Burning Question: Standing Outlet?

Faithful reader Cheryl recently suggested this burning question for all of you to weigh in on: how do you deal with your outlet covers? Do you paint them to match your walls? Attempt to obscure them with furniture and accessories? Or live with them as they are? Many designers refer to them as “wall warts” or “wall acne,” but just how far are you willing to go to minimize an obvious outlet in your home?



  1. Nicole Greene says

    They are accessories to the home, just like earrings and necklaces are to a sweater ~ you need to accessorize them with cute, stylish, and fun covers. How will you reach them if they are covered up?

  2. Sarah says

    We have updated ours so that they all look newy-newerson…bright white and modern. But it never would have occurred to me to hide them. We live in a real house, not on a movie set. We need outlets. It’s a fact of life. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

  3. Peachy says

    Pet peeve: painted outlet/switch covers. Horrible!

    When we bought our house, each cover was different. We went room by room and changed them all to standard white. So fresh and clean.

  4. says

    I like nice updated covers. You can find them anywhere now and they don’t cost much. I agree, don’t hide them! You have to use them and you place a piece of furniture in front of them just to do so, it will probably look strange and pointless.
    Every house has them, we all use them, so just accept that they are there.

  5. sarah says

    when we moved in ours had all been painted over several times, and it just looked BAD. We replaced every last one with a new cover and they all looked so much more fresh and clean and updated!!
    we have a 1950’s house though and there were actually two that we had to strip and repaint (spraypainted so it looked nice) because of the vintage shape/design. You just can’t buy it anymore! I had thrown them out and when we realized they were one-of-a-kinds, we had to dig them out.. not fun!

  6. SSM says

    My only thing is the lovely almond/biscuit colored ones that scream 1980s, that currently are all in our house. I prefer a bright white outlet and cover. Not painted, not wallpapered, not metal, not fancy, etc.

  7. says

    I like white covers, and white decora style outlets. I have a thing against the old style outlets with two circular pieces…

    And painted covers irk me too.

  8. says

    We just leave them crisp and white, and the few times the covers have broken (i.e. love DH but he can be an idiot sometimes) I am quick to replace them. To me outlets are like toilets: everyone has them and they are necessary so no need to cover them up.

    Though I must confess, for the soon-to-be-baby we did get a cute switchplate. :)

  9. says

    Painted outlet covers look awful. Leave them white and if they aren’t white replace them, it only takes a few bucks to do the whole house. Also, don’t put white with almond colored outlets.

  10. says

    I like bright white covers… and bright white outlets (same for light switched). My husband and I are gradually replacing the mis-matched (different sizes, varieties of almond colors, shapes) with bright white ones. This matches our goal to paint all of our trim white :-)

  11. says

    When my husband painted my office for me..he lacquered light switch..I didnt think to have him do the outlets to be honest. BUt the light switch I just love..its SHINNNNNNY and smoooooth..and looks great.

  12. says

    Timely question–I want to replace the grungey cream-colored outlet covers but the outlets and switches themselves are also grungey and cream colored! How hard is it to replace the outlets themselves and should I bother?

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Marianne,

      Replacing the actual outlets is no sweat. Just turn off the power to the whole house (none of that room-by-room nonsense, it’s a surefire way to get zapped) and match the new outlet wires to the same places that the old outlet wires were connected. Easy peasy, and it definitely beats adding new outlet covers without replacing the dingy yellowed outlets behind them which can look even worse by comparison!


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