As with most older homes, our house has been treated to a lot of room painting since its original construction. Some was done by professional painters, and some was…welll…not. Oddly enough, it is the painting of the professionals that got me steamed this time.
I am not sure what exactly you get when you hire a professional painter, but I assume that the rule is, “If it’s on the wall, we paint it.” At least, that is what I gathered from the lightswitch plates in our kitchen. Some of these are in their vintage glory, chrome plates that are just as pretty as the day they were screwed on. Others aren’t doing so hot, having been subjected to at least a few coats of paint. They must of have been the plates the previous owners forgot to take off the wall before the painters came.
We threw around a few ideas while painting our kitchen ourselves (all plates were off, thank you!). My first instinct was to just replace the painted plates with new ones. But there were a few problems with that. Metal switchplates are expensive when you have to replace more than a few, and since we just bought the house we were on a budget. New also wouldn’t match the shape of the originals, even if the metal matched. Especially the springloaded switches, which I don’t even know if you can buy plates for anymore! So we came up with an alternative solution.
Metal spraypaint. Krylon Premium Metal spraypaint, to be exact. It says it resembles metal plating on the can, and I would have to say it comes pretty close to doing just that. Take a look at our finished products:
I do have to say, I think this switch turned out the best. This is from the master bedroom, and all the switches had been painted, so we weren’t sure what color they originally were. However, they all have this great, wrinkled tinfoil pattern. I think the chrome paint really brought out the details in this cool switch.
This is the gold from the set of switches in the living room. The texture underneath is from the painting over of the switch, and it does show under the gold, but only if you are really close to it. Otherwise, I think it turned out well. The gold switchplates are an unexpected pop on the Porcelain walls.
The process was relatively simple, as with most spraypainting. We laid down a plastic tarp on the floor of the garage, laid out the plates and sprayed them down well. We also sprayed the screws for the plates, since they had been painted over as well.
Ta-Da! New looking plates for under $10. We bought two cans of paint (one Chrome and one Gold) and had enough to do all the plates in the house! Now I am seriously thinking about spraying some of the 1980’s light fixtures over the fireplace….