The Agony of the Ill-Placed Light Switch

by Kimba on May 9, 2011

in Crafty Stuff

One of my pet-peeves are poorly placed light switches. You would think that since we built our house, that all of our switches would be perfectly placed for function and eye-pleasing-ness. You would be wrong.

I think part of the problem is that until you live in a house, you don’t know which way you’re going to instinctively reach to turn on a light. Although there are some things that defy explanation…like the light switch that is a full 5 feet into the room rather than at the entrance.

Some of you commented on the light switch that is smack-dab in the middle of my kid’s artwork gallery wall. That poorly placed switch is the primary reason it took me so darned long to tackle that project. From the builder’s perspective, I suppose it made sense. He was trying to make it accessible to both bedrooms, but it’s so awkward right there in the not-quite-middle of the wall.

I couldn’t really hide it behind something because the kid’s really do need to be able to reach it without fumbling behind something. Then one day, the answer hit me and I decided to just incorporate it into my gallery design.

I decoupaged a map of the city where we live right onto the switch plate and framed the whole thing so it’s just another part of the gallery wall. Yes, I used an actual page from our atlas. The one we use when we travel. No GPS here. We’re totally 19th century. But, I figured I was safe since we don’t need the map of our home city, right? Don’t tell my hubby, m’kay?

The whole project took about 5 minutes. After you cut out your paper, just brush a coat of Mod Podge on the back side. Then position it over the front of your switch plate and wrap the edges of the paper around the sides.

Give the corners a little trim and cut out the hole for the actual switch.

A couple of coats of Mod Podge on the top and you’re done!

I like how the switch blends right in with all the artwork, but it’s still accessible in the middle of the night.

Do you have any poorly placed light switches that make you crazy?

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1 Marcia Francois, Organising Queen May 9, 2011 at 9:06 am

What a clever, clever idea – I absolutely LOVE it!

You are a genius 🙂

2 Amy May 9, 2011 at 9:08 am

I must agree that is quite clever. I love the idea.

3 Mandy Ford May 9, 2011 at 9:32 am

What a genius idea! You’ve inspired me to try something similar with a really ill-placed heating control that is in the middle of one of our walls. 🙂

4 Emily@remodelingthislife May 9, 2011 at 9:43 am

Genius. I hadn’t even noticed it when you posted the project before.

5 The Thriftress May 9, 2011 at 9:50 am

Love it! A perfect way to camouflage the light switch. So smart.
The Thriftress´s last blog post ..Quick Mothers Day Craft

6 Holly May 9, 2011 at 9:58 am

Brilliant idea! In my son’s room, the light switch is nearly dead centre of the first wall you see when you look out of the room (make sense?). So you can’t put a dresser there, and a bookcase can only be so-high and so-wide. Its terribly annoying. So I currently have an IKEA bookcase there, but it looks way too small for the size of the wall. Seriously, light switches should be a few inches from the door frame…not way out in the middle of blue yonder!

7 Polly @ Helping Little Hands May 9, 2011 at 10:04 am

Great solution. I love how it blends in.

8 Jessi May 9, 2011 at 10:24 am

What a wonderfully creative solution!!! I love it!

9 Sam May 9, 2011 at 11:18 am

Brilliant Idea Kimba! Do your guests ever get confused looking for the light switch? It is perfectly camoflauged!

My light switches are usually easy to reach, but strangely some of them are placed in other rooms. I turn on my kitchen light by using the switch in the dining room, and vice versa with my family room. Can’t wait to build a house and do it right!
Sam´s last blog post ..Happy Mother’s Day

10 katie paxton May 9, 2011 at 11:20 am

What a great idea. Wow what a thinker you are.

11 Staci May 9, 2011 at 11:44 am

Very clever! It looks great!

12 Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage May 9, 2011 at 11:49 am

HOLY COWS!!! You didn’t?? You didn’t put a map on a light switch plate?? You. Are. My. Hero. Seriously.
Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage´s last blog post ..Thrifty Finds – Found Pillow and Vintage Ruler

13 jill May 9, 2011 at 11:53 am

this. is. genius!!!
Never would have thought of it, but it totally looks like part of your gallery wall now!
hey, we’re celebrating over on our blog with a giveaway -love if you’d come check it out!
jill´s last blog post ..Giveaway Time! Be Grateful Mirror!

14 Susan @ Busy at Home May 9, 2011 at 12:04 pm

That’s a great idea! It really does blend in, and the map is fun. I’ve got some u-g-l-y switches in the playroom I’m redoing right now and maybe this is just the kind of thing I need. Thanks for the idea!

The gallery wall looks fabulous!

15 Jenn May 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm

What a great idea! It looks wonderful!

