - back to the fusion paint again

1 - measure the board twice, 2 - cut it once, 3 - measure the space where it is supposed to go        4 - get a new board and go back to step 1



" There'll be no living with her now" - Captain Jack Sparrow

(post #175840, reply #16 of 27)

my house has an italian motife and the light switches are covered/decorated with wine labels

(post #175840, reply #17 of 27)

Have you thought about clear switch plates?  you could paint the backs or paint foamcore to fit into the clear plates.  For wallpaper, you just cut to fit and insert.  Since the plastic is on the outside, no chips or finger smudges on the paint.  Wipe clean with a soft rag!


(post #175840, reply #18 of 27)

dang! you got to it before i did mimi- clear switchplates.
sometimes you can find them in hardware stores, sometimes you need to go to an interior design boutique or a high-end paint dealer, like pratt and lambert, etc.
easy to put wall paper inside. to paint inside with latex, sand lightly with 250 or other fine grit, paint dry thoroughly. but mimi's idea is better- paint something to fit inside it. i wouldn't bother with foamcor, i'd just paint paper and proceed as with wallpaper.
No wear and tear because the color is behind the protective clear plate.

Edited 8/19/2005 4:30 pm ET by msm

(post #175840, reply #19 of 27)

msn:  not a new idea, my grandmother did it in the sixties (1960).  Everything old is new again!


"All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

(post #175840, reply #21 of 27)

handy:  those are very pretty!  I have done something similar with ceramic switchplates with three dimensional butterflies.  I have also used unfinished wood switchplates and woodburned different nature-inspired things to go with our bedrooms.  I sealed them with polyurethane.


"Every child can learn, just not all on the same day in the same way."
"All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

(post #175840, reply #22 of 27)

Yes real nice plates! but to replace all the house plates at their prices to many $ for me . Going to a wholesaler supplier could make a lot of sense.

I just looked at some guy selling  diy plate moulds, make your own "Real Clay Switch Plates" buy a two part mould and clay,spread it out into the mould, clamp the other part of the mould shake it out & bake.  

The ceramic switchplates bought or made by yourself! . 

Edited 9/5/2005 10:41 pm ET by handy

Edited 9/5/2005 10:44 pm ET by handy

(post #175840, reply #23 of 27)

Actually, make it yourself switchplates sound like a great idea.  No one else would have the exact same thing.  Wonder if a local ceramic studio would offer the same opportunity?


"Every child can learn, just not all on the same day in the same way."
"All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

(post #175840, reply #24 of 27)

Reading about hiding switch plates reminded me of a great idea I saw in Sweden in both private homes and hotels: glow-in-the-dark wall switches

You may want to "hide" the plate while decorating, but you want to find the switch in the middle of the night. This also eliminates wall smudges from groping for it in the dark. I don't think we have anything like this here.

Does anyone have ideas about how to adapt this idea? I'm thinking the switch would need to painted with some type of glow-in-the dark paint & sealed to reduce wear.

(post #175840, reply #25 of 27)

"I don't think we have anything like this here. "

I am sitting next to an illuminated switch right now in Utah - it has a small light in it and is easily found in the dark. The switch is over 35 years old, so these little lights last a long time, and there's no concern about wearing off a surface.

(post #175840, reply #26 of 27)

Have you looked in the hobby sections of a toystore?  They sometimes sell flourescent paint for model painting.  You could paint the entire plate or just the switch itself.


"Every child can learn, just not all on the same day in the same way."
"All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

(post #175840, reply #27 of 27)

You can buy glowing switches in hardware stores.