Adding Remotes To Our Bedside Lamps

Number five is alive! (Short Circuit, anyone?) I went with that intro because we recently added a helpful robot to our household (you know I’m into gadgets – I think my favorite post ever was this one entitled Super Toilet).

Let me start from the beginning. We’re big proponents of having lights that you can reach from bed. It sounds obvious, but for a while the only light in our first master bedroom was overhead and operated by the switch by the door (which feels miles away when you’re lying in bed half asleep). So until we installed the wall sconces two years into living there, we experienced a battle of wills each night to see who would have to make the trek to flick the switch. Picture both of us trying to fake-sleep to avoid having to be the one to get up.

And when we rearranged our bedroom last September, we nearly ignored our own advice. Since my bedside lamp was sunken back in that nook, it took a good stretch of my long monkey arms to twist the switch each night. People asked if it annoyed me and I honestly replied that it didn’t. What’s wrong with a little pre-bed stretching? It definitely still beats getting out of bed and walking across the room.

But over time… let’s just say that it wore me and my monkey arms down. My best description of the slow I-hate-this evolution would be this. A week or two of doing the pre-bed-arm-stretch = not so bad. A month or two of it = getting old. Three to six months of it = I’m finished with the straining of the arm (said a la Ben Stiller in this “I’m finished with the checking of the bags” clip). There are certainly worse problems in the world to have, but I’m always down for upgrades that make a room more functional – especially after six months of doing the harlem shake the sloppy swish the light limbo before bed.

And since we’re both really happy with the room’s layout except for this small lamp-reaching detail, the solution I had in mind was some sort of remote (which a bunch of you had actually recommended months ago when we shared the new arrangement). Initially I yearned to implement some Jetson-esque system that I could control from my phone (since it’s often the last thing to leave my hands each night). Then I briefly reminisced about The Clapper (which I had growing up, btw). But the things I was finding (like this system from Belkin) started to feel like overkill. Then I stumbled upon this $50 system that was marked down to just $19. Sold.

About a week after I ordered it, my little robot system arrived – and I was all dorked out about getting it hooked up. That’s when I discovered one major flaw in the design. The remote outlet is so big that no matter which outlet you place it in – the top or the bottom – it blocks the other one from being used. Bad robot.

And since the outlet behind my dresser needs to serve more than one electrical device, I was kinda annoyed at first. But it ended up being a blessing in disguise because it forced me to dig an old power strip out of storage so that I could plug the remote into that. Which meant that not only did I now have room for the bulky remote device, but I could plug everything else in at once (we used to rotate things out, so the fan or the baby monitor were only plugged in occasionally). Now that everything has power, this dresser is the quite the hub of activity.

But let’s not forget the best part. My mystical remote that makes light disappear right before our very eyes. Ooh. Ahh. (No strained arm muscles required.)

Of course, reaching for the remote on the dresser every night wouldn’t be much of an improvement. So with a little 3M velcro I stuck it to the side of our bed frame, where it’s 100% hidden from view beneath the bedspread after we make the bed.

I tell ya folks, this is the life.

And in case you’re wondering, I put one of the other remote outlets (since the set came with three total) in Sherry’s lamp so she doesn’t have to lift a finger to turn off her light either. Hers wasn’t as much of a stretch since it’s not set back in a nook, but I’m a gentleman, what can I say? It’s a far cry from the old days of negotiating who would have to get out of bed and hit the wall switch. Now I’m all “Oh, you must be tired honey. Let me get that light for you. You just rest.” #madhusbandpoints

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has added a simple techno fix that makes life a little easier. Are there any quick and handy updates going on in your house? Do you have The Clapper song in your head now? I do. Clap on. (Clap clap). Clap off. (Clap clap).

Psst- Today my lady wife is over on Style Me Pretty Living, just jabbering about “life behind the blog.”


  1. LMN says

    i’m not sure why, but i find this post to be hysterical. love the scene recreation, and the song at the end…well, it’s gonna be in my head all day. :-)

    • Jamie says

      I agree I was cracking up the whole time, and the official UVA Harlem Shake was hilarious! My favorite part was the “MAGIC!” photo

  2. Kim says

    Does the remote turn everything off that’s plugged into the outlet? So now that you have a power strip plugged into the outlet does the light, fan, charging station and monitor all shut off?

  3. Allison says

    We got something similar at Home Depot for our baby’s room. This way we can immediately turn on the lamp we have next to our glider without having to feel through a dark room to turn it on. I put the switch above our main light switch and just attached it with one of those 3M strips. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without it! We use it daily.:)

    A previous poster mentioned an outdoor one, I found this on the Home Depot site as well when I was looking for the one we got.

  4. Anne says

    I once won a Clapper at a white elephant party and we use it for the Christmas tree lights. No more bending down behind it and getting a face full of pine, but when the kids were little (<2) they would shriek with laughter or whatever and sometimes turn it on or off.

  5. says

    we’ve seriously considered the clapper – but at less than $20 this puppy is sold! meant to comment yesterday on the kitchen – looks wonderful, a kabillion times better than the dark woody eyeball room you originally had :-D

  6. says

    Haha I LOVE my remote lights! I absolutely disdain the overheads in my entire apartment, so I’m doing the “many layers of light” thing, especially in the bedroom (awesome, huge, white paper lantern in the corner), bedside lamp, fairy lights behind the bed… now I can control at least 2 of those via remote. I put the third remote switch in the bedroom facing mine, but haven’t really used it yet. I have a similar Belkin system… also on a power strip. it’s definitely a design flaw.

  7. says

    These are one of the best inventions ever! We use a similar one in our living room for a CB2 arc lamp that has the on/off control on the cord and it happens to be plugged in behind our couch. No need for awkward daily stretching and bending. Life saver.

  8. says

    I’ve been looking into buying one of these for our Christmas lights. Thanks for the heads up on the good price. Usually you would only get 1 for this price.

  9. Sarah says

    This post is one of the many reasons I love your blog so much! It cracked me up and now has me thinking of anything in our house I can buy this and use it for!
    Thanks Petersiks! Have a great Thursday!

  10. says

    Totally thought you were going to say you installed the clapper! LOL! Is that thing still on the market? The song is now in my head.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *