Show Us Your Wall!

April 1, 2014

Switches and Outlets "Before" and "After" on Design Mom

Images and text by Gabrielle. This post is brought to you by the Adorne line by Legrand. Win $500 in in Adorne products in the Show Us Your Wall Giveaway!

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Today I’ve got a before-and-after reveal to share with you. It features something I hadn’t really given much thought to until we started getting heavy into renovations. The topic? Light switches and outlets!

Prior to these renovations, my knowledge of outlets was that A) you could pick between white and that sort-of 80′s creamy color, or B) if you’re really fancy, you might wallpaper or paint or otherwise customize your switchplate to help it blend into the wall. When I actually saw the available options these days, it was one of those we’ve-come-a-long-way-baby moments!

Switches and Outlets "Before" and "After" on Design Mom

Friends, this might be old news to you, but there are outlets that are USB ports instead of plugs. You can get switches that have nightlights that pop out so you can carry them down the hall with you. There are outlets that disappear into the wall, and then POOF! provide 3 spots for plugs at the push of a button. You can choose wallplates in every color under the sun, and in really gorgeous natural materials like walnut, and bronze and mirror. The options are remarkable!

Switches and Outlets "Before" and "After" on Design Mom

Essentially, what I deduced is that for the last century, we’ve sort of ignored wall plates and switches — blending them into the room, trying to strategically hide them or make them as un-noticeable as possible. But there seems to be a realization that outlets and electricity are indeed here to stay. : ) So instead of ignoring them, builders, architects and designers have embraced them, and are now making them a key part of the room decor in the same way they might consider the light fixture itself. Outlets and switches can now add to the style of the room instead of detract from it.

I love the new trend!

Switches and Outlets "Before" and "After" on Design Mom Switches and Outlets "Before" and "After" on Design Mom

As we’ve redone our living room from top to bottom, we put careful consideration into the switches and outlets. The house is mid-century modern at heart, but has been added to and remodeled enough times over the decades that we could see as soon as we moved in that it wasn’t a candidate for a pristine mid-century restoration. Instead, we’ve been taking cues from the forest that surrounds the house, and have aimed for a clean modern/transitional look with lots of natural materials.

Switches and Outlets "Before" and "After" on Design Mom Switches and Outlets "Before" and "After" on Design Mom Switches and Outlets "Before" and "After" on Design Mom

When we started the remodel, I assumed we would use plain white outlets and blend them into the white walls (Origami White from Sherwin-Williams, by the way). But once I understood our options, I went back and forth between a wood finish and the stainless steel. As you can see, the stainless steel won out!

I love how the new outlets and switches elevate the room in general and take the details up a notch. Such a small thing, with such big impact!

But they’re not just handsome, they’re practical too. In fact, the thing I probably love most about our new switches is that I strategically added built-in nightlights on key light switches throughout the room. The nightlights automatically go on if the room gets sufficiently dark, and then turn off automatically as the room gets light.

Switches and Outlets "Before" and "After" on Design Mom

We have one as you come in the front door, so you can instantly locate the light switch even on the darkest night. There’s one across the room, one near the kitchen sink (for midnight snack runs), and one by the stair case. The lights are tiny, but in the middle of the night, they provide just the right amount of light to navigate the room. Of course, they also make it really easy to find the light switch when I need full light instead of the nightlight!

I found out about the nightlight options when I watched this video, and the switch options when I watched this video. And you have to see the pop-out outlet video. It made my jaw drop. Hah!

Okay, Friends. Would you like to makeover your own walls with new outlets and switches? Here’s your chance. Go here to enter a giveaway for $500 in beautiful Adorne products!! Just think of how much fun you’ll have choosing wall plates and accessories. Good luck!

Now, I’d love to hear what you think of the before and after. Do switches and outlets that stand out appeal to you? Or do you prefer to keep them discreet? And have you ever really given much thought to outlets and switches? (I sure hadn’t!) I hope you share your thoughts.

P.S. — Ready for the “before” shots? Here you go:

Switches and Outlets "Before" and "After" on Design Mom Switches and Outlets "Before" and "After" on Design Mom Switches and Outlets "Before" and "After" on Design Mom

And one more “after” shot:

Switches and Outlets "Before" and "After" on Design Mom

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{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Margo, Thrift at Home April 1, 2014 at 11:11 am

Love your switches! My husband is an architect, so I know about some of these switches, but your nightlight switches are so clever.

