*** Please note, for a less effusive version of how we installed an extra long sofa table/shelf, see my post "She Was Blinded by the Light, the Short Story." ***
One of the reasons I care about Decent Order in my home and my life is because I am easily overstimulated. Noise, information, activity, caffiene, clutter, and more... too much of anything makes me go into either a panic-like state or a partial shutdown until I can make the over-stimulation stop.
I could add "light" to the list of over-stimulators... not just any light, really, but man-made light. Evenings at home are usually low light... no ceiling lights, only lamps are afire, and only certain rooms at that. It drives my mom nuts. When she visits, she starts throwing lights on at all times of the day, not just at night. I find myself tracing her steps by turning light switches off because my nerves are raw from the blast of overhead light.
There were three lamps in my living room (including this one, a favorite) that were not adequately lighting the room as a whole, but they were overstimulating me constantly because, individually, they were far too bright. I fiddled with the angle of this Ikea Barometer lamp a lot, trying to get it to light up my reading, but not blast me in the face across the room. With every tweak I made, it still was never right. I offhandedly complained to my husband about it and he suggested changing the bulb to a lower wattage. This sounded counter-intuitive to me, since the living room didn't have enough light, but I thought it could be worth it to not have an interrogation light in my house.
We replaced the bulb with an incandescent (how very unhip of us) 40 watt bulb and ... my life changed. I felt pressure release from me. So weird how something like a too-bright-bulb can affect general well-being. And, seriously... why didn't I think of this before?!
In fact, it felt so good that we went around the house like lunatics and changed many of our bulbs to lower wattages. One of the biggest (and most relief-full... is that even a word?) changes was when Dave installed 40 watt-ers in the sconces outside our front door. Because the lights are visible from the living room (due to the split-foyer layout and a huge window above the front door), if those lights were on for guests , I noticed how glare-y and annoying they were and rushed to turn them off once people arrived or left. Now.... ahhhh, they have a much softer glow and still do the job of illuminating the door and front step.
Back to the living room, though.... I no longer had the interrogation light, which was fabulous, but now the room was even dimmer with the three lower wattage bulbs. No getting around it...I had to have more lamps. But, there wasn't floor space to add floor lamps and we have no side tables on which to set table lamps. We couldn't add side tables, because our sectional is gigantic and takes up a lot of space. To add side tables would mean blocking a hallway or losing a doorway to the kitchen, neither of which were options.
The only viable option was to bring in a sofa table. But, the table would have to span the whole length of the wall (since the sectional is actually a wee-bit longer than the wall)... this was over 100 inches. Did you know that it is almost impossible to find a sofa table that is 100 inches long? Well, at least not for the amount of money I wanted to spend. We would have to build or rig up something ourselves.
I remembered Young House Love's custom-built sofa table from a little while back. So practical, so pretty and tons of surface area to put things like lamps! I toyed with the idea of building a similar table myself, until I realized that was psycho. If my husband had more time (okay, let's be real, if he had more energy), we could probably build it together. But, that isn't going to happen any time soon. And I need more (low-wattage) light!
We decided to install Ikea brackets and shelving to serve as a pseudo-sofa table. It would provide the horizontal surface area needed, but there would be no building at all. Only installing a few heavy-duty anchors and Ekby Bjarnum brackets. We would install four brackets to hold three shelves (they were unfinished/stainable wood planks) and could cut them to the exact length needed in order to span the wall. We also wanted to attempt to hit as many studs as possible, so we cut the middle board to fit between two studs (about 3 feet apart), and then cut the two end boards to fill the rest of the wall. Does that make sense? The two outer boards are actually not the same length as the middle board. But, it is absolutely impossible to tell and even if it was, it would not be a problem.
I stained the boards, which took approximately ten years.
Fine. It took like a few weeks because I didn't like how any of the stains looked, which meant I kept running in to Lowe's whenever I happened to be out.
Dave ended up installing the shelves while we were kidless during my tonisillectomy recovery. When I started feeling better, I bought this tripod surveyor's lamp (and linen drum shade) at Target, and dug around my house til I found an Ikea Forsa lamp that sat never-used.
And here she is, the new shelf :
The lamps :
That evening, I turned on the new lamps, along with the rest of the room's lighting, for a total of FIVE low wattage light sources. My anti-over-stimulation joy was complete. And, the room felt whole. It was cozy and perfectly lit. I could use the Forsa lamp not only for ambient light, but also for reading or quilting in front of the TV.
I lowered the photo behind the sectional so that it is now about six inches above the
A couple of close-ups :
|Close-up of one of the Ikea brackets used to hang the three shelves.|
|I want to add more old photos like this one I stole from my mother's house a couple of weeks ago. It's me at a few months old, my pretty mommy and her handsome father.|
A really great lamp-related post from Nester... and there are links to more lamp posts from her at the end!