A. Scratch a designer and she’ll say, "Lutron." Lutron (lutron.com) is a company that makes lighting control equipment, such as dimmers. Dimmers need switch plates, hence Lutron makes them, in both metal and plastic. With the unusually large selection of sophisticated colors and elegant finishes, it’s easy to find plates that blend in with your decorating scheme. A local distributor with a nice display is Evergreen Oak Electric/Crest Lighting (3300 N. Sheffield Ave., 773-525-8000).
Another fun place to look for switch plates is the second floor of Clark & Barlow Hardware (353 W. Grand Ave., 312-726-3010; clarkandbarlow.com). You’ll see everything from stamped metal switch plates that look like manhole covers to plain wood ones you can paint yourself. Also check out Oak Park Home & Hardware (133 N. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, 708-445-3606; oakparkhome-hardware.com), where the selection includes solid copper plates in designs and finishes that would work well in an Arts and Crafts–style home.