We have stainless steel switchplates and lots of those wide switches – so much easier to bump on and off with a shoulder as I walk into a room with my hands full.

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2 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 11:26 am

An architect husband? I hear that and I instantly picture your house like it’s a Frank Lloyd Wright creation. : )

I honestly felt like a bit of a dunce when I realized all the options that are out there. I really had no idea.

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3 Amy3 April 1, 2014 at 11:20 am

I love those! Wow, I had no idea!

I’m going to keep this in mind when we redo the electrical in our apartment (a sorely needed and terribly overdue project; we’re still on fuses!).

As a kid I used to go through my house from the family room to my bedroom turning on lights all the way. Wouldn’t that pop-out nightlight have been a boon for me?

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4 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 11:28 am

The pop-out nightlight is genius!

And cheers on getting your electrical work done. I have to say, I considered electrical upgrades one of those not-sexy projects that are expensive but not fun to show off, but these new wall plates and switches have me changing my tune. : )

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5 Sally April 1, 2014 at 11:40 am

I’ve always hated the white plates and thing that these are gorgeous, but all I can think about are the finger prints and smudges so common on stainless steel things. Is that a problem? I’m a little OCD when it comes to that kind of thing so I wonder if it would bug me.

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6 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 11:41 am

I thought the same thing! But luckily, they half some sort of finish that keeps the fingerprints away. So it hasn’t been an issue. But if it’s a worry, you could always go with wood or brass or even a pattern!

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7 Sally April 1, 2014 at 11:42 am

That would be ‘think’ not thing

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8 Lindsay April 1, 2014 at 11:45 am

So unique! I’m a sucker for little details like that. I also adore your statement artwork. It reminds me of Picasso’s line drawings. Can you share the source?

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9 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 12:25 pm

I ordered it from Art.com, but can’t remember the name at the moment. Let me do a search and see if I can find it.

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10 Kelly April 1, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Could you also include the dimensions of the print, frame and thickness of the matte, please? Everything about it is beautiful:)

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11 Design Mom April 2, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Okay. The good news is: the name has been located thanks to Liz who commented below. It’s Fleur by Henri Matisse. I knew it was a Matisse (and the signature is a giveaway even if I didn’t), but I could not remember the name of it to save my life. Hah!

The bad news: Art.com no longer seems to list it on their site. So I’m looking for another source.

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12 Brimful April 1, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Wow, I had no idea there were so many options…the improvements look marvelous :). If and when we ever own our own home one day, I’m going to have to remember the nightlight feature…that’s brilliant. Until then, it’s plain plastic light switch covers via military housing :).

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13 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Thank you for the kind words! Glad you like the improvements. Though I’ve never lived in military housing, I have lived in many, many rentals and know the feeling of not being able to customize the house as I’d like. The upside is having landlords who are responsible for repairs! : )

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14 Renee April 1, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Beautiful! We have that Wes Anderson book, btw. So great! I’d love to know where you got the paper lanterns. Are they real lights or solely decorative.
What a happy little corner of your house — thanks for sharing.

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15 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 2:33 pm

The lanterns came from Serena & Lily and EQ3. And they are lights! They come with a plug in cord. I’m kind of obsessed with them.

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16 Nora B April 2, 2014 at 9:49 am

I love them too! They’d be perfect for our window corner in our LR. How do you hide the plugs?

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17 sandra April 1, 2014 at 12:41 pm

My daughter (21)…. home from college heard me talking about the switch cover next to our front door. (Outdated little “hand painted cover that has been with us for sooooo many years! The only one that is different in our home. I mentioned that I would be replacing it and she said – Nooooo! We can’t then it wouldn’t be home. :) Must show her all these wonderful options! Happy Tuesday.

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18 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 2:34 pm

So sweet. If you replace it, you’ll have to save the original in case she wants to use it in her own future home. : )

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19 mom in mendon April 1, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Welcome changes!

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20 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Thanks, Mom!

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21 Robin April 1, 2014 at 1:12 pm

LOVE these! Your house looks gorgeous! I’m keeping this idea in mind…

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22 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Thanks, Robin. I’m so pleased with the progress! I’m sharing the full living room later this month when I host a giant Joss & Main sale. Working on the finishing touches this week and shooting photos next week. So excited!

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23 rose | rockrosewine April 2, 2014 at 2:35 am

The sneak peaks are beautiful. Can’t wait to see the rest!

