Our website uses cookies to improve its performance and usability. We don't use advertising tracking cookies.  Further information on our privacy policy    I agree to this usage

5 Design Considerations When Changing Sockets and Switches

Changing your plain white plastic sockets and switches can be a great way to finish a room or give a space a spruce-up.

The trick is to make sure anything you do with the finish of the sockets and switches blend with the rest of the room, after all they are now going to become a design feature for your room.

Changing the plain sockets and switches in a room can transform the space, adding a more polished finish to a room. Either on its or as part of a complete redecoration changing your switch plates can be a cheap way of giving you room a new lease of life.

So what kind of things should you consider when choosing new sockets and switches?

Design Considerations

1. Other Metal Finishes in the Room

Whether it is the door handles or light fittings, the window latches to the fireplace surround you should consider how the new sockets and switches will fit in with other metal works in the room.

The typical finished available are Nickel, Brass, Chrome, Stainless Steel and Black Sockets although copper and rose gold have become a lot more popular in recent years. We've also had people buying our coloured sockets and switches to match their toaster and kettle.

Obviously there's also lighting to consider. It's always best to stick to a theme, so if you can tie up the lighting to the sockets and switches it should help.

2. Condition of the Wall

Flat plate sockets and switches can give a great finish to a room, but beware!

They are very unforgiving, so if you have anything other than flat walls steer well clear, and if a spirit level is not your favourite DIY tool these are probably not the plate for you.

They show up anomalies easily so need to be put on straight, or at least parallel with the door and skirting. Don't despair, as there are plenty of other different styles of plates, rather than flat plates. Also remember that if you're fitting flat plates or screwless plates they will need deeper back boxes when fitting. 

Feel Of The Room

3. Recently Plastered Walls

There is nothing better than getting a top quality plasterer in to skim a wall to get rid of that old artex or to even out old wall wobbles but don’t forget newly plastered walls take months to dry properly. I’m sure your plasterer has said don’t wallpaper for 6 months but did he warn you the drying process can stain some sockets and switches?

We have plenty of sockets and switches available that can be fitted to freshly plastered walls, but please don't try using the copper (other than hammered copper) or the Varilight ranges, as these are not covered with freshly plastered walls and fitting them will invalidate your warranty. If in doubt, call our customer service team. They'll be happy to guide you in the right direction.

4. General Feel of the Room

Sockets and switches come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, including oval, Georgian, Victorian and everything in-between, but make sure it suits the style of the room! or Victorian and Georgian plates are deliberately aimed at the more traditional house so it's worth bearing this in mind if you have a modern or contemporary feel.

Also think about whether you intend to carry the design throughout the entire house. Many of our plates styles (the shape of the actual plate) have lots of different colours and finishes, so you may want to choose your plate style and continue it throughout the house, just in a different colour. As an example polished chrome switches may suit a light hallway, but the pewter finish is better suited to dark rooms. The Contour plate is available in both finishes, so you can have the same styled plate just in different colours.

The other option is to put two different colours in the same room. One of the most popular combination with have is with the flat white switches and flat black sockets, both in the same room.

5. Earth Wiring

It may all sound like a great plan, to move from white sockets and switches to a different style or colour, but beware about older houses. Many (in fact most) of our sockets and switches are made of metal. This means they must be fitted with an earth wire. Some older houses do not have the appropriate earth wiring in the house. If this is the case you must not fit metal plates. Don't worry though, there are other plastic sockets and switches out there, such as our Retrotouch mid grey plates.


If in doubt please call a qualified electrician. We assure you, it will be money well spent.