Last Updated on October 6, 2017 by Kristi Linauer
Okay, full disclosure. They’re not actually magical. 😀 But let me back up a bit.
When I was planning out the electrical wiring for the breakfast room and pantry, I really wanted to add some outlets to the wall with the pantry door. But that wall has a large, very solid load-bearing header running across the top that’s literally holding up the back side of the original roof over this room, so drilling through that header to get wires through it didn’t seem like a wise thing to do.
Fast forward several months to this past week. I decided that I wanted sconces on that wall above where I’ll be hanging artwork on either side. But again, they can’t be hardwired. So I had to find a way to work around it, and the solution is so easy and convenient — remote controlled outlets!! I love these so much that I now want to use these on every plug-in lamp in the house!
So first, these are the sconces I chose…
I found them for a steal ($27 each) on Ebay. I was so excited to find them for such a low price, and even more excited that they combine the black and antique brass finishes that I’ve been using. You can find these sconces here.
If you choose to purchase these sconces, just be aware that they’re inexpensive for a reason. 🙂 They work, and they look great (in my humble opinion) once they’re installed, but they do have a few quirks — decorative screws that don’t match so I left them off, different placement on each sconce of the switch and cord holes (neither of which I’m using), etc. But those are issues that I can work around and overlook.
So I installed one sconce on either side of the pantry doors. The sconces can be hardwired, but they also come with plug-in cords that can be wired to them. The cords weren’t long enough to reach my outlets, so I ended up having to purchase much longer cords for my lights. I used these light duty extension cords with the flat plugs, cut off the end I didn’t need, and wired it to my lights. As I mentioned above, the holes for the cord (for plug-in wiring) are in different places on each backplate on each lamp, so I didn’t bother using those. Instead, I used my drill to drill a channel into the drywall for the cord to go behind the round metal backplate and then back out to the front and down the wall.
And then I used adhesive cord channels to run the cord to the outlet. Click here to see the ones that I used.
I’ve used these cord covers several times before, and I really like that they can be painted to match the wall. I haven’t gotten around to that yet, but will hopefully be able to get these painted this afternoon.
And then came my absolute favorite part of this whole set up — the remote controlled outlet! I bought a package of five remote-controlled outlets (this is the set that I bought), and they come with two remote controls that look like this…
Each of the five outlets comes preprogrammed to correspond to the numbered on/off buttons on the remote, but you can reprogram them in about five seconds with the touch of two buttons so that one on/off button can control more than one outlet. So I programmed both sconces to turn on and off at the same time using the #1 on/off buttons. And these remotes seem to have a very long range that isn’t affected at all by furniture placement.
I seriously love these things!! Before I found these on Amazon, I actually tried another product that I found at Home Depot. They were MUCH more expensive (about $45 EACH) and worked via bluetooth and could be controlled with an app on a phone. Or that’s what they said. I bought two of them (yes, at the cost of $90) and spent 45 minutes downloading the app and then trying to get those things to connect. After much frustration and zero success, I finally packed them back up for return.
I’m so glad they didn’t work, because these remote controlled outlets are so much more convenient (just the click of a button to turn on and off, and re-programmable in seconds) than having to open an app on my phone in order to control the lights. I even added one of the outlets to the plug-in sconces in the music room. And I’ll be looking for any other lamps or other items I can use these with.
So as of this morning, the pantry door wall in the breakfast room looks like this. The white pillows are actually just pillow inserts that I had on hand. (I stocked up on the down/feather inserts that were on clearance at JoAnn Fabric last week.)
I added 40-watt-equivalent LED lights to the sconces, and they cast a soft warm light that is just enough for those corners of the room.
Now I just need to paint the cord covers, find some pretty and colorful pillows, and add artwork to the walls.
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
I hope you’ll join me on my DIY and decorating journey! If you want to follow my projects and progress, you can subscribe below and have each new post delivered to your email inbox. That way you’ll never miss a thing!
Theresa PMay 19, 2017 at 10:14 am
Very cool! We actually have a few places where we need lighting. I’ll definitely check these out.
ConnieMay 19, 2017 at 10:16 am
Ok can I ask a question? I noticed on your pantry door that your hinges are black and I’ve always wondered why people do that. Yours are not necessarily what I mean cuz it’s a door but especially in kitchens with older cabinets that have the hinges on the outside. People paint the cabinets white to try & update their kitchen & leave these black hinges breaking up all the white and making it glaringly obvious these are out dated. Wouldn’t it be better to have the hinges match so they camaflouge in and don’t call attention to themselves or stick out like a sore thumb? What am I missing?
KarenMay 19, 2017 at 10:24 am
well the door handles are black, too, and so the hinges match those (being the other part made of metal on the doors). I guess it’s a question of taste, but to me it makes sense – I like those functional details to be see… but I’m curious what Kristi’s reply will be – perhaps a whole different reason 🙂
KristiMay 19, 2017 at 10:25 am
Since these are actual doors and not cabinet doors, and I don’t have the old style of hinges on my cabinet doors, I don’t think I can answer the question as to why people do that. On actual doors, like my pantry doors, it’s generally customary to have all of the metal matching, i.e., hinges, knobs etc.