16 Brandi May 9, 2011 at 1:49 pm

I certainly feel the pain of a poorly placed light switch. I live in a house that not only has the lights for the bathroom OUTSIDE the bathroom door on our bedroom wall but also the lights for my kitchen are in the living room! Obviously, I would not recommend this builder. Idiot!

17 Whitney May 9, 2011 at 2:06 pm

None that are poorly placed but one that still isn’t wired in… *ahem* We’ve lived here for over a year, so I’m doubting it ever happen. Fabulous idea!

18 Kelsey May 9, 2011 at 2:45 pm

LOL, that is pretty great! I would have never thought of that… totally impressed 🙂

19 Kate May 9, 2011 at 2:48 pm

THAT is absolutely brilliant! I’m stashing that idea for future reference.

20 Susan May 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Kimba, you take the cake!!! That’s so cute and so easy that even I might be able to do it!
Susan´s last blog post ..Put your bathing suit on

21 Rachel May 9, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Yup…first word I thought of was also genius! Love it….

22 stacy May 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm

seriously? may i borrow your mind for a weekend? i have lot’s of issues to solve in my home! what a brilliant idea.
stacy´s last blog post ..the den is done

23 Emmalina Lolly May 9, 2011 at 4:35 pm

What is great idea!! I love when maps are used as decor. I don’t know what it is about it.

My childhood house had lots of light switches that were located on the outside of the room.

In the kitchen of our present house, there are THREE switch plates next to the entry door that each of multiple light switches on them- I don’t even know what I’m turning off and on! And across the room, there is another switch plate with four switches. WHO PUTS FOUR MULTI-SWITCH PLATES IN A ROOM!?!?!

24 Renee May 9, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Oh, we have plenty of oddly placed switches especially in the family room. There’s one that’s above my head (and I’m 5’6″!) and there’s another on that same wall that doesn’t seem to be connected to anything!

25 Jen May 9, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Very creative and clever!

26 Kerri May 9, 2011 at 5:50 pm

This is so seriously cute, and very clever! We are developing our basement at the moment (as I know you are too) and we have a wall with a similar ill-placed switch; this was despite my efforts to ensure the switches were all placed well to leave room for art! I am now excited to use your little trick as I also plan to do a gallery there. Love your blog.

27 Shawna May 9, 2011 at 5:54 pm

SO SMART!!! Love this!

28 Gina May 9, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Genius! I love decopage’ing the light switch plates around my house. Another good thing to do is just paint them the color of the wall. I have one like that over my desk – the Anthropologie cover I bought for it didn’t cover the whole thing, so I camo’d it with wall paint. Looks great and no one has noticed the discrepancy…

29 kim May 9, 2011 at 9:48 pm

So funny that you posted this; we just moved into a new home and had the electrician move a light switch into the closet that was no only outside the closet in the bedroom, but it was behind the door, so I could either close the door and get to the switch, or I could reach my little fingers through the hinged part of the door when it was open and reach it. LOL Who thinks these things up?

30 Katie May 9, 2011 at 10:14 pm

That is so clever! Our linen closet’s missing a light … not exactly the same but it still drives me crazy! 🙂

31 Pat May 9, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Now the kiddos need a map of the wall, to know which frame to fumble around in ?!!!

I love it!

32 Kerri May 10, 2011 at 8:38 am

I love that gallery wall and to be honest, I didn’t even realize that it was a light switch, it just looked like art to me….well done!!!

33 Amelia@ Wind Chimes May 10, 2011 at 6:01 pm

I used to hire a professional carpenter and electrician to fix some of my light and light switch problems. I’m too girly before and I can’t rely on my husband because he’s always out of town.

I love what you’ve done with the map Kimba. It’s unique and sassy. Go girl…
Amelia@ Wind Chimes´s last blog post ..Create an Enchanting Evening with Garden Decors

34 Mod Podge Amy May 11, 2011 at 12:07 pm

What a great way to incorporate a stinker! 😀 I love it!
Mod Podge Amy´s last blog post ..The Mod Podge papered wall

35 Tracey May 12, 2011 at 10:20 am

Cute, Kimba! I did this with scrapbook paper, but I love the maps. I’m stealing this for my boys room.

36 Shilo May 12, 2011 at 6:45 pm


37 Journey11 May 14, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Awesome idea! I’ve got one that doesn’t even turn anything ON — smack dab in the middle of a central wall in my living room. I guess it used to go to a porch light, prior to the sunroom being added onto the front of the house. Why those previous owners didn’t remove the switch, I’ll never know… I’ve stared at it for a couple years now since we bought this place, trying to decide what to do with it. Thanks for the inspiration!
Journey11´s last blog post ..What Doesnt Kill Them Makes Them Stronger

38 Bromeliad May 19, 2011 at 9:09 am

Honey, that was brilliant.

39 marie May 19, 2011 at 10:03 am

i love this idea!!! and i really love your gallery wall. :o)

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