DIY Inspiration - Upgrading to Steel Electrical Socket Cover Plates

Article Topics:

  1. Steel Plug Sockets

  2. Standard Socket Covers

  3. USB Charging Sockets

  4. Wi-Fi Extenders

  5. Metallic Finishes

  6. A Note on Fitting


Often it's attention to detail that really separates the good from the great, especially when it comes to interior design. Those details, such as light fittings, door handles, furniture fabrics and architectural trims, when well considered, can raise the impact of a space.

Steel socket covers and switches in a modern kitchen

Steel Plug Sockets

A hardware detail that can enhance a room’s visual appeal, for relatively little expense and work, is the ubiquitously invisible electrical socket.

Upgrading plug socket covers from stock white plastic to steel, in a variety of metallic finishes, will help elevate your home decor.

Plug socket covers - chrome switches - vat

In this article we'll take a closer look at steel plug socket plates as an upgrade option, and what's available in terms of functionality, configuration and finishes.

Let's begin with standard steel plug sockets.

Double plug socket - polished chrome finish - including switches

Standard Socket Covers

Compared with stock white plastic plug sockets, steel cover plates take the humble plug socket from purely functional to a feature detail in a room, in the living room, bedroom or kitchen.

Steel socket covers often have a slimmer profile than plastic ones, and often have bevelled edges for a softer, more sophisticated look, are flat, or screwless.

Double steel plug socket

As you might expect, steel plug covers come in a variety of configurations: single and double sockets and combination plates, with additional smart charging and connectivity options.

Upgrading to steel plug cover plates is a straightforward DIY job, so can be a relatively inexpensive way to upgrade a space in your home — more on that later.

Steel switch covers - double socket - brushed brass finish

Let’s continue by looking at plug socket USB charging.

USB Charging Sockets

It seems that we need more plug sockets in our homes than ever, largely down to the increase of personal digital devices in recent years.

Plug socket covers on desk top charging laptop

Often items such as phones and other consumer electronics charge via USB. The initial solution to this need was to use power socket adapters that plug into the mains, with a USB socket built in. Not a very elegant solution.

MacBook and phone on wood table


As a result, mains designers built in USB ports to cut out the need for cumbersome adapters, making charging devices much easier.

With steel plugs you can select USB-C and USB-A port capability for fast charging delivery, to free up power points for other appliances — a good reason alone to consider upgrading.

USB double mains socket - satin chrome finish

Wi-Fi Extenders

As their name suggests, Wi-Fi extender mains sockets help increase Wi-Fi coverage in the home or office. They help to boost weak coverage and eliminate dead zones for more consistent connectivity.

Wi-Fi extender plug socket - switches on plate edge - with USB port and antenna

Working with your wireless broadband router, Wi-Fi extender plug sockets are straightforward to setup. There are several different methods, using a QR code, URL or via WPS on your router.  

Wi-Fi Extender Location

Remember that the purpose of a Wi-Fi extender is to boost low coverage areas and dead zones, so for example if your low zone is at the back of your house and your router is at the front, you would want to have your extender in the middle, not in the low zone itself.

To find just how easy it is to get going with an extender mains socket, take a look at this short video.

The Growing Importance Of Cover Plate Finishes

Brass double plug socket on wall with person vacuuming  a hard floor

As we need more power sources in our homes than ever, it makes sense for us to want them within easy reach, at desk height and on counter tops for example.

That means their aesthetic appeal is as important as their functionality, harmonising with an interior, blending or contrasting with a room’s decor.

Extender plug socket on wall charging a phone - match decor

Making an Impact

There are a range of metallic finishes for steel socket cover plates, varying from modern contemporary to classic traditional. Finishes and colours include polished chrome, brushed steel, antique brass and more.

Modern kitchen in dark blue and steel finish

Which finish you choose will depend on the current decor in your room, and whether or not you want to match your plug sockets with existing hardware, such as light switches or fittings, or you want to make more of a statement so your plug sockets standout as a feature.

A Note on Fitting

While upgrading to steel mains plugs can be a simple DIY job, it must be stressed that only for those DIYers who are confident and competent when it comes to basic home electrical work.

Plug socket being unscrewed - metallic finish

The installation process is as simple as switching off the electricity supply on your consumer board to the power point you want to upgrade, removing the old socket and wiring up and fixing in the new one.

Open consumer board with open wiring

If you have any doubts at all, either get help from a fellow DIYer who deals with electricity regularly or hire a professional to do the job for you.

Inside plug socket - plastic protect electrical wiring filters

Here's a quick video guide to give you an idea of what's involved.

Final Thoughts

As we've seen, upgrading your stock, white plastic plug sockets can make all the difference to the look and feel of a room. And modern functionality such as USB charging and Wi-Fi extenders provide more convenient living.

Metallic plug socket with plug being switched on

Choosing steel plug sockets in the right metallic finish will help elevate spaces in your home. Being a relatively straightforward DIY job, and the lower cost of a good quality steel plug socket, upgrading can be done quickly and inexpensively.

For more DIY inspiration check out the Hiatt Hardware blog where you'll find articles and guides on a wide range of renovation and interior design topics.