More Ideas for Dealing with Inconveniently Placed Switches

by Kimba on May 17, 2011

in decorating,Do it yourself

Did you catch my disguised light switch last week? Well, now I’m working on another project that has me dealing with more poorly placed switches and outlets. Le sigh. So I’ve been searching around for some more ideas for creatively working around them.

Here are a few of my favorites…

The Nester hid one behind a piece of artwork. I like how she attached it to a nail so that boy and man-hands won’t knock it down when they use the switch.

Kristen is some sort of genius and hid her garage door opener with a picture frame, some scrap wood and a crystal knob. I’m thinking there’s some way to modify this for little used switches.

There are a million versions of painted and decoupaged switch plates, but I love this one featured on Design Sponge because it’s funky and orange.

Here’s the space that I’m wrestling with right now. It’s a big empty wall in my foyer. I’m trying to figure out how to hang some hooks and things, so that our guests have a place to hang their coats. A few pieces of artwork would be cool too.

I can’t mess with the box waaaaay up by the ceiling since it’s a part of the security system and shoots out laser light beams that protect me from psycho-killers. The 4-bay switch isn’t so much poorly placed as it is annoying. I don’t even know what one of the switches does! Hubby thinks it launches the space shuttle. That other box above the switches is the communication link with the security system people. It’s how they talk to me in a mildly annoyed voice when we accidentally set off the alarm each week. It can be covered up.

Who has some good ideas? What would you do?

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1 Trish D May 17, 2011 at 10:01 am

My thought would be to get a nice funky vintage frame and stretch some fabric across it, then hang that over your comm panel. Put a 3 or 4 hook panel to the right of that where folks can easily hang their jackets, then a canvas above (a silhouette or word art maybe?). Once you see how it all comes together, decoupage some sort of coordinating fabric or paper onto the giant light switch.
Trish D´s last blog post ..Lovely Weekend

2 Lilia May 17, 2011 at 10:04 am

How about some sort of shallow cabinet with a hallowed out back. You can have the switches inside & maybe even some hooks for keys or something. You can hang a corner coat hanger which will draw the attention to that instead of the “laser beam shooter”. But honestly, I’d say no coat rack/hanger… and stick with the art idea.

3 Katie @ explanationrequired May 17, 2011 at 11:01 am

I just dealt with similar issue near my front foor. We have light switch and thermostat that I wanted covered. I mounted a 2×10 board running longside against the wall and then put a 1×3 on top of that board coming out from the wall. This created a little shelf, which I capped off with a piece of trim. I put some hooks on the 2×10 board, strategically placed so that coats would cover the switches and then displayed art on the shelf. I think you’ve definitely got the potential to do something like this in your space. And depending on what wood you already have on hand, it’d be pretty inexpensive too.

4 Jessie May 17, 2011 at 11:40 am

I love Trish’s idea of stretching fabric on a frame to go over the speaker. To distract from the laser beamer without blocking it, what about a hanging plant on the wall to the right? It would come out from the wall enough to disguise the laser beamer from the angle you took the photo from (I really enjoy calling it a laser beamer, btw), and if it’s on the wall to the right it should still allow the laser beamer to monitor the door. Provided it’s monitoring the door and not the hall also, of course.

5 Jessica @ Decor Adventures May 17, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Hi Kimba,

That one covering the thermostst, doesn’t it change the termperature in the room? I’ve been meaning to ask that!

I’ve seen people put a glass-less window over them, so the switches/objects go inside the window panes, along wtih other objects.

Maybe if you do some kind of gallery treatment with some hooks, then the switches will blend it more.
Jessica @ Decor Adventures´s last blog post ..How to Make a Sunburst Mirror

6 kristie@thedecorologist May 17, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Hmmm, i hate it when that happens! I might try hanging a vertical trio of square framed art on that wall beside the door. The size of them would have to be just right, since it’s only going to look good if they are completely centered on the wall. Hang them with about one inch of space between them so they read like a whole.

