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A Glossary of Terms for Light Switch Plates

Light Switch Plates

They’re small and often overlooked when it comes to decorating, yet light switch plates, also known as wallplates, are the perfect way to enhance your decor without making a huge investment. Adding a nickel wallplate, for example, can enhance an entire wall or help create a focal point. Choose from a variety of other finishes and colors.

The best way to begin is to first understand the terminology used so that you are able to determine the type of wallplate you’ll need.

Types of Switchplates Configurations

The off-white or beige light switch found in countless homes around the country are called toggle or flip switches and are available in a single-toggle style, up to a five-toggle style switch plate. But there are other types to choose from.

Rockers: Also known by other names, such as Decora, designer, paddle, block, flat, or wide switches. The rocker switch is wider and offers a sleeker, more conventional appearance. Plates are available to accommodate up to five switches.

Toggle/Duplex: A configuration where the switchplate includes both a toggle light switch and an outlet plug-in opening (also known as a duplex opening) on the switchplate.

Toggle/Rocker switchplate: Includes a configuration with one or two toggle light switch openings and one rocker opening.

Finishes and Colors

Switchplates are available in a wide array of finishes, including woods, metals, and other creative styles.

Basic wallplates: The lowest-cost switchplates are available in smooth steel, stamped steel, and wrinkled steel (which has a textured finish). These switchplates are great for DIY projects and cost-effective for professionals who are installing a large number of them.

Metal wallplates: Choose from a variety of metals, including brass, bronze, chrome, copper, and the most popular style, a brushed nickel light switch.

Finishes: The finish on a metal light switch plate may be a subtle brushed style or a colorful patina design. For restoration projects, consider one of the antique-style finishes: a copper-resin, brass filigree, or textured faux stone style for your light switch plates.

Additional Considerations

Go for the latest trend in light switch plates by choosing a screwless wallplate. These contemporary versions are available in a bronze cast, satin, cast-metal or a nickel wallplate style, and have no visible screw holes.

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Matching screws are included with all wallplates.

Wallplate Configuration Chart

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