Not many people know, or at least remember, I have a BA in Interior Design. Yes, I do. And I didn't come by that dang degree easily. I worked my tail off to get it and practically wrecked my health and sanity in the process.
I had a fabulously awful experience trying to get a job in interior design later and ultimately failed, thus setting my life on a different (and I think better) course all of which I won't get into. But I have come to the conclusion that my degree (and thus all that work I put into getting it) is practically worthless compared to real life experience.
Case in point: I went to IKEA a few months back and came across a couple of lamps I absolutley fell in love with. Literally. I tried walking away without them at least three times because I wasn't there for lamps. I was there for curtains. I failed. In more than one way, but we're just going to discuss the lamps today. I really couldn't leave without them. They were simple, pretty, inexpensive, and I just knew they would be the perfect addition to the decor in my living room.
I got home, put in the luminaires they called for, set them up in their perfect places, turned them on, stepped back and...almost cried. And not in a good way. I'm mortifying myself in sharing this.
Problem #1: Scale. They were tiny compared to the rest of my living room furniture. They sat ten inches high. That's it. They didn't even peak over the arms of my sofa. That goes beyond the realm of "Akward," across the land of "what were you thinking?" and lands smack dab in the middle of the island of "Oh my heck! That looks ridiculous, kill me now!" Don't roll your eyes, there is such a place, and I've visited it on many, many occassions. Go ME!
Problem #2: Function. Ever had the experience of your best friend telling ghost stories in the dark with a flashlight uplighting their face? It isn't the best way to show off your features, especially in everyday conversation...in the living room. The lamps are globe lamps, meaning they don't have a stand or a shade. They're a spherical piece of glass that sits on whatever surface you put it on and the lightbulb is inside. That means their light, for the most part is directed up and out rather than down and out like a normal lamp. Not exactly functional when you want it to perform a normal lamp function. But it was something I really liked about them until I realized the unique cast it gave to features when light was directed in that way. When I got home. And tried to have a normal conversation in their light. Oh joy.
Problem #3: Function. Again. The only luminaires these lamps can use are pretty small. So small I had a hard time finding them the first time around. After searching for them among the lightbulbs for a good half hour, I asked a sales clerk where to look and he directed me to...the nightlights! This was after I had bought the lamps. Oh joy, again! The light they put off is slightly brighter than a nightlight, but only slightly. Go me, again!
The best part about this is that all of these problems deal with stuff you learn about in Design Basics, which is literally the FIRST interior design class I took in college. And even though I graduated with a great GPA and understood all the theories of interior design, I still fail in real life. It really is true that no amount of education can make up for lack of experience. Yay!!!
Thankfully, I have since been given several lamps that work wonderfully in scale and function in my living room. I want to re-do their shades eventually because the shade parts are old and ugly, but the lamps themselves are quite beautiful, and who can say no to free.
My two simple, pretty, inexpensive lamps I couldn't walk away from have found their way to more appropriate uses. As nightlights. And I still love them.
Aren't they so pretty? How could I say no?