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  • Jess Harrell

The Best Ways to Upgrade Your Light Switches (And Outlets & Vents!)

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: light switches, outlets, and vents. They are generally not pretty to look at. They stick out like a sore thumb taking away from the beauty of the rest of the space. In some cases, they're cleverly hidden during construction or renovation. They are moved to the floor, hidden in a drawer, or tucked under the kitchen cabinets. When that’s not doable, furniture or art placement can keep them out of sight. But sometimes, none of those things are an option, and the offensive light switch or outlet is right there taunting you, saying, “Look how ugly I am! You can’t do anything about it!” But hold up because that’s just not true. Let’s take a look at some options for upgrading and disguising your light switches, outlets, and vents...

One way to make peace with your covers or vents is to make them blend completely into the background by covering them with the same wallpaper or paint color used on the surrounding wall.

design and photo by Segreto Finishes

This is a great before and after. The vent cover on the left was HAND-PAINTED to match the rest of the wall. How incredible is that? It went from eyesore to barely noticeable. Some serious time and skill went into this transformation. Disguising the vent cover with paint requires much less skill and time if you're matching a painted wall with no design. It's the easiest and most cost-effective way to make them blend in.

light switch disguised and hidden with wallpaper

design and photo by Leo Designs

This example leaves me pretty much speechless. The switch plate blends seamlessly into that amazing textured wallpaper. And the brass push buttons definitely elevate the look. If you're experienced with wallpaper, this would be an easy and affordable option. If you prefer to leave the wallpaper installation to the professionals (like me), obviously, the cost to achieve this look increases.

Another way to stop hating on your covers or vents is to make them special enough that they warrant attention. They scream, "Look at me!" and it's a good thing!

stylish lucite and brass light switch cover on wall with colorful wallpaper

design and photo by J.P. Horton

See what I'm talking about?! If I had a switch plate as gorgeous as that lucite and brass one above, you better believe I'd be showing it off. To EVERYONE. "Excuse me, pizza delivery person, have I shown you my switch plate?" "Hi there, FedEx person! Would you like to see my beautiful switch plate?"

vintage brass outlet cover and wall vent in historic home

design and photo by Victorian Dream Home

There are plenty of beautiful options at places like Anthropologie, CB2, and Rejuvenation, to name a few, but let's not forget about vintage. A quick search on Etsy showed pages and pages of vintage covers and vents in different styles. And if your home is older, it's a great way to honor the style and history. In the photo above, the homeowners found a vintage wall register to use in their Victorian-style home. Much better than a basic white cover, don't you think?

outlet cover makeover before and after in modern kitchen

design and photo by The Francis House

Just look at how sad the "before" outlet cover looks in the middle of that beautiful marble backsplash. Once replaced with a pretty brass cover, it becomes intentional and stylish. It deserves to be in the mix with that stunning marble.

Which option do you like best? Disguising cover plates and vents with paint or wallpaper or making them worthy of showing off?


Hi there!

I'm Jess Harrell, interior designer and founder of The Styled Domicile. I've got a thing for eating ice-cream straight out of the pint (Netflix and Chill or The Tonight Dough, please), embarrassing my kids (trust me, they love it), and making homes and the people that live in them happier. I'm all about celebrating what makes you different and throwing ordinary out the window.

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