They may be small, inexpensive, and easy to replace, but that doesn’t mean that we need to throw them out every time we remodel a room!
Light switch covers and outlet plates probably aren’t the first–or tenth!–thing that you think of when you contemplate your next big room makeover. But they are one of the million little choices that can make a big impact on not just your room’s overall look, but the eco-friendly (or not!) path that you took to get there.
When considering the global waste stream, the most eco-friendly choice will almost always be to keep what you already own… even if that thing is made from plastic, and even if it doesn’t match anything in your newly-remodeled room. To that end, here are my favorite ways to refashion light switch plates and outlet covers. With these tutorials, you can make your existing light switch plates and outlet covers look like high-end upgrades, or you can just make them complement your room’s overall look. You can make them into statement pieces, or make them blend in with the wall. It’s your choice!
NOTE: While redoing your outlet covers isn’t a problem, please do not DIY any kind of makeover to the outlets themselves. Friends, that’s where the electricity lives! It isn’t safe to play around with where the electricity is, and it might violate your area’s fire code.
Additionally, please do not DIY a switch plate or outlet cover from scratch. Outlet covers and switch plates are made of specific materials for a reason, so it’s best for your makeovers to be on top of these, not instead of them.
paper-covered. This is a great way to blend an outlet cover in with the wall, especially if the wall is covered in wallpaper.
alcohol inked. If you have white outlet covers, here’s a terrific way to embellish them. You do need to be careful about what sealant you put on top of alcohol ink, however, as many sealants will cause alcohol ink to bleed or dull its colors.
painted. You can mimic almost any look you want with the right paint. Or keep it simple by using your wall paint color to make switch plates and outlets fade into the background.
painted with acrylics. Want your outlet cover to be a work of pure artistry? Acrylic paints allow you to be as detailed as you like!
Makeovers with Fun Themes
theme it! There are so many fun ways to use paper decoupage to makeover a light switch plate, especially to fit a particular theme. I LOVE this Harry Potter-themed light switch plate, in particular–it’s so clever!
steampunk it! This tutorial requires a pretty advanced skill set, but you could mimic the look with spray paint and hot glue.
dollhouse doors. I love the idea of turning an outlet into the entrance to a magical wonderland. It’s probably not a great idea to make an outlet look even more tempting than it already does to a kid, but this would be a super fun novelty for a room in an adults-only house.
washi tape. Washi tape isn’t usually archival, but it IS easily removable! That makes it a great choice for a kid’s bedroom or a room decorated in a theme that’s likely to change a few times over the years.
Sharpies. Let a kid design their own perfect light switch plate. All they need are Sharpies! When you’re ready to redecorate, you can remove Sharpie ink with rubbing alcohol for a new look, or cover the existing Sharpie-decorated plate with paper, fabric, or washi tape.
toy. How fun would it be to turn your bedroom light on via a toy car or dinosaur?!?
Makeovers that Make Things Fancy!
fabric-covered. A fabric cover won’t blend in with the wall, but it will allow your light switch plate to pop! If you can get your hands on any luscious vintage upholstery fabric, that can make a very fun choice. Or consider a cute novelty fabric for a child’s bedroom.
glittered. All you need are Mod Podge and plenty of glitter! Because I actually did this project years ago in my kids’ bedroom, I can recommend glitter for an outlet cover but not a light switch plate–or at least not a light switch plate that gets a ton of use. It’s hard to spray clean and the glitter will eventually rub away around the switch.
mosaic. My favorite light switch plate is a mosaic piece done with rocks, beads, and glass. You can make a mosaic directly on a light switch plate or outlet cover exactly as you would on any other base.
gold leaf. While it’s quite a bit fancier than your average switch plate, it’s also probably suited only for a little-used light switch.
Do you have some pretty great DIY light switch plates or outlet covers in your home? Tell me about them in the Comments below!