An outlet covered by any other name still serves the same purpose. It’s designed to cover up the electric cabling behind it and allow you to plug in whatever you need. They come in different sizes, shapes, and styles, and they’re used for a variety of purposes. You may have heard them referred to as switch plate covers or wall plates.
Most homes feature both single or duplex outlet plates. A single outlet cover allows you to plug in one cable. A duplex outlet cover has room for two. The duplex cover can be arranged vertically or horizontally. Even with a single outlet cover, there are variations. For example, the single wall plate design works with appliance outlets, such as a stove or a dryer.
A duplex cover doesn’t necessarily have to be used for two outlets. It can be used for a combination switch, where the top might be a light switch and the bottom an outlet.
Light Switch Covers
The most common light switches are toggle switches, and the covers for those are simple. You can also install a rotary dimmer switch with a regular toggle light plate. A decorator rocker plate gives you more flexibility and looks a little nicer. These types of covers work with rocker switches, sliding dimmer switches, and GFCI outlets.
Coax & Phone Jack Plate
Most homes still feature a coax plate to hook up cable TV or satellite. There’s often only one of those in the living room and maybe another one in the main bedroom. You’re probably also used to seeing phone jack plates where the phone line comes into the house. As people switch to streaming services and cell phones instead of home phones, you may see fewer of these types of outlet covers.
In many multi-story homes, you’ll find more than a light switch per wall plate. Commercial buildings can have a row of switches, whereas homes usually don’t exceed four gangs or switches in one location. Next time you find yourself in the hallway, pay attention to the number of switches on the same outlet cover. You might be surprised at the variations in your own home.
It’s also possible to combine different switches. For example, you might have a wall plate with two outlets and a light switch. You can also often find a phone jack and cable jack together. For a light switch, you might find a combination of rocker and toggle switch.
Even though it may seem like all light switch covers are the same size, this is not the case. While the toggle switch itself is a standard size, the cover may be standard, midsize, or jumbo. If you choose to have several switches together, the size of the cover will also increase.
Did you know that you’re not stuck using generic wall plates for your home? Even though this may be the norm, you can find a number of unique styles to fit your needs. You can even have your light switch covers blend in with your walls by selecting different materials, such as copper, bronze, or even stone.