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Update an Outdated Room with Electrical Wall Plates


Electrical wall plates are one of those items that you rarely consider when remodeling or doing home improvements. However, changing the color or style of electrical wall plates can give a room a whole new look. For example, switching out faded plastic kitchen wall plates with stainless steel plates or with plates of a contrasting color can give your kitchen a sleek, modern feel. Purchasing new electrical wall plates is one of the most inexpensive ways to update an outdated room or to give your entire home a bit of a face-lift.

Electrical wall plates come in a variety of styles. Screwless plates have a clean, minimalist look that can give a room a high-end, luxury appearance and they come in a number of colors and finishes. Select matte or satin finished electrical wall plates to complement paint or wall treatments. Whether you select screwless electrical wall plates or the traditional type, installation is simple and requires nothing more than a screwdriver.

How to Install Electrical Wall Plates

  1. Purchase an electrical wall plate to match your décor. Measure the plate to make sure your new plate has the same dimensions as the existing one, as well as the same size and same number of cut-outs for switches or outlets.
  2. To be safe, turn off the power at the panel. Test your light switch or outlet to be sure the power is off.
  3. Simply take your screwdriver and remove the existing screws one at a time. Put the new plate in place and use the screws you removed to secure the new plate.

How to Install Screwless Electrical Wall Plates

Screwless electrical wall plates eliminate the two or four screws seen on the traditional wall plate, giving it a sleek, clean look. The screwless plate achieves this look with hidden plastic sub plates that act as a mounting bracket. The plastic sub plates require nothing more than a flat-head screwdriver to install.

  1. Purchase a screwless electrical wall plate to match your décor. Measure the existing plate to make sure your new plate has the same dimensions as the old one, as well as the same size and same number of cut-outs for switches or outlets.
  2. To be safe, turn off the power at the main panel. Flip the circuit to the OFF position. Test your light switch or outlet to be certain the power is off.
  3. Unscrew the existing wall plate and remove it from the wall.
  4. Locate the mounting screws that hold the switch in the electrical box. Back the screws out about a half an inch.
  5. Slide the top and bottom sub plates behind the mounting screws, and push the plates together until they snap in place.
  6. Make sure the mounting strap holes line up with the guideposts on the plastic sub plate, and then tighten the mounting screws.
  7. Locate the up arrow on the back of the cover plate.
  8. Be sure the arrow is facing up, and snap the cover plate into place.
  9. To remove the plate, insert a flat-head screwdriver into one of the two slots at the bottom of the switch plate and slightly rotate it. Repeat for the second slot, and unsnap the cover.

Changing electrical wall plates is one of the simplest home improvement projects, and perhaps one of the most overlooked projects when planning to paint, repaper or remodel. Interior decorators know that it’s the small details that give a room that finished look. With so many different styles, finishes, and colors to choose from, shopping for electrical wall plates can be fun, and it’s a great way to update an outdated room for a really low price.