7 Stacey May 17, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Now that is a challenge! Especially because you need access to each of those things! I’m wondering if you could use a piece of art for a focal point that uses the space around those items.

For example, I’ve seen posted many places “The House Rules”. If you use boards like my fried Tracie, {} you could shift them around those items.

Work with them, not against them! 🙂
Stacey´s last blog post ..He said – She said

8 Sam May 17, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Hey Kimba!

You built your new home too soon! There’s a new technology that is going to remove light switches from homes entirely!! This is like Disney’s Home of the Future, but there are a couple of companies that are currently mastering wireless lighting!

Basically every person in your home (plus a few extra) carries this button in their pocket from room to room, and the kinetic energy that you use to press the button is used to send a wireless signal to the lights! (No batteries to replace!)

That means no more feeling the wall for the light switch during the middle of the night, or better yet no need to hide the ill-placed switches in the middle of your wall!
Sam´s last blog post ..New Community Announcement Cranberry Township

9 Brown Eyed Girl May 17, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Hmmm…no way could you cover up your totally cool space-shuttle launching switch with a household of boys…I like your decoupage ideas. But if you really want to not see switches at all, maybe your fabulous hubster could build you a decorative wooden box shelf, with an open bottom, that covers that whole wall plate, so you don’t “see” the switches, but you can still access them? You could add either art or matching additional shelves in the empty space to the right/above…or a panel coat hooks. I added a panel of decorative coat hooks behind our front door a while back (minus the shelf — not enough clearance behind my door) due to having no hall closet or foyer, but I have to admit I am not a fan of it, as my family of 6 and their abundance of jackets for every season overwhelms it, so that it prevents the front door from opening widely enough for anyone to pass through it reasonably. You have a foyer closet for family coats so you may not find this to be so much of an issue…

10 Brown Eyed Girl May 17, 2011 at 4:01 pm

P.S. Just had a BRILLIANT idea…why don’t you add some of those “grabby hands” like Willy Wonka had in his cloak room? That would definitely take the focus off both your laser beamer AND your shuttle-launching switch, while providing HOURS of entertainment for your boys…;)

11 karen hofatt@best fire pit reviews May 18, 2011 at 2:26 am

I recently had some renovations done by a young electrician. Even after I told him where the moldings would be so that the plates would not interfere,, he still got the locations wrong so I asked him to change the location.
karen hofatt@best fire pit reviews´s last blog post ..The Gas Can by Campfire In A Can Review – Uniquely Cool and Convenient

12 Samantha May 18, 2011 at 9:48 am

How about an amazing coat tree with a fab mirror? Perhaps a lovely shelf and paint out the control panel you have there to match your walls. Girl I feel for ya, I have a similar thing at my entrance. It’s not perfect, I try to ignore it. :/ try to.
Samantha´s last blog post ..Drips and Cracks

13 Jennifer S. May 18, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Haha, I like that…”launches space shuttle”!

14 Jeannette May 19, 2011 at 3:38 am

I would do the same as Kristen did only on a bigger scale with the box longer and wide enough to have hooks underneath it.By putting more knobs on there and having it long it will fit the space and be functional.You could also make the frame of the box wider and thicker and put the hooks through the front as well and still put the extra knobs on.Hope I’m coming across well sometimes what I see in my head doesn’t always translate well when I try to write it out lol…

15 Courtney May 19, 2011 at 11:32 pm

I hid the doorbell box, you know the one in the house, with a big barn star that matches my house! Thinking of hiding the thermostat with one as well.
As for a light switch…not so sure.

16 Gloria @ Slat Board Products May 28, 2011 at 9:16 am

I also have the same problem with my switches at home, it has been poorly placed. And I have always been looking for ways in concealing them. Then I saw the painted switch (in red checkers) from your post and gave me the idea. Just dropping by to say thanks for the inspiration.
Gloria @ Slat Board Products´s last blog post ..Slat Board Hooks and Various Types Slat Board Accessories

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