Outlets on the backsplash-- creative ways to disguise?

saydeJuly 2, 2009

I hate the thought of outlets on the backsplash. So, there are plugs up higher but then the wires have to go up to the plugs. Or there are "grommets" that can be drilled in the counter so the wires can go down. But are there any really good ways to disguise those outlets that just have to be on the backsplash wall? Are there any tile manufacturers that helpfully sell matching covers?

Would love to hear how you have addressed this.

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plllog

I've seen some tile switch covers, but they're rare since they need to be a different thickness than the tile. There are probably outlet covers if there are switch covers. But that's a poor way to choose tile. You might be able to cut tile to work, but getting it the correct thickness without breaking would also be difficult.

I've seen some very clever trompe l'oeil done on plastic covers to make them match the backsplash. There are highly decorative ones that can match your cabinet hardware or wood. There are also amazing, artist made, outlet covers that can act as accent pieces. In addition, there are colored outlets. Those are pretty expensive, though.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 9:33PM
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marthavila

If your backsplash is of natural stone, there are plenty of firms that will fabricate outlet covers to match your backsplash. You supply the material, and they will make the covers. I had planned to do this with my own marble mosaic backsplash and even bought two 12" x 12" tiles of the same marble for that purpose. So far, though, I haven't gotten around to it and, frankly, I'm feeling that my plain, cheap, off white plastic covers fit in just fine! :-) At any rate, here are links to just a couple of these stone outlet cover manufacturers :

http://www.switchhits.com/switchplates_natural_stone_light_switch_plates_covers_g.html

http://www.stonewallplates.com/

And, linked below is also a recent GW on this same topic.

Here is a link that might be useful: Recent GW Thread on Outlet Covers

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 9:40PM
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palimpsest

If you have the option, part of the issue is planning. In my own kitchen, there are High outlets right under the bottom edge of the upper cabinets, hidden by a wide light rail. There are two low outlets that go directly behind appliances that stay on the counter so they are hidden behind that appliance. The high ones only get used occasionally. (I have a small kitchen, only four duplex outlets, a cable and a phone jack--and one outlet In a drawer In the island)

In a job we just finished, we put all the outlets on the horizontal and they ran IN the tile pattern, so each outlet fell within a subway tile. We had to leave long tails of wire for each outlet, know exactly how the tile was laying out, and put in the boxes at the end of the project when the tile was going up. So, they do not interrupt the pattern of the backsplash tile at all. The electrician didn't like doing it this way (more work) the contractor didnt like doing it this way (more work) but the homeowners love it.

I have also used clear glass plates and painted the back to match, and there is a company that makes plastic decals that look very nice.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 9:58PM
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Circus Peanut

In a job we just finished, we put all the outlets on the horizontal and they ran IN the tile pattern, so each outlet fell within a subway tile. We had to leave long tails of wire for each outlet, know exactly how the tile was laying out, and put in the boxes at the end of the project when the tile was going up. So, they do not interrupt the pattern of the backsplash tile at all. The electrician didn't like doing it this way (more work) the contractor didnt like doing it this way (more work) but the homeowners love it.

Being my own electrician, contractor and tilesetter, that's exactly what I did. And I'm a happy homeowner. :-)

Elsewhere, we used the Lutron Satin Colors colored outlets and switchplates, which would also work well for a backsplash - they make a bunch of neutral colors that match the current trends in stone-colored tile.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 10:53PM
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hgluckman

There's an outfit in Colorado called Taken for Granite. They handpaint outlet covers/switchplates to match the background - it doesn't have to be granite. I've seen some samples in local stores, and the photos in their gallery are amazing.

No association with the company.

Here is a link that might be useful: Taken for Granite

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 9:22AM
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pheebers

hgluckman, those photos ARE amazing. Do you have any idea about cost? From the website, it looks like a case of "if you have to ask...."

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 10:01AM
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writersblock

There are also outlet covers you can get where you take a picture of your backsplash or a piece of the wallpaper or whatever and sandwich it between two layers of clear plastic so that it matches exactly, but I don't know the source on those. I've seen them in some fairly high end homes where they had custom painted murals.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 11:54AM
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rubyfig

This pic was in Better Homes and Gardens:

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 12:00PM
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steff_1

Here's a related thread from a while back. I particularly like terriks diy covers.

