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. Kim says

    You totally just solved my light switch conundrum. We only have room for one night stand so that’s where the lamp is, but boyfriend doesn’t ever want to walk around the bed in the a.m. to turn it on b/c he’ll wake me (the walls are slanted and it’s a small space).

    Now I can just do the remote thing for him! And I’ll probably just buy this now since he can put his phone in there too!

    I’m a nerd. But these little simplifications that make life easier really do put me in a better mood! :)

  2. Aron says

    We use these every year for our Christmas Tree. No more wiggling behind the tree to try to unplug without knocking the tree over for me!

  3. says

    Three things:

    1. LOVE the new color of your kitchen. Much improved and just lovely!

    2. LOVE Short Circuit, thank you for bringing me back to my childhood. When I began running out of birthday gift for my estranged older brother, I began revisiting our childhood movies and shows on DVD (Saved By the Bell, Short Circuit, Thundercats).

    3. How do you keep your teal sheets clean?? We have recently switched to all white sheets because colored sheets always seems to be fading, showing every spot, etc.

    you guys rocks my socks,

    P.S. I have found lots of amazing finds at the antique warehouse adjacent to my folks’ neighborhood in Lewes, DE. Huge warehosue right on Rt. 1 between the Red Mill Inn and Dawn’s Market (the big red barn where Clara would surely love the year-round petting zoo).

    • says

      Hmm, we just wash our sheets like normal (no bleach or anything). I have a theory that bleach fades things a lot so we avoid it even for white things :)


    • lizaanne says

      Lindsey – try Oxy powder. I’ve been a bleach girl all my life (many decades), but have switched entirely over to Oxy powder now for everything – colors and whites. I am amazed at how well it works. I have a set of sheets from IKEA that have a plum colored fitted sheet, but a white top sheet and cases with the plum at the hem. I wash them separately (so I don’t end up with a pink top sheet or cases), but use Oxy (with Tide) to keep them both bright and clean.


    • says

      Lindsey, we have the same problem. I think some people’s sweat is more acidic (like my husband’s) so it causes fading on the sheets. We use all white sheets (and all white towels) now & despite all the bad things I hear about bleach, I bleach them every once in a while to keep them white. I’m sure regular oxy would do the trick, but my skin is sensitive to it & they don’t stay white with just regular washing.

  4. Emily O. says

    Ahhhh I love Short Circuit!! “No disassemble Number Five!!!”

    That little gadget would have been handy circa 1989 when I got tired of having to shut the light off every night because I had the bottom bunk. Cue a couple really long LA Gear shoelaces and the wheel from the game of life and tada a light shutting off device. It lasted about 3 days before I realized I needed my shoelaces for gym glass- whomp whomp.

  5. Kate says

    I need to show this to my husband – he will love it! He’s been joking about wanting a clapper for years. I even bought a bunch of raffle tickets from our local library and stuffed the box for the clapper someone had donated for the raffle, but to no avail. He would love a remote to turn off our lamps!

  6. says

    Oh…my…..gosh…..This little bit of tech-y goodness is the best. thing. ever. My husband and I have the “who’s going to get out of bed to turn the light switch off” thing going every night, and sometimes I find myself rushing to bed first and getting settled so the hubs will have to do it. Oh and anyone that quotes Short Circuit is ok in my book. Long live Number Five.

  7. says

    Ok, I TOTALLY need this! Not for our bedroom, but our living room! Impulse purchase on Amazon coming up? I’m thinking yes…

    Thanks for the tip!

  8. Tara says

    WHAT? I need this! Not because I’m lazy, but because I have a weird fear that someone will jump out of nowhere and attack me after I turn off the lights. Seriously, I flip the switch and sprint to my bed every night!

  9. says

    i LOVE this! We do this with all the lamps in our house that are tough to reach…makes it so much easier to have lovely ambient lighting without running around to a million different points in your house!!

    ~ J

  10. says

    we have a remote Velcroed to our bed too! For some reason our ceiling fan is turned on by a remote instead of a switch… it also turns itself on sometime but that’s another issue

    • Renee says

      do you live close to neighbors? My sister has this happens and is convinced it’s her neighbors fan with the same frequency. :)

    • says

      Haha! That’s hilarious! We have almost an acre of land on our lot (houses are really spread out) so we don’t have anyone that close. Our baby monitor doesn’t get crossed with anyone else’s either :)


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