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24 Sally from Little Hiccups April 1, 2014 at 1:41 pm

When we renovated our house in Australia there were so many options to choose from when it came to light switch and outlet covers. I chose stainless steel for everything for a fresh modern look. It was one of those little touches that really helped to finish off the renovation project and make the house look “done”.
On a side note, we call outlets “power points” in Australia but no one seems to know what I’m talking when I use that name here in California. Kind of like when people look at me strangely when I use the word “tap” instead of the American “faucet”. It’s funny how little things like these have such different names depending on where you are.

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25 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Thumbs up for stainless steel!

And I love learning out different terms used in various English-speaking countries. I find it endlessly interesting and entertaining.

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26 Kate April 1, 2014 at 1:49 pm

These new options are spectacular! We recently moved into a trailer and most of the outlets are the almond color with bright white plates. In the hallway, there are five switches in a row, again almond switches with white covers. Let’s just say that aesthetics were not high on the list during the design process or any subsequent renovation! I’d have the hubby replace all the receptacles and switches with white ones, but that is pretty low on the list of home improvement priorities. Maybe if we got some super cool ones, he might be more inclined. Or perhaps I should get over my fear of electricity and tackle that project myself!

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27 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm

I say go for it! Switching out lights and outlets feels intimidating, but it’s actually considered one of the most straightforward DIY projects out there. I know Legrand has helpful how-to installation videos (and I’m sure you can find a million on youtube), and you can even call their hotline if you run into a problem!

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28 Ceci Bean April 1, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Those things are not inexpensive, but they sure do make the room look polished! I didn’t know I could have outlet envy.

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29 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 2:40 pm

I hear you. As I was choosing options, I kept thinking that if we were building from scratch, and the cost of the outlets was added in with everything else, I might not notice. : )

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30 alison April 1, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Thanks for sharing. I love the look thats coming along in the house.

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31 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Thanks, Alison! It so fun for me to look at the original photos of the house and see the progress we’ve made.

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32 Danielle April 1, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Love your new outlet covers and switchplates! My Mom had been a big fan of the 1970s Early American (Colonial) style, so all the covers in house I grew up in were black iron-work (I’m not even sure if that’s a word) – or ceramic.

My husband and I are slowly switching out the ones in our 1950s colonial (tho not Early American in style!) to brushed nickel. We feel it adds a finishing touch to all the rooms, even if we’re the only ones that notice!

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33 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 2:41 pm

I love little details like that! I feel like the up the quality of the house overall.

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34 Azra April 1, 2014 at 2:37 pm

I haven’t had any idea that the switches could be so interesting.
The video is pretty cool and I have to admit I am hooked.
Your walls look great and your home looks lovely from what I can see.

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35 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Thank you, Azra.

I’m the same as you! I had no idea, and then I started watching their cute videos and my imagination started sparking.

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36 Barbara April 1, 2014 at 2:46 pm

I love the way they look! I don’t think I’ve ever lived in house that had outlets in any other color than boring white. It just proves that it’s the little details that make a huge difference!

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37 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 4:36 pm

So true about the details.

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38 Janay April 1, 2014 at 2:48 pm

I never knew they could look so sleek! Your switches and outlets look lovely!

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39 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Thanks, Janay!

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40 LP April 1, 2014 at 3:08 pm

GORGEOUS! I was a dunce about these, too! Not now, Gabbie Blair + Adorne!

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41 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 4:37 pm

: )

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42 Jeannine April 1, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Completely learned something new today and will never look at my old switch plates the same way. In fact, they’re on their way out the door.

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43 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 4:37 pm

It’s fun to learn about new options!

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44 Tracey Paulson April 1, 2014 at 3:42 pm

thank you so much for posting this….I LOVE these outlets! unrelated, could you please,please tell me what that print is called framed above the chair? where can i purchase it? I have been looking and searching for that – it’s beautiful! thank you so much

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45 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Another reader is curious as well, so I’m trying to track it down. I ordered it (and had it framed) from Art.com, but I’m not seeing it on their site. I just contacted them to see if they can help me identify it.

I’ll make an update if I get any news.

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46 Shane D April 1, 2014 at 4:22 pm

I hadn’t really put a whole lot of thought into switches until we moved into a new house with very nice dimmer switches. They are still white, and lack a nightlight, but it’s the littlest things that make a remodel really pop!

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47 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Dimmers always feel so special.

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48 Sarah April 1, 2014 at 4:28 pm

I can’t wait to see a full tour of your house…I love the artwork, floors – and the outlets work perfectly with this look. You have great taste!

