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Design

The Most Affordable Hack To Make Your Outlet Covers Look Good

Last weekend I finally got to see my friend’s new house. I say finally because they’ve been basically bringing it back to life for the past four months. I’m real sorry I don’t have pictures (maybe a future collaboration will make that possible!) but trust me it’s BEAUTIFUL. It’s an English Country manor style home so it’s got a ton of charm. But from the before photos they showed me, there was just a lot of shiny orange woods, undesirable wallpapers, banisters painted one too many times, and hardware that had seen better days, etc. Now? Well, now it’s perfect. They refinished the original floors and arched front door so they are a beautiful light, matte oak (? I need to confirm that), painted all the walls and trim a perfect calming white, did a minor but transformative bathroom facelift (I really want to shoot that for you:)), and took literally every piece of small hardware and got them repainted a matte black. It makes everything look so clean and fresh but still keeps that warm soulful vintage feel. They’ve done more upgrades but with no pictures to drool over let’s get to the whole point of this post… the outlet covers.

Needless to say, this renovation has been umm, not cheap. So finding easy ways to save even a little bit of money has been the goal. My friend told me that she learned a cool trick from the one and only Jessica Helgerson about making outlets look like they belong in an older home. Are you ready? Just paint them the same color as the wall.

This might be a real “duh, Jess” to a lot of you but I have either just got the plastic covers and not painted them or dreamt of one day getting beautiful brass or matte black outlet covers. So let’s start there…

photo by tessa neustadt | from: griffith park living room reveal

Like I said, I have dreamt of having my home be so custom-designed that even the outlets are a beautiful moment. But having a contrasting colored outlet cover does draw attention which may or may not be your goal. They also aren’t a cheap accessory if you need a lot of them. If that’s the case you also don’t have to have all of your outlet covers match! Choose the fancy covers for the ones you really see (like the one above) and then go for the affordable plastic ones for the ones that are more hidden. HOWEVER, don’t just leave them plastic and naked…

photo by tessa neustadt | from: staging my dream parisianchotel suite with sothebys

Paint them the same color as the wall or trim they are on! It’s so easy, makes them look more camouflaged yet intentional, and ideal for an older, vintage-style home. My friends ended up doing it themselves (or one of them did it himself:)) because the painters basically said no. Cool cool. When I asked them how he painted them this is what they said: “We bought a paint sprayer but it looks kinda uneven and too textured. We want to take the paint to a place that will make an aerosol can.” Simple and cheaper than the statement covers but nicer than a naked plastic one! FYI I thought they looked great but I can 100% understand the desire for everything to look exactly you want. These are my people:)

So if you live in an older home and don’t love the look of a plastic outlet cover, grab your wall or trim paint, get it made into a spray can, and have a fun little DIY afternoon. I wish I would have done this in my old place but o well, guess I’ll have to work this outlet magic in my new one:) Thanks to Jessica Helgerson and my friends!

Love you, mean it.

Opening Image Credits: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: Jess’ MOTO: You Have To See How She Hacked Her Rental Kitchen With DIYs

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Liz
1 month ago

Yes!! I’ve been doing this in my new (old) home and it works great. I wrote a blog post about the process this summer, if anyone would like to take a look! Blog psot: https://hellofromliz.com/paint-your-outlet-plates/.

1 month ago
Reply to  Liz

Hi Liz, I’m popping in to say I loved your sustainable gift guide post! So informative + useful without being judgemental!
https://hellofromliz.com/gift-guide-thoughts/

Rusty
1 month ago

I just read that, thanks!
Liz, it’s brilliant! No way grinchy at all.🌏🌏🌏

Liz
1 month ago
Reply to  Rusty

You’re the best, Rusty! Thank you for reading!

Liz
1 month ago

Thank you! I appreciate that so much!

Nancy
1 month ago
Reply to  Liz

Hmm… But the white insets are catching more attention than the whole thing. So not, thanks

DeniseGK
1 month ago
Reply to  Nancy

You would usually have something plugged in to at least one outlet in a lot of cases. For the other outlet, or anywhere that you only occasionally need to plug something in, you can buy plastic safety covers for baby-proofing and then just paint those to match as well.

Caity
1 month ago
Reply to  Nancy

Hi, so you can get these covers that are paintable AND completely cover the insets. I got them for my basement bedroom that had the outlet boxes on the OUTSIDE of the wall (HORROR), and I painted it all to match the headboard. It looks amazing now. Super worth the effort. I just painted with a paintbrush and it looks fine!

