Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Vintage Style Apothecary Cabinet Updated with Colored LED Lights

Thank you Ikea for once again bringing it all together

A few months ago, I purchased an apothecary style cabinet from Ikea. I should really clarify that. . . I should say "my dear husband purchased this cabinet for me because I was too cheap."  It really was the perfect fit for this little area in our foyer and because that was really the first place you would look when you entered our home, it was pretty darn important it was the right piece. However, while Ikea had this item at a phenomenal price (especially when you compare this to similar items at Restoration Hardware or true antique sites), originally you could not just pick this item up at the store. For that matter, you couldn't even order it and then pick it up at the store. It had to be delivered by a truck company and it was an extra $100 dollars. This ended up being the best Valentine's Day present ever.

That was, of course, in February. My husband had it shipped directly to his office and transported it home for me very carefully as there were four glass panels for the interior as well as two glass shelves for us to assemble. don't think for one minute that just because it was delivered that it came preassembled because anything you buy from Ikea should have to be built. It's a rite of passage.

Now the fun part of the story is that I recently went back to Ikea and you can just walk in there and pick one up. No more shipping charges. If you decide that you want this look you will simply be able to walk in there and go home with it for the flat rate of $199! You can see it here for yourself at Again, this really is a steal at that price. The cabinet comes in "dark gray" (think charcoal and industrial objects), "beige" (think dirty off white) and a "light green" (think really cool industrial retro 50's mint color). I really would have liked the light green but because our house has so much green in it (including the wall right behind the cabinet, I chose the gray. While one day I may have repainted every wall in this house, choosing to cover up some walls with a new paint color strictly to purchase a cabinet seemed a little ridiculous. Additionally I should add that I am not the best painter and I will leave these walls alone as long as possible.

Because this cabinet is such a focal point, I have been very selective on the items we have put it it. They have definitely evolved over time but a constant has been these K'ah Tequila bottles shaped like sugar skulls. We have also been searching local flea markets and garage sales for vintage bottles and recently added a very cool old seltzer bottle that has an almost electric blue glass and a chrome dispenser on top.

I have wanted to add lights to this cabinet for quite a while (Day One) but it really was something that had to be thought out and the challenges addressed. First challenge: No power on the wall over there. We solved that by tapping into a junction box in the basement, threading wired across the rafters in the basement ceiling, and then drilling a hole in the floor off to the side of the little nook where the cabinet resides. I am proud to say that I personally (with guidance) put in the new outlet on that wall!

The second challenge was maybe not as difficult but it was finding the lights. Ikea was able to help with that. During our last trip there they were really showcasing these LED lights in a variety of applications and had them behind television sets, as strips under shelves, and of course in cabinets. I settled on this Dioder 4 Piece Set which has 4 strips of LED lights that can either cycle automatically through a series of colors or can be set to one of an array of colors. As you can see from the picture at the beginning of this article right now I have it on a red shade but have also had it on a stark white and a cool blue. It's all about mood.

I originally envisioned these lights running in all four corners of the cabinet but once we began mounting them I decided to run them along all the four sides of the ceiling of the cabinet. The lights then radiate the color downward and add a glow to the area as well as the items in the cabinet, without blinding you as  you walk by. Putting the lights in was definitely part of the challenge. The 3M tape did not do a good job of holding the strips in place. I replaced them with Velcro and used longer pieces to really hold the strips in place. Additionally we used zip ties with these "sticky backs" to mount the cords out of sight that had to run down the cabinet to the outlet.

I think the lights really add to the piece and they add an extra bit of ambiance without being overly distracting. My piece is now complete and real showcase.

Update 11/29/2014: The velcro didn't cut it either. I used Crazy Glue on the back of each LED strip to attach a small cubed magnet. Those strips will not fall down again!

No comments:

Post a Comment