Help! What are your thoughts for how to treat switch plates and electrical outlets in a back splash covered in glass tile? I've been browsing galleries online, and I find that outlets always seem to be an eyesore unless the surface is white subway tile. We are still shopping tile, and haven't landed on a specific shade, texture or size, but we are thinking translucent green in some brick shape. Is there some way to let the outlets appear more like a part of the back splash and less interruptive?
Thanks for your question and it's a good one; something I run into all the time.
The answer of course is that there's no answer, everything depends on the tile you end up selecting and how you want the final project to appear. Probably the only constant I can think of on this topic is not to use white switch plates from a home center.
In June, I wrote a post about new light switch plates and outlet covers made by Forbes and Lomax. They are as close to invisible as any I've ever seen but I don't know enough about them to know how they behave over tile. They're sure pretty to look at though.
So that's the first idea, pretend they're not there.
The second plan of attack is to go in the opposite direction and draw attention to them. Find a decorative plate in metal, stone, glass, enamel, porcelain or anything else you can think of and use that.
The trick when taking that path is to tread a fine line between enhancing your tile and overwhelming it. That decision is best made after you've selected your tile. The switch plate covers above are from Switch Hits, a website that boasts that it has 160,000 plates in stock. After having looked over their website, I believe them. It's an exhaustive collection (with varying taste levels), but it's a terrific place to spend some time to get you thinking about the unexpected.
Any good houseware or cabinet hardware store will have a selection of decorative plates. A good glass cutter can make you any switch plates you'll need too.
So that's what I say at any rate. Anybody else out there have a suggestion for my reader here? Anybody handle this dilemma in a way they're particularly proud of? Anybody handle it poorly, learn a lesson, and care to share some hard-won wisdom? No judgement I promise. If anybody's so motivated to lend a hand that he or she wants to send in some photos, e-mail them to me and I'll add them to this post.
And that, dear reader, is how I'd approach handling switch plate and outlet covers on a glass tile back splash.
However, be glad you're in Indianapolis and thinking about this. If you were in London, you'd have to try to minimize this.
Side note to to British readers, how on earth do you deal with these things?