How to Gussy up a Light Switch Cover – DIY Home Decor Tutorial

Do people still say “gussy up”?  Well, I do. So there.

This tutorial from inspired me to tackle some of my boring old light switch covers.

Some of the light switch covers in this house were worse than boring.

Exhibit A

Look at the funk!  Let’s get out the trusty old Contact paper!

The cool part about using Contact paper is that it peels off nice and clean. So if you’re a renter and can’t paint things or do any permanent decor changes, Contact paper is the answer! When I was in college, we couldn’t paint in our dorms. We had these ugly old particle board dressers and desks, and I just covered all the drawer faces with this checkerboard Contact paper.

Funk B Gone!

It also means you can switch the pattern whenever you feel like it. 5 minutes and you’ve got a whole new light switch cover.

And one final bonus: it can be easily wiped clean (more so than fabric and paper anyway), so it’s a good choice for a kitchen or bathroom.

Tips for your Contact paper cover: trace your cover on the back of the paper and leave a 1/2″ edge for folding over the back of your switch plate.

I poked holes for the screws with a pin and then just pushed the screws through without cutting the holes out.

The checkerboard turned a little cock-eyed goes perfectly with the Alice in Wonderland theme in my office.

We're all mad here!

A pretty massive roll of Contact paper is about 5 bucks, and there are tons of patterns available. You could definitely do every light switch and outlet cover in your whole house and still have more left over to play with- line your dresser drawers with it, put it on the back wall of a bookcase, cover ugly kitchen cabinet doors….

Okay, enough about my love of Contact paper. (Though I have another cool Contact paper project coming soon.)

I couldn’t just stop there. I’m not a renter, so this time I busted out the spray paint.

Undead mermaid crossing.

The switch plate and outlet cover in the bathroom were a sore sight when we first moved in. Scratch that. The ENTIRE BATHROOM was a sore sight when we moved in. The plates were stained wood with years of crud and water stains built up.

Initially, I spray painted the plate cover an off-white semigloss, but I didn’t like the way it turned out. I was already going to paint the bathroom light fixture (more on that later), so I decided to paint the covers to match.

I’ve heard people rave about the  Rust-Oleum Metallics paint, and I have to say… it looks pretty awesome. It was exactly what the covers needed. The photos don’t do this paint justice.

Here's a close up so you can see the color and sparkle a little better.

Then I had two hallway switches that were just boring beige plastic. I thought about doing the Oil Rubbed Bronze paint on those, too, but I wanted something a little different.

I wondered what would happen if I did a light layer of the bronze over a color.

Base coat in red

When the red dried, I did a very light coat of the bronze. I held the can about two feet away and did very light misty coats until I got the color I wanted. (Note my protective layer of cardboard.)

Bronzey-red goodness

Here are some flash and non-flash close-ups so you can see the color better.

Natural light.

If you’re going to be playing with spray paint, remember to wear a good mask. Last time I painted without one, I wound up with snot polka dotted with black paint particles. Gross and definitely not healthy.

With flash.

So once again, one $4 can of paint did 3 switch covers, 1 outlet cover, and the base of a light fixture, and I’ve got lots left for other projects. I think I’m going to paint all my ugly white baseboard heat diffusers now. I could probably easily do all the diffusers and switch covers in my house with this one can. Much cheaper than dozens of new covers (especially the pretty ones) and new diffusers!


My name is Alexis. I have a craft addiction. This is my story. also check out: (my clothes) (my tutorials)

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2 comments on “How to Gussy up a Light Switch Cover – DIY Home Decor Tutorial
  1. Suzanne says:

    I have a 4 switch plate right at my front door and found a fake brass cover to replace the plastic one years ago. It didn’t wear well so I decided to cover it with leather. Because I wanted a custom fit, I stretched it to fit then glued under the edges from the back where I folded the leather to the back side. It’s easy to clean and looks quite pro if I may say so myself. Then I did the weird kitchen one also which has a light switch and a plug. This is so much easier than trying to find covers that are unique yet affordable.

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