When you think of a switch plate, we can probably guess the image that comes to mind: A white rectangle of plastic surrounding a single toggle switch, with one screw visible both above and below the switch. Considering the fact that these are the go-to standard in homes, it’s not surprising that this is what you picture. But switch plates actually come in a lot more varieties than that. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of switch plate covers available.
Types of Wall Plates
For starters, wall plates aren’t just for light switches. Here are the basic styles available:
- Toggle – These are the ones you picture, which are designed to fit a toggle switch.
- Media and data – These plates are designed to fit your phone jack, data ports, and other media input cords.
- Duplex – This one is for outlets; it features two separate, rounded holes for each outlet instead of a single cutout.
- Blank – The name is pretty self-explanatory; this is a plate with no cutouts, usually used to cover up unused outlets that have been removed while maintaining access to electrical wires.
- Combination – Any combination of the above inputs would require a combination wall plate that fits the desired configuration.
So, we’ve already identified five different types of wall plates, and we’re just getting started. All of the differences and various options outlined below can be applied to each of the wall plate types outlined above as well.
Wall Plate Sizes
Who says one size has to fit all? While most people simply opt for a standard-sized wall plate, there are typically three different sizes out there—standard, midsize, and oversize. Here are the dimensions of a single-gang plate in each of these three sizes:
- Standard – 4.5” x 2.76”
- Midsize – 4.88” x 3.11”
- Oversize – 5.51” x 3.5”
There are many reasons that people might consider a larger wall plate size, the most obvious being simple aesthetics. So if you’re looking for something a bit more stately than your average wall plate, the options are out there.
Number of Gangs
When talking about wall plates, gangs refer to how many outlets, switches, and/or ports you fit into a single plate cover. Your average bedroom will probably have a single-gang configuration to turn on the light. Some bedrooms might have a 2-gang plate to accommodate a switch for the light and a switch for the overhead fan. Depending on your needs, you can easily find up to 4-gang plates.
Style, Color, Material, and Finish
And this is where your options really explode. Even after considering the different types, sizes, and gang configurations available, you still haven’t even begun to look at all the options available to you. Because, yes, there is a lot more than white plastic out there for your switch plates. Your material options include metals of all types, various woods, ceramic, stone, and resin, just to name a few. Depending on the material you choose, you’ll have different finishes to choose from as well. And of course, all colors of the rainbow—and hundreds of others not in the rainbow at all—are also available.
So if you thought outlet cover plates only came in white plastic, think again. Take a look at our online catalog to get just a taste of the options that are out there.