Betsy
1 month ago

Yes!! Makes a huge difference. For the plastic covers, I used fine grit sand paper to lightly sand the cover before painting. Really helped with getting the paint to stick. Now if I could figure out what to do with the actual outlet. I tried this with one hidden behind my bed. I would give it a 5/10. But would say a 10/10, if you won’t actually use the outlet.

1 month ago
Reply to  Betsy

Yes! Sanding before painting is critical I think.

1 month ago

I’ve done this too! It really upgrades the look and costs very little. I just bought screw-less outlet covers (like this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002JFY136/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1) and sanded them a bit, applied a coat of primer and one or two coats of paint to match my wall color.
I even did this to match a wallpaper effect I did in my entryway. It’s one of my favorite parts of my apartment. You can kind of see it here, the light switch is to the left of the mirror just above the plant: https://www.instagram.com/p/CALyOb1ADY7/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link.

1 month ago
Reply to  Merry

Merry, I love your insta feed! Plants + cats!!

1 month ago

Thank you!! Plants and cats bring me endless joy <3

Lucy
1 month ago

In my 1905 Craftsman home, many outlets ended up going on trim that was stained. We used unfinished wooden outlet covers and stained and sealed them to match. Voila! You don’t even know they are there and it looks super high-end. Here is an example of an unfinished wood outlet cover plate.
https://www.homedepot.com/b/Electrical-Wall-Plates-Outlet-Wall-Plates/Unfinished-Wood/N-5yc1vZc6r0Z1z0u91t

Nell
1 month ago

I’ve always done this. I think it looks so much better when they blend in. But I just use a paintbrush, and it is fine (for me at least). Way better than the naked plastic.

Emma
1 month ago
Reply to  Nell

Ditto—using a paint brush works just fine. Also, a good wallpaper person will wallpaper any outlets or switch plates when they install and match the pattern.

1 month ago

I did this in my bathroom remodel last year, and even though it wasn’t part of my original plan, I ended up loving it. It added a quirky, vintage vibe, and made the outlets nearly invisible. The plan was to use white porcelain outlet covers for the outlets flanking the sink, but even though I’d bought them before, I couldn’t find any more. So I grabbed some metal ones I had in my basement, primed them, and painted them the wall color with a mini foam roller. Cheap (free), easy, and I think it’s better than if the outlets had been white porcelain.

Caity
1 month ago
Reply to  Rachel

yes, I also could not find them. Either there is a manufacturing issue or no one is making them anymore…devastating!

Meredith
1 month ago

Literally, I have been thinking about this in my house and what to do with all the white plate covers. I ordered some pretty brass ones last week for all the switch plates, and I’ll probably paint all the outlet covers to match the walls.

Cris S.
1 month ago

Do you have any suggestions for outlets over marble or marble look quartz? Ours are solid pieces we ran up the walls of the kitchen instead of tile backsplash. But the electrician (a horrible man that our GC imposed on us and who seemed to hate us and deliberately do things wrong) put the electrical outlets on the wall in the most annoying and obvious places. Other than propping decorative antique wood breadboards up to hide the cheap white outlets/covers, what is the best thing to do to either disguise them or make them look better? Brass covers? Silver? Just keep hiding them? Help!
Also – sounds like the type of house renovation we all would love to see before and after pictures of! Are your friends willing to share their house?

Kj
1 month ago
Reply to  Cris S.

Etsy has some marble outlets. Or would any of these match? https://www.americantiledepot.com/collections/wall-plate-switch-plate

Erin
1 month ago

If the actual outlets are still a different color, having contrasting color outlet covers can in some cases look even worse.

Linda Wang
1 month ago

Just did this for our powder room. We painted the walls green. White covers looked horrendous. Changing it to a metal cover still would have drawn too much attention. My mind was blown when I google searched about painting the covers. Zero additional cost. Huge difference. Makes me smile every time I see them.

Melissa
1 month ago

Ooooo! I love love love the contrast of the black outlet on the white wall! We just did some design updates in our home that included some electrical and smart upgrades (BTW, if anyone ever needs a local electrician in Boulder, CO, I highly recommend the guys I used! I can’t stop singing their praises) and I now wish I had done this when the outlet covers were off LOL
Do you worry about the paint chipping on the hardware over time??

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