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49 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 4:33 pm

I’ll be delighted to share it. It’s a slow process for us. One room at a time. But we’re getting there!

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50 Deidra April 1, 2014 at 5:46 pm

I’m a little bit obsessed with electrical upgrades. For Christmas I requested an automated light switch that turns on our outside light 10 minutes after sunset (and adjusts itself for daylight savings and knows our GPS coordinates so it keeps up) and then turns off promptly at 11. I love automating our house and those little touches go a long way. My husband still thinks I’m strange for being giddy about such odd things!

Now if only we had more than a year left in our grad-student starter home. It just doesn’t seem worth all the fancy upgrades my heart desires now. The next house will be so fun to upgrade!

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51 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 11:39 pm

Talk about high-tech! You sound like an expert.

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52 amy April 1, 2014 at 6:01 pm

I did not even know that we needed these until right this minutes. Now I am looking around my beautiful 1942 living room and the outlets and switch covers are obviously, glaringly ugly. I would love to win!

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53 emily April 1, 2014 at 6:10 pm

gorgeous updates! I love attention paid to small details. also, really loving the contrast of the black frame with the white walls and artwork. gorgeous!

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54 Rebecca April 1, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Wow! The really make your home look fresh and modern. Love it.

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55 Elizabeth C. April 1, 2014 at 7:03 pm

Love how you have redone your home. I never realized the options for switches! Did you use the same wall color for trim and ceiling as well?

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56 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 11:38 pm

I did! The same throughout. Origami White from Sherwin-Williams. It’s their Harmony line in semi-gloss.

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57 Megan M. April 1, 2014 at 7:05 pm

Wow! I’d seen the USB outlets floating around Pinterest but I always sort of thought of them as unattainable? Like normal, average people wouldn’t have them? I had no idea there were so many cool options now!

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58 Jen April 1, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Can you tell me about your couch?

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59 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 11:37 pm

It’s a great couch! We bought when we lived in Colorado. It’s leather and we found it at Macy’s.

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60 Nicole April 1, 2014 at 7:49 pm

I knew about the USB ports, but was amazed when we recently went shopping for a new dimmer switch. So may fun choices! I just wish it were easier to choose one that worked in our 1930s house.

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61 Karin Sweeney April 1, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Totally off the topic of walls… I love your floors! Do you mind telling me what kind of wood and stain you used?

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62 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 11:35 pm

I’m in love with these floors! You can read all about our redo, and what we did to get them looking like this here.

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63 Christine Enyart-Elfers April 1, 2014 at 10:30 pm

You must have been reading my mind last week. I spent athe better part of an hour at a big box hardware store looking at light switch plates & dimmers. I thought I was ready to make my purchase. You’ve given me more food for thought. Question… Are they easy to install or do you need to hire an electrician?

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64 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Because we have an old house, we did get help from an electrician — we were having some other electrical work done and added this on to the list. But from what I understand, they are actually quite straightforward. In fact, another blogger who participated in this same #showusyourwall campaign wanted to make sure she could do it herself, so she did. You can read about her experience here.

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65 Camille April 1, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Great post as always. Your living room looks stunning. Could we see more photos or are you waiting for the entire house to b finished to disclose it all??
Funny that you mentioned the switch as I came across (sorry I can’t remember where it was originally mentioned) this project of night lights which I really love. So ingenious.
Unfortunately we live in the UK so it won’t work for us, but could b an option for other parts of your house ;-)
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/snappower/the-snaprays-guidelight-illuminate-your-life?utm_source=swissmiss&utm_campaign=6311df856f-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2660ad4d17-6311df856f-330112282
All the best
Camille

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66 Design Mom April 1, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Thanks, Camille! I’ll be sharing a photo tour of the whole room later this month. I’m finishing up the details now, and will have it photographed next Wednesday. Very exciting!

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67 Kim April 1, 2014 at 11:22 pm

I have an electrician husband, so fancy light switches and powerpoints are just our type of thing! ;) ;)

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68 Elizabeth April 2, 2014 at 1:14 am

That artwork is AMAZING – I know a couple of other readers have asked, but I’d love the details if you manage to find them :) And then I’ll hold thumbs that I can get it shipped to South Africa! xoxo

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69 Design Mom April 2, 2014 at 2:08 pm

We’ve located the name! It’s by Henri Matisse and is called Fleur. But I can’t seem to find it for sale anywhere. Still looking. I haven’t given up yet.

