Backsplash Tips - Part 2, Dealing with Outlets and Switches

You can have the most beautiful, expensive tile with a fabulous pattern for your kitchen backsplash and ruin it with a few missteps. Not dealing with the outlets and switches in a splash can render it the biggest eyesore in the room. Doesn't this above just scream, "You forgot about me!"

Each project is different and has different circumstances so there are no hard and fast rules except one, you don't want them to stand out or contrast with your material. You don't want outlets and switches to take the thunder away from the star, your beautiful backsplash.

The best way to do that is to blend. I usually recommend having the electrician change out all the electrical in the splash to a standard color that is as close to the backsplash field color as possible. Then, you are really only paying for labor, outlets are not that expensive. Standard colors are white, light almond, ivory, brown, and black. Stainless covers are also available and can blend in to a lot of materials. If you are using travertine, a light almond is good. Ivory for a more yellowed color of tile and brown is good on wood, like on an island. It doesn't have to be perfect, just not such a high contrast. It's not just the plates, the receptacles need to be changed too, that's why you need an electrician.

These dark outlets really distract from the pattern of the backsplash in this kitchen. A light neutral would have helped hide them.

The white outlets here interrupt the pattern and have a high contrast with the gray tile. Your eye goes right to the bright white spot. A gray color and a horizontal mounting at the base of the splash would have been a good solution.

Simple white outlets on this white tile would have blended in.

Lutron controls have a great color selection to choose from. They are somewhat more costly than standard outlets and switches, but you can really get a good match and a very sophisticated look for your backsplash.

Some contractors and designers like to put a plug strip directly under the upper cabinets. While it can create a clean look, if you plug anything in, the cord is highly visible.

If you are going to use your outlets a lot on that wall or leave items plugged in, the trailing cord can be more unsightly than the outlet. It's also a pain to bend down and look under the cabinet to see where the outlet is every time you want to plug something in.

Here is a standard light almond color outlet on a neutral tumbled limestone splash. It blends in really well.

The outlet above is mounted horizontally and blends with the backsplash colors. This is a Lutron greige color and is as inconspicuous as possible.

The outlets here are mounted horizontally and fit within the size of the tile and just underneath the inset. The expensive handmade glass tile mosaic is uninterrupted. This takes careful planning when locating the outlets on the wall.

A beautiful kitchen with unobtrusive outlets and switches. You notice the marble tile, not the white switch plates.

Careful planning and attention to detail are essential to making the most of your backsplash. You don't want to spend all that money on beautiful tile just to ruin it with an ill placed, contrasting outlet.

For more info on backsplash design see this post.....Walls of Tile

Check out my new blog, Designed w/Carla Aston. See you there!

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