Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Push Button Switches Get Their 15 Minutes of Fame

Push-Button Switches Make Their Film Debut in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire


Well, more like 5 seconds of fame, but who's really counting?

If you pay attention to detail like I do, you'll not only get very distracted watching TV because you can't stop noticing continuity errors - you'll also see these push-button switches make a cameo in the newest Hunger Games movie The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The movie is set in some unknown time in the future, yet these old-fashioned, antique style switches are mostly found in older homes today.

At Kyle Switch Plates, one of our most frequently asked questions is, “How can I get push button switches to match my modern home d├ęcor?" People struggle to fit the standard shimmery pearlized knob buttons (shown above) into their warm color scheme.
Black Antique Reproduction Single Pole Push Button Light Switches

Our solution: Push Button Switches with Black Knobs, available exclusively online at Kyle Switch Plates. Offered in single pole, 3-way, 4-way, and in 300 or 600 watt dimmer configurations, these black devices are the perfect way to make your interior design come together with sophistication.

Our custom old-fashioned pushbuttons with black knobs add an elegant, cohesive look to your existing home fashions. Perfect for those who want the classic accents appeal of a pushbutton light switch with a simpler and uniform look. Add Arts and Crafts or Victorian era style to any room - your kitchen, bathroom, entry, living and family room, bedroom, office and more!

These sleek black pushbutton switches look fantastic with our Antique Brass push button switch plates (shown above) as well as our popular stainless steel and upscale polished brass cover plates. View all push button switch plate finishes and find the right combination for your home.

Color Knob Antique Style Push Button Light Switches
Have color in your home? Check out our exclusive line of colored push button knobs  - purple, blue, red, brown, gray or green - and add an extra pop of color to your walls.

Whether you're doing major home renovation or just want to update your old fashioned switches, consider keeping this timeless look with a few minor tweeks such as black or colored knobs and quality switch plates. Take a style cue from The Hunger a way that's much less dramatic than the wardrobe of Effie.

Decorative Pushbutton Switch Plates
If you really want to set your antique style push button switches apart, consider investing in some quality, decorative push button switch plates. All of our etched metal decorative switch plate designs are available on push button switch plates and they look phenomenal.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Switch Plate 101

As a female, I know a lot about the Real Housewives, gel manicures, and how to route every errand trip so I "just happen" to pass a Starbucks. I also know how many calories are in the grande Mocha Cookie Crumble - and that it's worth it (hands down!). What I do not know a lot about is switchplates. You know - those plastic thingies that surround the light switches and outlets in your home? You really don't even notice them until you update your decor with fresh new paint and have to 1) remove them and 2) discover they stand out way more when the wall is not painted white.

I shouldn't say I don't know a lot about wall plates - the truth is I didn't know a lot about them. But now I do, and it turns out they're not as complex as I thought! I've decided to decode them below, so if you don't know the difference between a "rocker" and a "toggle" you're in the right place.

Basic Switches: Toggle vs. Rocker

• Learn the Difference

The most common switches are "toggle switches" and "rocker switches" (sometimes called "Decora Rocker switches") and it's super easy to tell the difference. Toggle switches are small protruding switches that you flip up and down while Rockers are larger, flatter rectangular switches that you rock up or down. Toggle switch plates have a small rectangular opening and Rocker cover plates have a much larger rectangular opening, as pictured here:

• NOTE: How many switches are controlling a light? 

If you're updating your switches as well as your switch plates, you'll need to think about how many other switches control the same light (or ceiling fan) as the switch you're replacing. If a particular switch is the only switch for a certain light, you'll need a standard switch (known as a "singe-pole" switch). But if you have 2 separate switches (perhaps at opposite ends of a hallway) that control the same light, you'll need a 3-way switch. In other cases, you may have 3 separate switches controlling a single light, and you'll need a 4-way switch.

Outlets: Standard, Decora, and Safety Features

When you say "outlet" you may picture 2 plugs, but you also need to think about the overall shape of the device & whether it has those "reset" buttons in the center. The main things to consider when buying outlets: overall shape, capacity (15 amp vs 20 amp), GFI/GFCI (for outlets near water sources such as a kitchen or bathroom sink) and tamper resistant (for child safety - I, for one, stuck a key into the outlet when I was about 4 years old and it didn't feel so good!).

• Don't mistake the shape of your outlet.

Before ordering a replacement outlet cover plate, pay attention to whether your plate has 2 separate oval openings or a single rectangular decora style opening. Note that the decora plate is the same as the standard switchplate for a decora rocker switch (shown above).

