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Switching your switches

Today I switched out some old lightswitches. It’s actually really simple to do, and can make a big difference in your home.

Why did I switch them? Well, It’s really been bothering me that they are so old and grimy. So, I ran to the hardware store and picked up some new bright white switches and got to work. It’s the small details like this that really help take your home to the next level.

A few months back, I wrote a post about switching my outlets from 2-prong to 3-prong. Compared to that project, this was a cakewalk. Not to mention each room only has 1 lightswitch, where most of my rooms have 3+ outlets. So it’s about a third of the work.

  1. First things first: SHUT OFF THE BREAKER. Ummm, duh, but yes.
  2. Unscrew the switch plate cover and remove it from the wall
  3. Unscrew the lightswitch from the wall… there’s usually a screw on the top and the bottom securing it to the wall
  4. Pull the switch away from the wall gently. The switch will be connected to wires on the side.
  5. Unscrew the screws holding the wires in place, and take note which wire goes in which slot.  Once the wires are removed from the switch, you can discard that nasty thing!
  6. Take your new switch, and make sure that it’s lined up so the on and off are set up with “on” on top, and “off” on the bottom. Make sure you can read the words on and off, and that they aren’t backwards.
  7. Attach the wires you removed from the old switch in the same way. Tighten the screws on the sides to secure the wires in place.
  8. Gently push the switch back into the wall, and secure it to the wall with the screws on the top and bottom.
  9. Make sure that everything looks flush and lined up, and apply the switchplate cover with the provided screws. You may have to purchase the new covers separately.
  10. Turn on the breaker and test everything! Bazinga!

That’s all there is to it! Another electrical skill under your belt! Electrical stuff isn’t very scary, as long as you SHUT THE BREAKER off you will be fine. Don’t get intimidated.

For an in-depth explanation try visiting doityourself.com or searching youtube for a video.


photo credit: Jones Design Company

Decor Corner: Decoupage Light Switch Plates

If you are looking for a way to jazz up the switches, you can buy some really cool switch plate covers these days. Try searching on Etsy for some really unique ones.

Another DIY project you can do is dress up some of your current switch plate covers or outlet covers with fancy scrapbook paper, leftover wallpaper or wrapping paper.

All you need is decoupage medium and a brush! Trace out the outlet cover and give yourself an extra inch or so. Slather the outlet cover with the glue, then pop the paper on the glue. After that dries, apply another layer of the decoupage medium right on top of the paper to seal it in. Screw the switch plate cover back on and you have a really cool looking cover that will stand out, or blend in, with your wall cover and decor!

Read in-depth instructions on the Jones Design Company blog.

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