Monday, February 29, 2016

Cover those outlets!

I have a pet peeve in kitchen design.

Well, several, actually.  
But for today, let's talk about outlets in kitchens.

Building codes typically require lots of electrical outlets 
to be placed where they make sense, on paper. 
In reality, those places don't always look attractive. 

In a kitchen, outlets are required every several feet in the back splash area.
Where do you put them if your back splash design is important to you 
and the outlets land smack in the middle of them?

I have been designing kitchens for 25+ years 
and this is not a new problem.
With all of the gorgeous, not to mention expensive tile choices available these days, 
good planning is necessary for the end result to look just right.

Nobody wants to end up with this.

                                                   Outlets galore!

I'm not the first person to rail against this problem.  
about outlets and lots of creative ideas to cover them.

In my own kitchen, I wanted an even simpler solution. 
 I didn't use tile, I used V-groove paneling for my back splash areas.

You can see the outlets in these early kitchen photos.

My strategy was to install the outlets horizontally 
and as low as I could talk the electrician into doing.
That way, you can just place something in front of the outlet 
to cover it.  

In the photo below, 
I had him squeeze one in to the corner 

so I could put a little lamp there and not see the outlet.

(Darling Daughter was just home for the weekend and left her mark, above)

I could have painted the outlet covers to match the painted wood, 
but I haven't bothered because I hung some vintage prints there 
and the outlets never show.

With the V-groove paneling, it's easy to pop a tiny nail into the wood 
and hang a artwork right over those offending outlets.

When I need to use this outlet, I just put the print aside 
and rehang it when I'm finished.

Same thing on the opposite side of the cook top.

The prints are nice because they don't take up any working counter space  
and that's always a priority for me.

I did the same thing in my trusty old oak kitchen...

If you have tile, you can always just lean prints 
or cutting boards against the outlets, too.

I love this look from Patina Farms. 
This could work in a back splash area too.

My island has outlets, too, but I buried them 
in the overhang space where the seats are-

Because I wanted to avoid doing this...

to this...

This end panel is too pretty to disfigure with an outlet, don't you think?

The outlets are barely noticeable under the overhang, as you can see below.

It's easy to sit at the island and plug in a laptop 
or plug in the mixer if I'm making cookies and want to spread things out.

So, cover those outlets.
That's my helpful little tip for the day.

Linking to:
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Through Life
The Scoop at Stone Gable

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  1. This is MUST when designing a kitchen.
    So unsightly when the outlets are glaring and visible!
    I like your idea of the V-groove paneling . . .
    And perfect placement/balance of your prints . . . love them by the way . . .
    You design a beautiful kitchen Erin . . .

  2. Thank you for you help in this aspect of design.
    I have two questions:
    1. Are you still happy with the v-groove boards for your back splash?
    2. We are transplants in Chicago Land suburbs from Michigan. I am guessing , via your beautiful cottage post. that you might be in Michigan? I am guessing your "Grand" cottage is either in Grand Haven or maybe Mackinaw area? We love Lake Michigan especially from the Michigan shore... our country's "3rd coast " :)

    With Kindness,
    p.s. If i am wrong then i get to learn even more about wonderful lakes in our country!


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