Do you match switches throughout house, or color match walls?

kaysdNovember 5, 2012

We are mid-remodel and have a bunch of outlets and switches that need to be installed in the kitchen, living room, master suite and hallway. If I want anything other than builder basic white, I have to let the electrician know ASAP.

Most of our walls will be Dunn Edwards Fossil (soft white) with Foggy Day trim (light, slightly cool taupe). The tricky part is there will be a medium-dark grayish blue accent wall in living room and front entry, and the kitchen and/or master bath might be light gray or blue. The Lutron White Architectural Matte looks best with the Fossil walls (I need my electrician to verify the Nova T dimmers available in that color will work with our LED and fluorescent lights). My designer (now on early maternity leave) said she thought the white would look too stark on the blue and gray walls. She recommended I look at "Stone" for all the walls, but I brought a sample chip home and the undertones are too yellow/tan (that is the problem with most of the colors). There is a pale gray called "Palladium" that would probably look good on the blue or gray walls, but I am afraid it might look odd to use that color on the white walls, especially since the trim is pale taupe, not gray.

What do you do in your house - keep the switch and receptacle color consistent throughout the house, or switch things up depending on wall color?

I find this question especially tricky in the rooms with more than one color in the same room. Do I put white switches and outlet receptacles on the white walls and gray switches and outlets on the accent wall? I might be able to paint the wall plates to match the wall colors, but the switches and receptacles will still stand out.

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Fori is not pleased

I go on a room-by-room basis.

Not sure how I'd handle your accent wall though!

And if you pick wrong, they are ridiculously easy to redo yourself. (Have your electrician label stuff in the circuit box while she's working, if it isn't already done.)

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 5:52PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

to the room, no need to be consistent for the whole house....

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 6:01PM
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When we built our house several years ago, I went with white throughout the house. Several other things that I needed for the house were only available in white ie: volume controls for ceiling speakers, security system keypad, etc.

I didn't want different colors of these things close to each other. The whites are not the same but close enough.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 6:01PM
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I used all white in the last house, but that house had all white trim and only 1 bedroom with non-white walls. I think it makes sense to match per room, rather than the whole house, but the accent walls are killing me.

Changing the switches out later for another color is not a good option for us, because dimmers for LED and fluorescent fixtures, especially 3-way dimmers, are not cheap.

In the kitchen, would it look weird if the light switches and plates are white (on a white wall), and the outlets in the back splash area are a different color to try to blend into the BS?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 7:22PM
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I try to color coordinate with the wall surface they are on.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 7:42PM
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maybe do metal? those can look very modern and nice and go with almost any color since it is essentially a totally different finish. a friend of mine with a very high-end house had his spray painted with metallic paint (he did ORB throughout his house) and it turned out very well.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 8:02PM
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Metal was my first thought, too. Either clear anodized aluminum, stainless steel or satin nickel, depending on availability in each line. My designer recommended against adding more metal to my kitchen since I already have large SS appliances, a few chrome faucets and a satin nickel track lighting system. She thought a matte color would stand out less than metal. I may end up overriding her, but I generally like her taste.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 8:18PM
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We did all white switches, most near white trim. Several are on darkish blue-gray walls (BM Silver Lake and Blue Heather), one soft blue (BM Heaven on Earth), one saturated blue (BM Newborn's Eyes), some anonymous pale gray (we mixed this and that for the hall and now have no idea), a lightish gray (BM Stonington Gray), and one room in a soft white (BM Dove Wing). They all work, but that may be because of the white door trim plus base boards and crown molding (BM Bavarian Cream).

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 9:12PM
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I match mine to the wall of the room they're in. My kitchen is painted a green with white trim. Any of the outlets/switches on the painted walls are white Lutrons. On my backsplash, which is travertine, I have the Lutron in Desert Stone. They blend in and are almost unnoticeable on the stone wall.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:25PM
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I changed out all our switches and outlets to white during our whole house reno. We had a mix of white and some dirty off-white grungy ones before. I decided that I could never find switches and outlets to actually match the wall colors and that near miss would bother me much more than a consistent white throughout the house. Our trim is white though, which I think helps.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:35PM
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Lutron makes something like 100 colors of outlets and switch covers. I ALWAYS try to match them to the wall color or accent color if high contrast for visibility's sake is needed. Yes, it costs a bit more than the 29 cent white ones, but it's a detail you see (or don't see!) subconsciously when evaluating a room. Just like having a stark white outlet in the middle of your wood island, sure, you can, but I wouldn't.

However, if these are new outlets and you are under the gun to make a decision NOW, then just put in white and replace them later with something from Lutron. I'd also put in the wide rocker switches rather than the small flip ones. But either is easy enough to do at a later time DIY when you aren't under as much time pressure. NEVER pay to have an electrician just change out a switch or switch plate. It's about the easiest DIY imaginable.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 7:52AM
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Do GFC plugs come in different colours?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 8:12AM
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We purchased all white switch and outlet plates and painted them the color of the wall. Very simple to do - scuff the plate, prime and paint. Switches and receptacles are white.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 8:17AM
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Circus Peanut

Cam -- yes they do. Google "colors of Lutron" for the palette, there are a zillion different colors, and they make them for regular receptacles, GFCIs, and a whole bunch of other configurations. I used yellow GFCIs with yellow plates on my yellow kitchen wall.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 10:06AM
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+1 for Lutron. They are fabulous and the only thing I ever suggest. It may be a small detail, but it is one of the things that does separate the wheat from the chaff in doing a true upscale remodel.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 10:38AM
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I was just looking at the Lutron website the colors and the finishes are stupendous..

Which type looks nice if you are color matching to walls - gloss, satin, matte?

For the dimmers, any preference between the maestro or the diva series?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 11:55AM
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I paint them to match the walls

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 1:09PM
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