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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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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:
And one more “after” shot: