For those who have asked about painting the light switches, outlets, and trim in the same color as the wall in the basement family room, this post is for you! Before I ever put a roller on the wall, I envisioned the walls and trim painted the same color. The rest of my house has white trim as a frame to blue/gray walls or wallpaper/starched fabric, but I want this room to have a Gentleman’s Library sort of vibe. I’m sure that many gentleman’s libraries have white trim, but I imagined this room with moody blue walls and trim. There are a lot of different finishes and colors happening in the space right now and painting it all one color (but different sheens) will remove those visual distractions.
As an aside, if I thought we were going to live in this house “forever”, I would want to clad the walls and ceiling in paneling, add beams, and paint it all! While we don’t plan on moving anytime soon, we envision ourselves living in an old house one day and on a bigger piece of property with a view. Who knows if that will ever happen, but that idea does factor into some of the choices I make. (I actually have started writing a post about the idea of the “forever home” and we’ll have a chat about that more in-depth at some point.)
But, today, let’s talk about the riveting subject of painting light switches. This is the juicy part of a room makeover that everyone gets super excited about.
Okay, not really. Painting light switches is boring and not glamourous at all, but when you’re painting the walls and trim in a moody blue, the light switches, outlets, and vents start to really stick out.
I sort of cropped out the vents and outlets out of most of the pictures I’ve taken in the family room because they are super distracting! You can see the surround sound speaker practically waving at you. I’m not actually going to paint the speakers, but those will be hidden.
Anyway, painting the light switches, outlets, and vents was an easy thing to do. I wouldn’t do it in every case. Since we have white trim in the rest of the house, the white switchplates don’t pull very much focus. We use a soft blue/gray (Stonington Gray) on the walls in most of the house, too, so the white plates blend better.
The key to painting the switches, specifically plastic ones, is to use an adhesive primer. I used STIX for this project and had it tinted to the color of the paint by my local paint store…
This is a fantastic primer that will stick to just about anything. I used it for priming the tile on the fireplace surround as well. (It’s still in the ugly primer stage, but it’ll be looking finished soon!)
For painting the light switches and outlets, I just brushed the primer onto the switchplates with a quality brush (THIS is one of my new favorites.) I was careful to keep the coat thin and really watch for drips and brush strokes. I kept the screws in, so I could paint those as well and I would hold each plate by the back of the screws as I was painting it.
I then painted them in the same paint I used for the walls (Oval Room Blue Modern Emulsion.) Once they were dry, I put them on just like normal light switches! I debated about painting the toggles themselves and the outlets, but I couldn’t get past the idea that it would look sloppy. I’ve seen apartments where the switches and outlets were caked with paint and it just looked so lazy! I’m sure I couldn’ve done a neat job at this, but then the light switches would have to be repainted or replaced when/if the walls are ever repainted in a different color. Leaving the switches and outlets white seemed like the best thing and they aren’t visually bothersome.
Have you ever tried painting light switches and/our outlets and vent covers to match the walls? I’m curious if this is normal practice or just good for certain cases like this room. This is a first for me!