Tuesday, September 13, 2011

An easy and cheap way to add vintage character to a house

Sometimes the smallest things can make a big impact in a room.  When I first moved into this house I was contemplating all of the things I could do to give it character.  Then I prioritized those by A) the easiest and quickest to do and B) the cheapest.

One quick and cheap project I knew I could easily tackle was replace the big standard white plastic switch and outlet covers with ornate vintage covers with more character.   Once I had this project in mind, I began slowly collecting vintage switch/outlet covers from estate sales, architectural salvation stores, and anywhere else I came across them for a really good bargain.  (Let me not forget to mention that after I had collected these, I saw some in Home Depot for very cheap that would have been fine for my project.  It figures.)

Here are the "before" of the vintage switch plates that I collected:

And here is the "before" of the boring plastic switch plates on the wall:

After some white spray paint, here is the after:

It wasn't a major project, but I do think they add more vintage character to the rooms I placed these in. 

There are a few lessons I learned from this project.

1. If you spray paint something on cardboard, it will dry stuck to the cardboard (I was literally rolling my eyes at myself as I pried them off with a screwdriver and then had to peel away the paper cardboard stuck to the backs).

2. Those cheap little plastic cover plates cover up alot of mistakes behind them, such as bad paint jobs, outlet cut outs that are too big or poorly cut, and even a dead bug.  (I admit, I yelped and jumped).   If the vintage plate is smaller than the plastic plate, those blemishes might show. 

3. Some vintage switch/outlet plates are not the same size as modern outlets, and won't fit or will protrude oddly from the wall.

PS - Blogger finally made an Iphone app so you can blog on-the-go!   Have any of you used it, and what do you think?

This project was shared with:

Passionately Artistic's Linking Party
Saved By Loves Creations' Thrifty Thursday
The Shabby Creek Cottage's Transformation Thursday
Boogie Board Cottage's Masterpiece Monday
Common Ground's  Vintage Inspiration Friday
My Romantic Home's Show and Tell Friday


  1. I love the details on your switch plates! A great way to add charm.

  2. Very nice! I love how they are all unique from each other.

  3. I just loved the idea, even if it is not a big DIY project..I think I will do the same when we'll buy a home (hopefully next year).A visit from shabby creek cottage...if you have time plz check out my blog

  4. It's all in the details 'eh? GORGEOUS!!


    (would be tickled pink if you could drop by my space sometime too...

  5. I love these and I have always detested the plastic ones!! Great finds