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To Switch or Not

Let’s talk about those pesky light switches. I’ve never  really paid attention to them before. Probably because most houses I’ve visited/lived in had matching switches in every room, or they seemed to. Maybe I just didn’t pay attention to all these silly details back then. Or maybe other people have mismatched switches and I just don’t notice because it wasn’t important to me. Kind of like that talk I got in high school, ‘don’t worry about the spot on your face because everyone else is thinking about their own and won’t notice yours’ except instead of spots we are talking about switches. Though, I’ve never owned a house to pay attention to before, but maybe it’s the same principle.
As with many choices the previous owners(I’m saying that plural because I don’t know which of the 4 previous owners it was, though I have acquaintances with all of them, I could probably find out) made, the colors/materials/time periods don’t match from one end to the other, and the switches don’t match even on the same walls, let alone rooms. The replacement of the switches will be slow going, along with all the other projects we are in the middle of that are slow going mostly because I must have some sort of creative attention disorder. Painting walls, furniture, trim, actual paintings, cooking crazy stuff, decorating- they all get in the way of each other. So this post is not a reveal so much as it is a mid-week laugh at the conglomeration of switches we live with on a daily basis. How about a tour?

This lovely floral number with the cream switch lives on the master bedroom side of the library. It’s on a white wall, so the cream switch really bothers me, but the colors actually relates pretty well to our bedroom so I can almost justify keeping it. Almost. But as soon as we start fixing up the library this one is going to go! Any takers? One white switch with white cover plate will ensure this beauty is on it’s way to you! (I’m mostly kidding because I don’t think anyone wants even part of my crazy collection of switches, but maybe today is my lucky day!?)

It’s definitely a crummy iPhone picture, but this switch is just on the other side of the door jamb from the last switch we saw. It’s mirror, and has a lovely etched pattern in it. Did I mention it’s a mirror? What decade does this switch come from? At least the switch matches the wall…not. Since I’m going for white trim (at least to start) I’d prefer my switches & outlets are white as well. The cream takes away the crispness. Oh well.

Isn’t this one great? It’s reflective, but not a mirror (meaning it’s all warped and crazy because of the screws and a real mirror is glass with silver applied to the back). This is back in the library, tucked in the desk nook. Every time I turn my head to the left when I’m working at the computer I get this lovely view of myself in a hole-y (because of the switches) carnival mirror. Yes, all of these switches are used, and I haven’t seen a switch plate at Home Depot or Lowe’s to replace it in a non-reflective, or really any material. Tips?

At the other end of the library we have this lone ranger. A black switch with a white switch plate. The thing is even more of an eyesore because of the contrast. Oy vey. It’s on the same wall as the first floral one we looked at, and there is a reflective outlet cover just on the other side of a corner.
It’s time for the master bath. This might be the first photo I’ve shown of the master bath. Don’t worry, I’ll show befores before we rip it out, but I have months and months and years before we get to that point so you’ll just have to wait, along with my camera since neither of you have gotten a tour. Where can I start? Hm, the switch plate isn’t big enough to cover the hole in the wall (yes I’ve looked for replacements again to no avail) the outlet and switches have been painted over, at least twice. Once a lovely pink, and then it cracked and crumbled and then a tan. Aren’t they just beautiful?


This lovely set of whatever they are is in the wall between the kitchen and the library. This used to be an exterior wall, so I’m wondering if that’s why the one set of outlets is in a bumped out box? I’m also wondering why we have outlets at eye level. If moving them was in the works I’d be happy, but as it is I think they are staying. Five points to whoever can tell me what the ‘outlet’ is on the left! Once again the crazy switch painting person was let loose on these suckers…blue. ha. ha. And we aren’t done yet. boo.



Upstairs in the purple bedroom we are lucky enough to have the Three Stooges grace our walls. The screws actually are printed to match the switch plate cover. And it’s a hysterical conversation piece. This one is for the golf fan, which we aren’t. But when we give the house tour it’s one we always point out.

On to the last one on our tour!

We almost forgot about the near extinct wall paper covered switch. So far we have removed the wallpaper off of two switches, and already thrown one two holed switch plate away (it was an aquarium scene, sorry you missed it!) But this wall paper switch is a real beauty. It was part of an accent wall in the master bedroom (that I am still halfway through peeling off the un-permeable layer to get down to the glue to get rid of it entirely). Soon there won’t be any textured paper left in our house and we will be in business.

And just think I didn’t even begin to show you the outlet covers, I forgot to snap a picture of the black outlet cover with paint chippy switches and there’s also the motion sensor pair of covers to catch an intruder, just like the movies (except this was from the seventies and doesn’t work).

Well, there you have it. A glimpse into the crazy previous owners design choices (as if we didn’t already know that they were crazy with their liberal use of royal blue shag and pepto pink walls). As we get the switches and trim in each room to be the same color I just know our house is going to look even more pulled together. So we will be switching the switches. Slowly but surely. Anyone want to trade some matching white switches for one of my crazy ones? I just know that three stooges one is a collector’s item!

Anyone else rescue their house from mismatched switches? fixtures (we are rocking gold, silver, chrome, and brushed nickel in the master!)? appliances?

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Andrea Wiley #

    Courtney, welcome to the wonderful world of dealing with the dubious decorating choices of previous homeowners…( or lack of good taste!). Our 1948 Victorian had moved to the 70’s, complete with cheap paneling, plastic crown mouldings, a bathroom sporting three different wallpapers…ugly purple sculptured carpeting on the stairs, and holes in the plaster walls…. also a dead squirrel in the dining room ceiling. It goes on and on but I won’t bore you…

    Now it is completely remodeled and restored to 1848 style and charm…but it took many years of hard work…. I dont’ regret it but probably won’t do it again!

    Good luck with your home…


    June 7, 2013
    • Andrea, thanks for the welcome…and the great mental images of your house with a 70’s garb. I actually find it all very interesting, so feel free to share more!
      We have some cheap paneling (in the basement), no crown moulding, had a bad super deep royal blue shag, and a fuzzy wallpaper in a bathroom, so I feel some of your pain. Thankfully no major holes that we didn’t make, or a dead animal!!
      I would love to see photos of your house some time! I love Victorians, we’d almost considered buying on, but it needed to much structural work.
      Because this is a house from the 50’s, I don’t feel to tied to the right decade, which I’m sure is making this an easier remodel. As it stands though, I’m not worn out yet, and maybe someday we will do it again!
      Thanks for reading and more importantly sharing! I love those details.


      June 7, 2013

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