If you’re like most homeowners, you have plans to improve the look of your home, but don’t have the necessary funds to do everything you want in one fell swoop. The answer is simple. Break your renovation down into workable pieces, and tackle one project and one room at a time. Start with something small and affordable, like changing out your switch plates and electrical outlets from the builder-grade plastic units to something more elegant and stylish. There’s no need for them to be strictly utilitarian any longer. You can elevate your room’s look by replacing them with something that will complement your decor. And best of all, there’s no need to hire a handyman or electrician to replace them. All you need is a screwdriver and about an hour of your time to switch out wall plates.

Steps to Take

  • Begin by picking up some home decor magazines and pay attention to the wall plates in the pictures. They should never be the focal point of the room, but they also should never detract from it. Browse various websites that offer switch and wall plates for sale and start to narrow down your choices.
  • Keep in mind that, although you’re taking care of one room at a time, the overall look should be cohesive. Take cues from the style of the house when narrowing your style selections. A modern home needs a contemporary look, with clean edges and finishes, while a more traditional home can support something more fancy.
  • Select your material. The most popular are copper, bronze, nickel, brass, chrome, wood, ceramic, or stone.
  • If your home is traditional, your choice of styles and finishes should be oil rubbed bronze or stamped steel with a decorative border on the plate. A more modern home will look good with a brushed or satin finish on the plate, and a sleek design.
  • Once you hone in on a design and material, it’s time to take inventory of the room, since plates come in different configurations. Write down the number of electrical plates you’ll need, and the number of switch plates. Are the switches single or have the light switches been ganged together, two or three in a row? Are the switches rocker or toggle? Write down the various configurations and the number needed for each.
  • Add in any extras you’ll need, such as child safety products or dimmer switches.
  • Place your order from a company that has a good return policy, in case there is damage during shipment.

That’s all there is to it. When your order arrives, you’ll need a screwdriver and a bit of time to create a more polished look for your room by changing out the wall plates.

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