JoyceMay 19, 2017 at 10:33 am
To my, all hardwear should match. My kitchen has white cabinets and oil rubed bronze hardwear.
KarenMay 19, 2017 at 10:22 am
I think it’s funny that you are so delighted with the remote controlled lights as we after five years of fighting against one of those have finally gotten rid of it 🙂 I suppose it’s a question of quality, but our remote simply would not switch the d++n lights on when you pressed the button. Sometimes it toook more than half a minute to have light!! You cannot imangine how glad we’ve been ever since when we just use the wall-mounted light switch ad alas – there’s light now…
I love the sconces, they are really beautiful and I really liked to see that wall in full glory with the benches – very beautiful. How do you feel about opening the doors in between the benches, though? To me it feels as if, when you’re loaded with groceries, it could be a bit annoying that the doors will only open in that angle and not further outwards. But I guess you considered that before you built your benches and are fine with it 🙂
It definitely looks very nice and I love how this room is cming together (and I find it great that you took this month’s time to finish it and not rush headlong into the work on the pantry -you sound so relaxed and happy in your posts!!)
have a great weekend!
KarenMay 19, 2017 at 10:25 am
sorry for all the typos – I need the weekend….
KristiMay 19, 2017 at 10:28 am
I actually don’t find that the doors opening between the benches is annoying at all. They only need to open 90 degrees in order for the doorway to be fully accessible, and they can do that between the benches. I do probably need to find a solution so that the doors don’t hit the benches. I’d hate for the paint on doors and/or the benches to get messed up. But if I can find a solution for that, I think it’ll work out just fine.
SusanMay 19, 2017 at 2:02 pm
This might help with the doors stopping where they should https://stampandstaple.com/products/door-saver-ii-hinge-pin-door-stop-in-oil-rubbed-bronze-finish. The room is looking great!
SherreMay 19, 2017 at 10:29 am
Remote controlled outlets come in extra handy around Christmas too! I’ve been using one for years so I don’t have to climb under my tree to unplug the lights each night! 🙂
AthenaMay 19, 2017 at 11:03 pm
We use plug in timers for our Christmas tree. It freaked out my grandpa when he was here for Christmas a few years ago but I love that I can set the on off times and never have to think about it. It will come on at 4PM weekdays and turn off at midnight, on at noon on the weekends and off the same time. We even have a timer for the outdoor lights and have a lamp we keep constantly plugged into a timer in our front room that turns on before we get home from work and off around 10PM.
We also have a couple of remote controlled plug adapters, they plug in like the timers and then you plug whatever into them. We used those when we had some lights in a bathroom and on our stair railing in our last house. They were super helpful without having to replace the outlet.
KrikitMay 19, 2017 at 10:32 am
Nice inexpensive way to meet your lighting needs. ~:)
I am curious as to why you did not choose to run the wires/covers up to under the trim and across to and down the corners to the outlets, leaving the wall space completely free for artwork, etc…?
KristiMay 19, 2017 at 10:43 am
Hmmm…well, in my opinion, plug-in sconces with cord covers are an actual thing that is widely sold, and they’re always installed so that the cords go straight down from the sconces to look nice and tidy.
It’s just kind of the standard way to install plug-in sconces. Running a cord up, over, and down wall, in my opinion, looks like a college kid installed makeshift lighting in a dorm room and tried to hide the cord which never, ever works out because the cord is always visible anyway.
GuerrinaMay 19, 2017 at 12:08 pm
My one question answered! The sconces are beautiful!
PhoebeMay 19, 2017 at 4:02 pm
That was my question too… With the stems of the lights so high I didn’t expect any of the wires to be visible… Weird as it looks to me, I guess this is something you see in the US then and wouldn’t pay attention to. Wall is coming along great!
Kathleen RuppMay 19, 2017 at 10:40 am
The sconces are really cool in that room! I love the idea of controlling them with remote control too. AND…….can we just talk about those benches again:). They are lovely! You are so fast I didn’t get a chance to comment on your finished bench post. I am always amazed. You don’t fear anything you just DO….! Great projects Kristi!
janpartistMay 19, 2017 at 10:57 am
I know sconces are all the rage right now but they don’t do much for me personally but I am curious, since you can and will tackle just about any project why you didn’t run the cords through the pantry wall and plug them into a pantry outlet rather than to have to hang artwork not flush on the wall over the cord? As an artist that cord in back of my artwork would mess with my “eye”. You did a nice job and all but that’s what is in my head when I see it.
KristiMay 19, 2017 at 11:07 am
There aren’t any outlets anywhere in that wall — not on the breakfast room side and not on the pantry side. Cords can’t go inside the wall because there are horizontal 2 x 4’s in that wall. So it was either this or run a cord through to the pantry side and around to a side wall. This option was the easiest and doesn’t bother me at all. Once the artwork is up, it will barely be noticeable. And since I’m DIYing the artwork and the framing myself, I can (and will ) make it so that the artwork sits flush against the wall.
janpartistMay 22, 2017 at 10:52 am
Ok, now I get it. Well, it’s done excellently, I was just curious. Enjoy!
