Monday, June 16, 2014

It's the little things...switch cover switch

I always think it's the little details that make a house beautiful and interesting - things your eye registers, but not always the conscious part of your brain, that give just a little extra finishing touch.  Things like the outlet cover plates.

This weekend, I finally finished switching over the last of our builder-basic outlet/light switch covers for a little bit of fancy.

The regular sized plug covers are really easy - unscrew the existing plate, remove, and replace and screw in the new one.

Cable and phone jacks are a little more difficult, because the fancy plate makers don't make fancy plates for those.  And when they're right next to each other, it's hard to ignore how sad one looks next to the fancy new one.  So, you have to improvise a little.

I'll start with the cable jack.  

 You'll need:

  • A new plate cover - rectangle/rocker switch opening
  • A screwdriver with Phillips and Straight blade ends
  • An inset cable outlet 

Unscrew the existing plate from the wall.  It'll be directly attached to your cable wire.  Unscrew it.

Then, simply screw wire to the new plate inset.

My packet came with long and short screws.  You'll want to use the long ones to attach it to the box.  Throw the little ones away or hoard them - either way, you don't need them for this project.

Then, use the little pretty screws that come with the new plate to attach it to the insert.  These screws are a little bit bigger than the plate opening anticipated, but with a little bit of force, they go in just fine.

 Isn't that so much better?

Now, on to the phone jack (yes, we are dinosaurs who still have a landline).

You'll need the same supplies as above, just with a telephone inset instead of a cable one.

Same deal here - unscrew the plate from the wall, and all the wires/connectors will come with it.

Yellow is top left, Black is top right, Red is bottom left, Green is bottom right

My insert plate has colored screws, but my existing plate didn't.  So you'll have to look at the wires coming out of the middle to tell which goes where.

Here's your basic step-by-step
  • loosen all screws
  • disconnect one existing wire
  • wrap wire around matching colors screw
  • tighten screw
  • repeat until all wires reconnected

When all your wires are connected, use your long screws (again, toss or stash the little ones) to attach the insert to the box.

 Once it's attached, install the fancy plate with its fancy screws.  Remember that you'll have to give it a little oomph to seat the screws initially.

et viola - so fancy, so simple.

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