Grommets in the countertop can be done, but you need to check with a licensed electrician to see if it's allowed in a wet area because I have only done this in a desk area. You can recess a wiremold into the top and cover it with a flip up cover. You can also put the wiremold under the countertop, drill holes and fill with grommet covers available online.

I would think grommet covers in the countertop would be more of a pita compared to in the backsplash.

Here is a link that might be useful: Outlet covers

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 7:20PM
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cloud_swift

We used Columbia Gorge Stoneworks (the www.stonewallplates.com site mentioned above) to make outlet and switch covers out of our granite. They were great to work with and did a wonderful job.

While their name says "stone", they will also make wallplates from tile - this works best with the kind of tile where the color goes through the body of the tile.

We got outlets and switches in a matte black. We got samples of Lutron colors but felt that went best with our kitchen. Those trompe l'oeil ones look kind of neat, but I think I'd rather not have them quite that camouflaged. When it is dark and I'm reaching for the switch, I want to be able to see it.

It is expensive compared to $2 outlet covers, but it was a pretty small expense compared to what we spent to get the granite backsplash so it was worth it to us.

With the temporary black outlet covers:

With the granite covers:

The back of one of the outlet covers - you can see a number of things in this picture. We got the magnet option so the outlet cover attaches without screws. The outlet comes with ears that would block the magnets as you can see at the top. On the bottom, we have already broken the ear off so that the magnets can work. We had sent in our granite with transparencies taped to it showing the part we wanted to use for each plate and each was marked with a letter. I wondered whether we would have trouble figuring out which was which when the finished plates arrived but they helpfully marked the letter on the back of each plate. This one was B.

For one of the wall plates, the stone broke so they had to use a different spot but they used our photos to chose another area of the scrap that matched just as well.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 12:03PM
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janwad

Someone once posted pictures of hand painted outlets and covers. It was amazing. They blended completely in. A light sanding of regular hardware allows paint to stick, or Taymac makes a whole line that is designed to be painted. One person said they painted the outlets and it held up well to prongs being poked in.

The clear plastic switchplate holders for wallpaper are easily found at any hardware store. Take a digital picture of your backsplash, manipulate with photo software and insert like wallpaper.

There are several companies online that offer thousands of different switchplate covers. Just do a Google of 'switchplate covers'.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 2:20PM
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marybeth1

I got my these resin ones at HD. Not perfect but I think better than the lighter ones they don't stick out as much. The only one I could not find in this was the phone jack. I may try painting it in a stone look craft paint just have not got around to it.
before

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 2:30PM
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sayde

Wow, thanks so much. There are more solutions than I would ever have imagined!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 3:50PM
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rococogurl

I'm going with horizontal -- circuspeanut's solution (~hey circ~)-- and getting Lutron Maestro receptacles in color close to the tile. Just spec'd it in the plan that way

Here is a link that might be useful: maestro colors

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 6:12PM
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charlikin

I got the Lutron outlets and switchplates in a color very close to my tile. They blend in very well without being outrageously expensive.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 8:31PM
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suSan_j

I have searched and searched with no success until now. Does anyone know where to get magnetic covers as is shown in the photo above (without screws)? Here is the writer's quote for reference:
"We got the magnet option so the outlet cover attaches without screws."

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 9:20PM
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ineffablespace

Those switchplates were custom from Columbia Gorge Stoneworks, fabricated from granite the homeowner sent to the company for that purpose

Here is a link that might be useful: Columbia Gorge Stoneworks

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 10:00PM
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EAM44

OK, it's finally happened. I've been on this site for so long, I'm the wise one who knows all the awesome threads from the last three years. Oldbat2be has an amazing kitchen and a gorgeous reveal. Adding to my appreciation of it is the fact that she and her hubby did most of the work. Along with her inspired bs tile selection, the image below shows her fire extinguisher niche and with her decoupaged switchplate cover. It's perfect, don't you agree? You can check out her reveal at the link below. She is wonderful, by the way. I'm sure she'd give details if asked.

Here is a link that might be useful: OB2B

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 8:14AM
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scrappy25

Pal and circuspeanut,, how are those horizontal outlets supported? I thought that the boxes had to attach to a 2x4 stud? Did you have to put wood blocking in before the drywall went up, and how can you get the placement so exactly?
TIA!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 8:50AM
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