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how to camouflage outlet covers with wallpaper

Up in the studio (and throughout the whole house, actually), the outlets, light switches and wall plates are almond colored. I’m assuming this almond color was the standard back in 1992 when the house was built. Not a huge deal except that they look pretty grimy next to all of the white walls.

So on our very lengthy list of house projects is the tedious task of switching out not just the plate covers, but changing the actual outlets and light switches to white throughout the house.

Up in the studio, the outlets/switches/plates are also the almond color and they really do stand out against the walls.

The light switch in the above photo is the goofiest of all because in order to trim the window, we had to notch it out to fit the plate. Since it is right at my eye-level while I’m working, it’s been one of those things that I felt motivated to find a solution to.

Replacing all of the outlets/switches/plates in the studio falls very, very low on the project-totem-pole so an in-between fix was in order.

My answer: decoupage.

I did this same project five years ago in our old house. The issue then was that I had just painted the walls a dark color and the white plates stood out too much. Covering the plates with a pretty scrapbook paper was the prefect solution.

In this case, my goal was to make the plates look meaningful (and hopefully camouflage the almond-toned outlets and switches in the meantime).

This project is truly simple, fairly fool-proof and requires only a few dollars worth of materials.

Here’s how to decoupage outlet and light switch covers:

SUPPLIES

wall plate | pretty paper | Mod Podge (in matte finish) | paintbrush | scissors

A few notes:

  • No need to buy new wall plates – just take them off your wall and reuse them.
  • I prefer matte Mod Podge for this project so that you don’t get a glossy finish.
  • As for paper, the possibilities are endless. In our last house I used thick scrapbook paper. For the studio, I’m using a sample of the most gorgeous wallpaperWhatever you choose, go for something on the thicker side to reduce the puckering that can happen with thin paper.
  • I am not decoupaging the front of the paper for these outlets, but I did in our old house. It just depends on how durable you’re wanting them to be.

Okay, let’s get to it.

STEP ONE

Cut out a piece of your selected paper approximately 1/2″ larger on all sides than your plate.

STEP TWO

Coat the front with Mod Podge, flip it over and press to the center of the paper.

STEP THREE

Cut a notch in each corner.

STEP FOUR

Brush on glue and fold around edges.

If your paper doesn’t hold down, use a small clip to keep it in place while it dries.

Once the Mod Podge is dry, remove the clips and continue on (this only takes a few minutes).

STEP FIVE

Poke a hole in the center of the opening, then make several cuts around the circle.

STEP SIX

Brush on decoupage medium to paper, fold and press firmly to hold. Again, these little clips come in handy to hold it all in place as it dries.

After a few minutes, grab your cover, screw it in place, step back and admire your work.

Now I no longer cringe at the dingy looking outlets! The paper adds a subtle visual interest that looks purposeful.

The outlets are still clearly off-white, but look less out of place with the addition of the wallpaper.

And now I don’t mind looking at that goofy light switch anymore because it is covered in my favorite paper.

#itsthelittlethings

24 thoughts on “how to camouflage outlet covers with wallpaper”

  1. i love your idea…we always just paint the outlet cover the same as our wall color. it makes those ugly outlets disappear :)

  2. I was just going to post the same comment about the covers at Home Depot. I used them in our kitchen rather than pay an electrician to change insides. My only complaint is that they don’t make them for plugs with ground fault reset buttons or for regular light switches. Just for regular two plug outlets. But for $2.50 they work just great!

    1. My hubs just taught me how to change an outlet (& switch) so I replaced all of ours last weekend. They are literally .67 at Walmart & .27 for the outlet cover. SUCH AN EASY PROJECT (once the power is disconnected). We had BROWN ones (eek) mixed w beige in some of the rooms. Needless to say- our home looks alot more modern with this simple upgrade. J

  3. It would have taken the same amount of time to just replace the whole thing. Shut off the power, match up the wires, and it’s done. Cheap, quick and easy, especially if you go room by room as needed.

  4. I also had the same problem, but the outlets didn’t bother me nearly as much as the light switch plates, which were the toggles. It got to the point where is annoyed me so much that I just had to replace them. This is a great idea that would have saved me a ton of money.
    http://chenilleandchampagne.com/

  5. Such a clever idea! I would’ve never thought of this. Glad for crafty people like you who DO think about things like this and then blog about it. :)

  6. What a creative solution to a typical problem! Great idea and looks simple enough! Thanks Emily! Keep up the great work…love seeing your imaginative fixes :-)

  7. Paint the covers the same color as the walls when painting. It doesn’t wear super long if high use but it is a great temporary solution. The outlets and switches will still need to be swapped for white but a little less distraction.

    Permanent solution which I love is purchase the clear covers and paint heavy cardstock with the wall color. Cut and insert under the clear cover, voila! Matching covers which can be switched whenever you want to change wall color.

  8. Tina @buildinghousemakinghome

    What an amazing solution, Emily! It DOES look purposeful! Another solution I thought of while I was looking at your photos would be to use rub n buff or gold paint so that it coordinated with the pulls in your office. The paper is very modern-looking, chic!

  9. Hi Emily! We just picked up a can of spray paint to “match” (as closely as possible) the wall color and sprayed the covers. With other homes, we have chosen to spray paint the switch plates white to match the trim. We have on occasion “accidentally” rolled (with a paint roller with essentially very very little paint) over the whole outlet with switch plate attached (i dare say, probably not very safe – haha!), but it produced an outlet cover and outlet that completely disappeared into the wall. And…..best part, we survived – no electric sparks or other adventures. :) It is a “tad” bit risky, not for your average diy-er…only the crazy ones! :) But….it worked….it’s one way to clean up those almond / beige electrical parts.

    I absolutely love the direction you are going with you new home and look forward to each and every new post!

  10. Love this little project! So creative and inexpensive!!
    We bought our current house about 4 years ago (it was built in 1983). All the outlets were also almond. We painted the interior of the house in various tones of grey and trim was white, the outlets looked awful. Unfortunately my husband is not handy AT ALL and we had to pay an electrician to switch out plates and the outlets and light switches, It was so expensive, around $20 per outlet. Next time, I will have him teach himself on youtube and save tons of $$.
    Love watching you transform your house into your home using your personal style!!

  11. I have also painted my outlet covers using a can of spray paint. Depending on the color/style of the room, there are so many colors and “textures” of paint that can be used. My most recent favorite that I used was Hammered Pewter, which matched the handles on the cupboards and dressers in a bedroom. Easy fix using 29-cent covers, and they now look like metal ones!

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