4 Expert Tips To Choose Switch Plates

As new homeowners will discover, nothing is ever as simple as it seems and the same goes for choosing switch plates. There's a surprising amount of information available and choices to be made on switch plates, so we've put together this list of expert tips to help you make the best decisions possible.

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1. What are the types of switch plates available?

It probably comes as a surprise to discover that there are in fact, multiple types of switch plates available. There are actually a few technical differences that separate each type of switch and its necessary to understand them when choosing switch plates, so let's take a quick look at what they are.  

Decora 

Decora switch plates house a particular set of outlets or switches all designed to fit into the same opening, which is a rectangle approximately 2.5" in height by 1.25" in width. Normally, this opening is best suited for duplex power outlets, rocker switches and sliding dimmer switches

The decora shape is standardized, which makes swapping out or installing devices and switches easier. The wide opening is also particularly useful in installing wide rocker switches, which are easier for elderly people to use.

Decora Satin Nickel Switch Plates
Decora Switch Plates in Black and Silver Pewter
Decora Bronze Switch Plates
Matte Black Switch Plates
Victorian Styled Switch Plates in Nickel

Toggle 

Toggle switches are another extremely common switch type and look like a far narrower and smaller version of rocker or decora switches. These switches function identically to decora switches and are suitable for use at eye level.

Toggle 1-Light Switch Wall Plate
Bronze 2-Gang Toggle Switch Plate
Toggle Light Switch Plate in White
Brass 4-Gang Toggle Light Switch Plate
Floral Metal Toggle Light Switch Plate

Duplex

Duplex devices have two receptacles or switches on a single electrical box or housing. Normally, this housing is "single gang", which refers to the width of the electrical box or switch plate. It is possible for duplex switches to be found in multi-gang arrangements but these tend to be bulky and best used in locations out of direct eyesight.

White Duplex Switch Plate
Decorative Silver Duplex Switch Plate
Simple Bronze Duplex Switch Plate
Traditional Wooden Duplex Switch Plate
Decorative Chrome Duplex Switch Plate
Decorative Pewter Duplex Switch Plate

Dimmer

Dimmer switches are available as sliding, rocker, toggle and rotary switches that allow you to customize lighting in a room more than typical switches. Dimmer switches are a good fit for your A/V room or for creating ambiance in your dining or living room.

2. What gang should I use for my switch plates?

When discussing switch plates, you might've guessed that the word "gang" is not, in fact, referring to a group of hooligans. It describes the width of your electrical box and thus, the width of your switch plate. A single gang switch plate has the width for only one switch, a double gang the width for two and a triple gang the width for three switches.

It's likely necessary for you to consult with your electrician to get a comprehensive list of switch widths within your home, so you won't end up wasting time or your budget when purchasing.

1-Gang Switch Plate in Black
Deco 1-Gang Switch Plate in Gold Brass
1-Gang Switch Wall Plate in White
Classic Beaded 2-Gang Switch Plate
2-Gang Switch Wall Plate in Pewter
Golden Metal 2-Gang Switch Plate
1-Gang Switch Plate in Greek Style
Dark 1-Gang Switch Plate in Greek Style
Victorian 2-Gang Switch Plate in Silver
Rustic Wooden Styled 1-Gang Switch Plate
Simple Bronze 1-Gang Switch Plate
Classic Architecture 2-Gang Switch Plate in White

Lily is a modern designer with great appreciation for sleek architecture, a love for art in its many forms, and a passion for sharing her experience with people. If you’re looking for advice on how to modernize your old-fashioned place or make your new restaurant a visual blast, she’s definitely the one to ask.