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70 Jody April 2, 2014 at 7:10 am

Seriously one of my guilty pleasures is slowly buying switchplates for my rental. It changes EVERYTHING. It makes every room feel custom and elevated.

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71 Polly April 2, 2014 at 7:40 am

When I watched the outlet video, my jaw dropped too! Hoping to be building in the near future, I’m so enjoying all of your thoughts and reveals! The nightlights, so brilliant. I’m not sure I would go for the portable flashlight though, I can just imagine it getting flushed…

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72 Design Mom April 2, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Hah! I can totally picture the portable flashlight getting lost at our house too. Maybe it comes with a backup?

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73 Allison April 2, 2014 at 7:59 am

OBSESSED!

We are in the middle of decorating our boys shared room (18 months old and 3 years old)… I believe we HAVE to have the wave switch and a bright wall plate. The tamper resistant outlets are something that was on my must list for this room also- and i think I just found the perfect ones.

Thanks for always steering me towards the perfect products!

-Allison

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74 Sheri April 2, 2014 at 8:31 am

Wow – I had no idea! How COOL!

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75 Jessica @ Little Nesting Doll April 2, 2014 at 8:39 am

I’m actually amazed at what a difference it made in your house! I would never have thought about it. Ad the nightlight idea is just genius, as is the USB option. I also like how your sockets are offset so you can plug in two things even if the actual plugs are bulky. Now I am looking at my outlets and switches and thinking we need to upgrade…add it to the list!

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76 Alicia April 2, 2014 at 10:48 am

Wow! I love the new look. And those pop out outlets are awesome. Great find!

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77 Design Mom April 2, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Aren’t they genius?! I should note: they require a really deep electrical box. In our old house, the boxes were too shallow, but if you have newer construction, or don’t mind replacing your electrical boxes, then the pop-out outlets are a wonderful option!

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78 abbeyviolet April 2, 2014 at 10:49 am

We have been redoing our spaces lately and hand’t even considered the outlets. What fun!

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79 Erin April 2, 2014 at 11:17 am

LOVE these! I just redid our Florida bathroom into an elegant be achy theme with mellow blue walls and lot of cream accents. I hate the light switches! When you sit on the toilet you stare at the one right in front of you and it takes the whole decor I planned so well down a notch. It did not even occur to me that there might be a solution beyond the standard color options. THANK YOU!!

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80 Design Mom April 2, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Yay! So glad I could help.

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81 Ursula April 2, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Holy smokes — Those are so cool ! Who knew? Not me.
I think what you chose looks really great, and that nightlight is right up my alley. Thanks so much for sharing — we’re about to start a serious reno in our house and will soon have to make these sorts of choices. Never thought I would get excited about outlets/switches — but now I am!
Also glad to see in comment stream that you’ll be sharing the whole room in the future — what we can see here looks really nice. Looking forward to seeing more.

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82 Liz April 2, 2014 at 12:19 pm

I knew there were options out there but seeing them installed I am very impressed!

I know some of the comments have asked about the art print, it is La Fleur by Henri Matisse, hope that helps :)

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83 Design Mom April 2, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Thank you so much! I knew it was by Matisse, but I could not remember the name for the life of me. Hah! It seems to no longer be available at Art.com, so I’m looking for another post.

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84 Tracey Paulson April 3, 2014 at 12:28 pm

thank you liz and design mom for the info about the print!

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85 mamalang April 2, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Ours are a slight improvement, in that they are the rocker switches, and the switch itself has a night light option behind it. It makes it easier to find in the dark, but not enough to actually see.

When we lived in new base housing, they had a mandate that you could turn on a light immediately upon entering a room. So rooms that had more than one doorway had more than one switch. There were a crazy amount on a few walls, but it was actually useful. I miss that now.

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86 Lisa April 2, 2014 at 6:38 pm

I replaced a broken outlet with an Adorne outlet in our living room and love it. I haven’t been able to prioritize replacing the others yet but would love to. Thanks for the inspiration!

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87 Karen April 3, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Thank you so much for introducing me to these things. We are remodeling two bedrooms, and I decided to switch out all the outlets for the Adorne ones, they are so beautiful. We have them on order, and I look forward to installing them myself. Eventually, I hope to switch out all the switches and plugs in the entire house.

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88 Tamsin April 3, 2014 at 8:37 pm

This feels like one of those things that I’ve been looking for without even knowing it. Where have they been all my life?!?

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