• Amperage: Easily identify how many amps your outlet allows:

The term "amps" refers to the volume of current. Your outlet will be 15A or 20A. Look at your outlet to tell the difference - a 15A outlet has 2 straight slots and a 20A outlet has 1 straight and 1 "T" shaped slot, as shown here:

•  SAFETY FEATURES: Is the outlet required by law to be GFCI?

If you're replacing the actual device, note whether the outlet is currently a GFCI receptacle ("Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter" - also sometimes called GFI for "Ground Fault Interrupter") or whether it needs to be one. GFCI/GFI plugs prevent electrocution by cutting power to the outlet when a variation in electrical current is detected. Your kitchen, bathroom, hot tub, swimming pool areas, wet bar - anywhere near water - should have GFCI receptacles, which is an electrical code requirement. They can prevent death if an electrical appliance, such as a hair dryer, gets accidentally dropped in water. You can easily identify GFCI receptacles - they always have 2 buttons between the plugs (labeled "reset" and "test").

Another important safety feature for children is tamper resistance. When the outlet is not in use and nothing is plugged in, a tamper resistant outlet has little shutters that close off the openings (see image below). This prevents curious little children from getting a shock if they try to stick something into the outlet. The safety shutters only open when a plug is inserted causing both springs to be compressed at the same time.


Sizes: Important Terms to Understand

•  "Gang"

Switch plate width is know as "gang." A single-gang wall plate houses 1 switch or outlet, a wider double-gang plate houses 2 switches or outlets, a triple or 3-gang plate is wider and houses 3 devices and so on.

•  Regular, Narrow, Oversized, Jumbo - know the difference

Switch plate width and height varies depending on whether it's a standard plate, narrow, mid-size or oversized/extra large plate. Make note of any plates that don't match standard switch plate dimensions. Visit Switch Plate Sizes & Dimensions at Kyle Switch Plates for more info on sizing.


Combination Switch Plates

If you need a cover plate with more than 1 type of device, it's called a "combination plate." An example of a combo wall plate is a 3-gang plate with 2 toggle openings and 1 duplex outlet opening. Something to keep in mind is that switchplates can be rotated 180 degrees. If you see a cover plate that's "almost" what you need but the devices are in the "opposite" order, you can simply flip that plate over to fit your situation so keep that in mind when browsing combination plates.


Your #1 Switch Plate Source

Now that you're familiar with some important switch plate terminology and you know what specifically to look for when replacing your switch plates, you can easily find what you're looking for at

Kyle Switch Plates is an online store that specializes in regular and specialty switch plates and electrical devices in regular and unusual colors and finishes.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Larger Switch Plates Cover More Wall Space

A year ago we got a dog. Because we rescued her from the pound, we weren't sure exactly what breeds she had mixed in her, but we were told she'd get big. Very big. At the time, we had a small dog door which we knew she'd soon outgrow. To me, aesthetics are very important, so not just any dog door would do. After lots of research, we purchased what I considered to be the best (and best looking) dog door in the market. That was the easy part.

Next came the 2-day installation process and the worst mess the interior of my home has ever seen. In the early stages, while the guys were still mapping out their plan of attack, they discovered an unused outlet that was just sitting inside the wall. The previous home owners must have stashed it in there when they installed the original dog door. After I selected the perfect spot for this new outlet to be installed, they went a little nuts with the saw and I ended up with a hole in my wall that the outlet cover didn't cover. Thanks a lot guys!

Throughout the tedious installation process (in which a lot of things went wrong), this oversize hole in my wall was the easiest issue to fix. Turns out, even professionals make this mistake. A lot more often than you'd think. So, all it took was one extra large outlet cover and that little eye sore was gone.

In the end, the dog door turned out great. Especially after we built a frame to go around it.

Whatever the story behind the extra large hole in your wall, quickly find the solution with oversized wall plates at Kyle Switch Plates. You'll find a ton of different configurations of larger sized switch plates in an impressive selection of finishes. All quality switch plates made right here in the USA.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Switch Plates & Electrical Devices Made Easy

We've been around for a loooong time. So we were long overdue for a total overhaul of our website. After months and months of preparation, we've just launched our updated specialty site dedicated solely to switch plates and electrical devices (previously found at Kyle Design).

Kyle Switch Plates can be found at

Everything you need to replace your old wall plates, switches and outlets is available on our brand new, easy-to-navigate website.

And to make things even easier, we've got tips for avoiding common mistakes which will help make your home DIY project easier.

Visit Decoding Switch Plates & Electrical Devices to get a grip on the terminology the electrical industry uses to describe certain types of switchplates and devices - that will make your shopping a breeze!

Whether you're looking for standard or oversized switch plates in 17 quality finishes, matching switches and outlets, low voltage lighting or our custom decorative wall plates, you'll find everything you need and more to transform the look and feel of your home. Check us out!