Supporting the Swedish – Our Ikea Living Room

I just want to take a moment of your time to rave about our sweet ass living room. We’ve been wanting these shelves from IKEA for over a year. We finally were able to get them after Christmas and I couldn’t be more happy with them. I thought I’d post about them to show off, and to brag about how awesome and amazing the Man Candy is, because he did 99% of the work. And in my opinion, it was a LOT of work. We figure at least 15-20 hrs from start to finish. I hope you find the post helpful, but if it’s not to your taste, feel free to scroll down to the photos.

The main problem with our plan for shelving, is my record player. It used to be my grandparents’ and I refuse to part with it – much to the dismay of the Man Candy. Well, I shouldn’t say that. He’s on board for revamping it and what not, but for right now when it’s in his way while trying to make things happen – he hates it.

After lots of measuring, drawing things out on graph paper, researching the different systems….we finally decided on the cost-effective Billy system. The Man Candy decided on “black-brown” for the colour. We went with two regular bookcases, one narrow bookcase and three “uppers” as we called them. We didn’t need the height extensions. We also opted not to buy the doors right away, as we wanted to see how the shelves worked on their own first.

The first thing he did was cut an extra notch in the bottom of each bookcase. They were already cut out to fit over an average baseboard, but because our landlord had extra large ones, he increased the notch by about a centimeter. They fit flush against the wall (for the most part – that’s the wall’s fault though). He drilled holes in different areas of the shelves to allow for cables and power cords to fit through. Notches were also cut into the “uppers” to allow room for the cords running from the ceiling lamps. Had we just left them squished between the shelves and the wall, there is a risk the wires would cut out. And it’s just a sloppy way of doing things. Man Candy also cut a hole where the plug-in is, so we could put the power bar INSIDE the bookcase on the bottom. He covered the edges of the hole with black electrical tape to keep things clean-looking. Once we get the doors on, it won’t be noticeable at all.

We measured the length and width of the ceiling, and ran string to keep things straight. He divided the length by thirds and made his marks. Then Man Candy installed the hooks to hang the light fixtures (two white shades that I may paint with orange accents to match our colour scheme). They look amazing. He also had the great idea to put said lights on dimmer switches. Man Candy got them at IKEA, and the clever Swedes dubbed them “Dimma” switches. The lights are plugged into a flat mounting extension cord behind the record player. The Dimmas are mounted on the outside of the left bookcase, facing the right side of the unit. Again, he was thinking, and purchased that sticky tape from M3 that is typically used as the adhesive backing to those plastic hooks that don’t damage surfaces. Genius.

Everything was mounted to the wall with the kits provided, plus a couple extra screws for peace of mind. He also screwed the narrow bookcase to the full bookcase so there wouldn’t be a gap between them. Once everything was securely in place, we ran the power cords and moved the electronics to exactly where we wanted them.

Then came the task of mounting the TV to the wall. It needed to be centered as perfectly as possible, as the Man Candy has OCD about that kind of stuff. Took us awhile, but we got it. It also made for some massive holes in the walls to fit the appropriate hardware in, but I suppose that’s “Future Kristi’s” problem. Filling them won’t be easy and I’m sure we’ll take a hit on our damage deposit. Finally, the TV was mounted. The drywall dust vacuumed, and the record player slid into place.

The amount of time we took planning and measuring is so worth it. You can’t just go into the store with an idea. You need measurements and they better be exact. I was off by about 2 or 3 inches, and we had to cover the light switch, which then led to the brainstorming of ceiling lights and how to get them to flick on and off without having to cut a hole around the switch panel. Take the time to think of how you want to use the space. It never occurred to me to buy Velcro ties to keep unruly cords wrapped nicely. But it occurred to him. I love this man.

Now the fun part – the pictures! The place isn’t 100% clean since we finished up late last night (which also means I need to send apology cards and cookies to the neighbours above & below us) but this is how it looks!

The “Before” Shots

The “During” Shots

Mounting the uppers, and building around the record player

The lamp cords run up the walls and across the ceiling. He used these staples to hold the cords alongside the shelves so they wouldn’t just hang in the background behind the TV. It also helps keep them tight so they aren’t messy-looking.

The “99% Finished” Shots

These are the dimmer switches.

All the cords run to one location. Eventually, we are going to buy doors for the lower half of the cabinets so you don’t see the mess!

And finally, he hung his hooks to hold his ukuleles and guitar. We’re leaving the stuff on the walls behind them til I can find a better place for them. Keeps shit off the floor!

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