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Musical Lamps and a 15-Frame grid

June 17, 2011  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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Have you ever read the book, If you give a mouse a cookie? There’s a little mouse that is given a cookie.  As a result of eating a cookie, he wants a glass of milk and then a straw and a napkin and before you know it he is trimming his hair and mopping the floors and painting pictures.  It goes on and on.  I am pretty sure I used to have that little book memorized.  For this post, I am playing the part of the mouse.
The lamp and side table in the living room have really been bothering me.  The whole room felt off balanced and I blame that lamp and end table—which is actually a nightstand from Ikea.  I kept waiting and waiting to find the perfect lamp for the other side of the couch and nothing felt right.  And then it donned on me that I never really like the really tall lamps in our bedroom.  We lowered our mattresses when we moved into our house (it really helped the room feel larger) and the lamps were so high and there was no storage. 
Aha!  As soon as the idea came into my head, I started carrying the two taller lamps that I revamped a few months ago (while still apartment dwellers) down to the living room and hauled the nightstand and lamp up to our bedroom.  The nightstand looked cozy.  The lamp looked too crazy for a bedroom, but until we tackle the bedroom, it would do. 
As for the tall glasses of water propped on either side of the couch (aka lamps).  Yowza!  Everything about it was working for me.  I loved the smaller print in the shade.  I loved how the height of the lamps added more size dimension to the room.   The black trim fit right in and the square frame was talking–nay–SINGING to the pattern on the pillows. 
….PERFEC…ugh.  What happened to the other side of the room?!  Oh yeah, the lamp and nightstand were trying to help balance things over there and now it looked like a train wreck.  
Actually, a couple weeks ago Chris confronted me about the unfinished look of the prints just hanging there by a finishing nail.  I originally did that to show off the torn edges like a true printmaker, but between the fan blowing the prints around and Greta having her turn at ruffling the art as soon as I turn my back—the prints were looking like they had seen better days.  And now, it was out in the open.  I tried to move Chris’s djembe over there, but that did squat for balance and it didn’t help the prints look pristine again, either.  
So, with a very small budget, I set out to find gold frames.  Why gold?  I thought gold would bring out the rope in the large canvas, the gold print in the pillow on the pillow pod, and hopefully add a little color to the wall without screaming “COLOR!”  Because, let’s face it, the print wall is definitely not the star of the living room, but supporting actors still need to look nice.   I decided to add 3 more prints the existing ones already hanging, making a nice odd 15 (odds are easier on the eye in design), and even if I found something discounted for $5 a frame, with 15 frames the money added up fast. So, get this–I went to the dollar store.  No shame, here.  Luckily, the dollar store had just what I needed and for $15 and change, I skipped outta there with golden document frames (the prints were closer to 8 1/2×11 than 8x10s).
Look, ma! No more ruffled edges!! Golden, indeed.  Once I had the whole arrangement hung in a simple, but powerful grid—I was so pleased with the room.  The lamps.  The larger arrangement of prints.  Those gold frames were really doing their job well.  The room feels pristine again—even WITH dollar store frames. 
And then I started hanging accent picture lamps and quickly stopped.  This whole adventure happened yesterday after I finished painting the staircase and I was declaring this mouse’s job done.  Now where is my milk and cookies…

Before
After

What do you think?

  1. Robin says:

    I would also love to know about the picture above your couch?? It is stunning? Did you take that? Where is it from?

  2. Hi Anne! Welcome aboard!

  3. anne says:

    i just found your blog and love it. you guys remind me a lot of me and my chris :) and how funny that my sisters name is Julia :) Anyway, love the dollar tree frames – awesome and so cheap but they look great. And I saw yalls IKEA table and we did something similar with ours for Ashlyn. Anyway, just wanted to say hi – and happy to be a new reader :)

  4. Please tell me where you got the print over your couch! :-)

  5. Amy says:

    wow- those lamps really do make a great difference. and i usually don’t like gold (don’t hate), but that totally works. niiiiiice

  6. Julia says:

    Meags,

    The room is definitely not “finished” because I don’t know what that would feel like, let alone LOOK like. I still want to add lights about the prints and spray paint the chair legs, yada yada…it’s gonna be ever-evolving. As for the lamps, they sell them EVERYWHERE now. Target, Walmart, Lowes. They are great lamps.

    -Jules

  7. Meagan says:

    So….is the room finished???? How exciting! Those lamps are awesome. I love them. I want those in our bedroom!

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