AmyMay 19, 2017 at 3:57 pm
Love these, Kristi! To me, sconces are classic – our house dates from 1916 and there are sconces in every room, except the bathrooms. And, now that you’ve shown so many possibilities without hardwiring, maybe I’ll add one or two…
BretteMay 19, 2017 at 11:19 am
I could use one or two of these. My mother had something similar years ago, but no remote, of course.
barbMay 19, 2017 at 1:21 pm
Seriously, those sconces are the bee’s knees! 🙂 🙂 🙂
As for the comments about the cord hanging straight down from them;
Once every year, for our anniversary, we stay in a fancy hotel and eat in their fancy restaurant. All their wall sconces have the cords hanging down and simply plugged into the outlet. Some cords are tucked into cord covers but I gotta say – most are not. So look at you – Miss Fancy Pants of Waco, TX they are perfect, IMHO. 🙂 🙂 🙂
Karen HMay 19, 2017 at 1:31 pm
Kristi, does the plug part of the remote plug take up both outlets in your wall plug? I am long at the photo and it looks like you have it plugged into the bottom outlet, covering up the top outlet. Is that how they are designed to work? Can it be plugged into the top outlet and still allow for the bottom outlet to be used if needed? That wall looks great with the benches done, btw.
Karen HMay 19, 2017 at 1:33 pm
Typo correction: I am looking at the photo…not I am long at the photo!
KristiMay 19, 2017 at 1:42 pm
I just went in there and tested it out, and yes, you can move the remote-controlled outlet to the top and still have room to plug something else in on the bottom outlet. I plugged in my big orange extension cord underneath it, and it fit just fine. I moved my remote-controlled outlets to the bottom so that they wouldn’t show as much beside the benches. With them in the top outlets, they’re just a tad visible and have to be covered by a strategically placed pillow. 🙂 And since I have the outlet on the end of the peninsula that’s easily accessible, I don’t foresee myself needing to move the benches to access those outlets for additional items like the vacuum cleaner or anything like that. But certainly if you needed access to both the top and the bottom, you can move the remote-controlled outlet to the top and leave the bottom outlet usable.
JILL NELSONMay 19, 2017 at 2:56 pm
I bought a remote control switch similar to yours after Christmas a few years back (it was sold to turn on multiple Christmas lights so I got it on clearance) and it was the best decision ever! I am a little extreme when it comes to lighting – I need a lot! That means lamps everywhere and the remote makes turning them on and off so easy…no more reaching over the couch or behind a vase to turn them on/off! I may look into the one you got though as mine are much bulkier.
Sharon CMay 19, 2017 at 5:13 pm
The sconces are very classic!
MrsCMay 19, 2017 at 6:09 pm
Please keep us updated on your use of the remotes. I saw them on Amazon some time ago, but some of the negative reviews kept me from buying them…
Also, (and this just me being obsessive) I think that I would have routed the cord cover wiring differently. Gone directly up behind the sconce to the moulding, then run along the bottom of it to the corner and then straight down in the corner. But that’s just me.
I have been really impressed with all your work in this room.
It looks just lovely!
Joanne B.May 19, 2017 at 6:36 pm
Is it just me or are those white pillow inserts just begging to be slipped inside some custom made pillow covers in the fabric you used on your breakfast room chairs and the trim on the drapery? Just sayin’, as they say…
PS: I am continued to be amazed at the stick-to-itiveness you have! Not only do you get on ‘it’, you do ‘it’ so professionally. You are such a perfectionist! Love following you, being inspired by you and learning from you!
MaryMay 20, 2017 at 8:46 am
I bought a couple of the same sconces last year. You’re right about the quality. But once they’re hung, you can’t tell.
MicheleMay 20, 2017 at 12:30 pm
Love your wall sconces – very chic I think. And the covered cord going straight down is exactly right for those. Can’t wait to see what art you hang on those walls. I know it will be dramatic and lovely. Thanks for the primer on programmable outlets. I’ve been thinking of those for my sewing room and I believe you have convinced me.
BrieMay 20, 2017 at 3:26 pm
I love your break fast room! it looks like such a nice place to spend time! I was thinking however in regards to the sconces that it would be much more discreet if you were to run the conduit directly horizontal to the corner and then run it vertically down the groove of the corner. I see you said you are planning to have artwork hide some of it and you will paint it wall colour but because the sconce you chose directs light down right onto the cord, I think it would still look better the other way. I am so impressed with all your work and how you are able to consistently post updates of more completed projects here for us to enjoy! Thanks!
KristiMay 21, 2017 at 9:00 am
I disagree that that way would be more discreet. The way I have it now, with the artwork hung, only about five inches of the covered cord shows in all. With it run to the corner and down, you would be able to see 100% of the cord, and it would be obvious that there’s a cord running across and down the wall. But that’s just my humble opinion. 🙂
SewduckyMay 21, 2017 at 11:04 am
It looks from reading the questions there’s a kickstarter (for the “hook” completed, and successful) that can incorporate the remote switches you have to work with Alexa and/or phone app. Just a heads up.