Archives For living room

Goodbye lamps

April 11, 2014 — Leave a comment

Four big windows and seven lamps. That’s my living room. During the day the four windows help light the room, at night it takes all seven lamps to light this room. That’s a lot of lamps.

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A few months ago the floor lantern (bottom left, from IKEA about six years ago) finally broke (it had been through a lot). And when I started working on managing the cords near the TV, I decided it was time to let the metal floor lamp go (bottom middle, purchased on craigslist, but it’s IKEA also) because it was cluttering up that area, and it doesn’t give off a ton of light.

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So now I’m down to five lamps, which still sounds like a lot, but it’s actually a problem since this room is so big with no overhead light. I loved the light the lantern gave off, it was perfectly diffused, and the location was perfect. Easiest solution would be to just buy the exact same lantern to replace it (it’s only $29.99!), but even though I love the light it gives off, I’m not sure it’s the coolest looking lamp… so that’s it.

Those are all the thoughts I have about lamps today. Sometimes I take away things from my design and I don’t have a plan to replace them. And I’m okay with that. I often make super rash decisions, but every once and a while I take my time to make decisions. So lamps. That’s what I choose to take my time on. Yeah, I have no idea either.

As you might remember, I have cord problems. They are everywhere, especially in my living room. I’ve been putting off dealing with them for the last oh… uh, two years. But I finally got around to dealing with some of them this weekend. And of course, it only took me 15 minutes and $1 to deal with them. Note to self: Do more projects you’ve been putting off.

The Before:

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This is the situation I’ve been dealing with around my TV. I have three lamps, a TV, DVD player, and a digital antenna plugged into two different power strips which are all jammed behind this dresser. After writing about my cord issues, so many people inspired me with ideas. This one in particular stuck with me:


My friend Katie shared it with me. I liked it a lot, but since I’m trying to avoid spending money right now I thought I’d have to wait until I had money to buy a fancy box. But then I had a brilliant idea. A few years ago I bought four standing file boxes from the dollar spot at Target. I thought they were cute and at the time I needed them to organize papers.


I currently am only using one of them and the other three were stuck in the back of my closet. So my brilliant idea was to use them for cord management.

Here’s what I did:

1) Unfolded box


2) Inserted the power strip, and then began to fold the box back together and then snipped the box where the cord interfered with the folding.


That’s it. It was super easy.

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I didn’t take a picture of the other side, but just imagine a a power strip sitting on the long side of a file box. Okay, that may be hard to imagine…

Next I started plugging everything in. I actually got rid of one of the lamps and one of the power strips so I was left with the one power strip and five cords.

Once everything was plugged in, I started to wrap the cords up. I didn’t have twist ties so I used black pony tail holders to hold them together.


Once all the cords were wrapped up, I stuffed them in the open part of the file box. At this point I realized I had no place to put the antenna box. It usually just lays around on the floor because it actually doesn’t really work. I only get three channels and those only come in sporadically so I haven’t watched live TV in two years. But it needed to go somewhere and when I noticed  it had a picture hook on the back of it, I decided I would just hang it up to get it off of the floor.


It was getting there. A few more cords wrapped and shoved in the box and voila!

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Before and After:

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Okay so the yellow file box doesn’t exactly blend in, but it is one step closer to a solution. My plan is to paint it, probably using the living room wall color, but I wanted to make sure it actually worked before I went to the trouble of painting it. I also still need to get a cord cover to cover the cords coming from beneath the TV. But starting the project has to count for something, right??

This is the second installment of my ‘Use What You’ve Got’ series. I’ve got to say I’m loving this series! It is getting me out there into people’s homes helping them rearrange what they have. It’s good fun for everyone! You can see the first post in the series here.

This post is all about Kim’s living room. Kim is an auction-buying expert so she and I had a good time talking about all our thrifted wares. But unlike me, Kim loves to resell her auctioned items and keeps her house more streamlined and minimalistic. She asked me to help her with her living room, but because I am like the most forgetful blogger every I forgot to take a true ‘before’ picture. Oops! Here is a semi-before picture (we had already started shifting things around).

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When I got there the chair was actually on the left and the table was on the right and was being used as a desk with a desk chair. I didn’t take a picture of it, but the arm chair was sort of blocking the path into the living room.

Since I wanted to moved the chair to the left the desk went to the right (like it is above). I don’t think the table is actually a desk, it is the right height and width to be considered a credenza or sofa table so I thought it would be interesting to try it out as that.

But then once the table was moved, the art looked weak and made the wall look small so I looked for something else to add to the wall. Above Kim’s TV she had this awesome fan that I decided to move to this wall (she has already made plans to get something else for above the TV).

Little House Design: Use what you've got series, Kim's living room wall

I really like the fan there! It was the perfect piece to spread the art out and make the wall look more important, more of a focal point. Once we had the art set we started playing with different items to decorate the table with (hence all the stuff everywhere).

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It took us quite a while to get there with the styling. Sometimes it just takes a while to find the right accessories to fit a space and that’s okay! I’ll try anything when I’m styling… baskets, picture frames, books, flowers, plants, really anything is potential. Even though it took us a while to get there, I’m happy with the end result. The wall is now a focal point and the left side is now more open for easier access to the room.

And since I was already there, I helped Kim with one last thing.

Like in most houses, Kim’s kitchen cabinets stop about 12-18 inches before the ceiling. She’s struggled with what to put up there so she admits she just stuck a bunch of stuff up there so it wasn’t empty.

Little House Design: Use what you've got series, Kim's living room wall

I told her that in my opinion, you don’t necessarily need anything above cabinets. So we took everything down to see what she thought of it.

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This side also had a bunch of stuff up there, but I like it so much better now that it’s clean and simple. We left the ‘EAT’ letters up there because I liked them and they draw the eye up without making that area cluttery. I’ve done a post before about what to do with the top of cabinets so I think there are cool things you can do like a collection or monochromatic layering but I also don’t think that blank space is the worst thing ever. The top of my new bookcase are still empty and maybe they will stay that way.

Anyway, it was a really fun night at Kim’s house and I think we did some great work!

Want to get in on this series? Here is how you can be a part of it:

– You live in the greater Indianapolis area

– You have a specific area in mind that you want help with and you are willing to act on the project while I’m there (for example, if you want me to help you lay out a gallery wall, you’ll need a hammer and nails because we’re hanging them up that day!).

– You have to be willing to let me photograph our project for use on this here blog :) I’ve decided to do this series as a free service because I love doing this sort of stuff and it gives me content for my blog. It’s a win-win!

– I won’t be able to get to everyone but I’d like to do one a month so if you are interested and you fit the criteria fill out the Contact form and we’ll get the ball rolling! Get excited!