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. Kyra says

    We are in the process of installing a remote feature to a set of pendant lamps that we are installing over our nightstands to free up some much needed real estate on the nightstands. Did I mention the pendants were free (from someone who never installed them and was just GIVING THEM AWAY!)? The remotes were a tad bit pricey, and the cost of materials for the hubs to install pendants in the bedroom were a factor, but overall it’s a great solution to the small-nightstand, don’t-want-to-get-out-of-bed-to-turn-off-the-lights problem.

  2. Stephanie says

    Nice little update! I thought you moved the furniture around longer ago than six months though, seems like it’s been that way for awhile. No wonder you were sick of it!

  3. Kristy says

    We’ve had this handy dandy outlet thingy for almost 2 years now, but I always store it with our Christmas stuff. Beats hurdling the Tree + presents + kids turning on and off the Christmas tree! Let’s just say “Momma doesn’t bend like that N-E-More!” Oh and my youngest thought I was super mom, he was amazed the first few times I turned it on or off. He thought I had mad skills, until he figured out the remote… :) I will definitely be digging this handy dandy thingy out of the Christmas box now. Who would’ve thought you could use it around the whole house?? {smacking head} Thanks so much for posting!

  4. Allison says

    Awwwww, the first bit about having to get up to turn out the lights reminds me of Jerry and Holly arguing over turning out their bedroom light in PS I Love You!! <3 Love it!

  5. says

    Haha we totally do the who-can-fake-sleeping-more-deeply thing! I mean I’m really sleeping when that happens. Every time.
    Congrats on your robot…er…”system”

  6. Heather says

    Light remotes are the best! We use one for the lamps on either side of our TV so we don’t have to turn on/off two different lamps.

  7. Kay says

    Not to sound like a total weirdo but that last picture is very Clara-like! :) You can definitely see the resemblance!

  8. says

    The switch mounted on the bed is killing me with laughter. I love it but it feels like one of those switches for the adjustable beds = picture me picturing John at 80 when he’s only 30. I love it.

    I hear you on the switch thing though. When we wired up the master bedroom we wired it so the switch turns on the lamps next to our beds and then we can just switchen them off when we’re done. No overhead light to compete with (at least on that circut, there will be one).

  9. Joy says

    We first found out about these remotes when we went looking for a timer for Christmas lights. They are pretty cool. Not as cool as your demonstration though. That was fun!!

  10. says

    That’s awesome. Yay for velcro too to keep the remote close at hand. (And yay for a sloppy swish reference… made me do an in-my-brain LOL). :-)

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