Wicker Upper

Guys, I’m a little worried.  The submissions for the Ugly Lamp Contest are not many. Have we already unearthed the ugliest lamps in all the land and have nothing left to give? Have we pillaged the ugly lamp landscape, leaving it desolate in our wake?

No! No, I say! There is still much ugly to be had.  Dig deep comrades. Keep a sharp eye out at your thrift stores. Troll your neighborhood yardsales. Sneak a pic in your great aunt Hilda’s living room. Get those submissions in! Your country needs you. (More details here.)

And now, here is Angie at Knick of Time with proof that ugly still exists in the world. Or should I say, existED. There was not much to love about this wicker sofa, but Angie was up for a challenge and came by it so inexpensively she figured she had nothing to lose.

Grain Sack Wicker Sofa Before

Grain Sack Wicker Sofa


She sewed new grain-sack-covered cushions and hid the broken wicker with a little slip-cover skirt action.  And white paint, which fixes almost any and all eyesores.  I put it on my zits every morning. Just kidding don’t do that. Or maybe …

grainsack sofa up close

A little upclose action on the details. So sweet!

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Brick by Brick

Hi-YAAAA!  <– That sound you hear is me karate-chopping my way through Monday. HaHA! Take that Monday! I am feeling fine and in control of my life today, because I managed to wake up early – hours before everyone else in fact – and I Got. Stuff. Done.

Mostly just some laundry, but it feels good.  I also took some vitamins and had breakfast and ordered things on Amazon and learned how to make these symbols on the keyboard: ¡™£¢∞§¶•ªº–≠. So yeah, it’s pretty much already a great day.

¡I hope your day is great too!

Here is some makeover goodness to start you out right.

Kelsey at The Peacock Roost was not in love with her living room when she first bought her house. The paint color was eh, the trim was dark, the fireplace was not attractive, the shelves were wimpy, and the brick was too brick-y.

Blue Living Room with Whitewashed Brick Fireplace Before

Blue Living Room with Whitewashed Brick Fireplace

“Too Brick-y” is a real thing that affects millions of Americans.  Fortunately, it can be remedied as Kelsey has proven here, with a light white-washing that keeps the integrity of the bricks while toning down their aggressive color.

She also bulked up the built-in storage and lightened the paint colors. Cute furniture and accessories never hurt either. Looks amazing times infinity Kelsey! ∞




Psst! The Ugly Lamp Contest is coming! 

Submit your ugly lamp pictures and join in the fun!

Send your original picture to betterafter(at)live.com, subject line UGLY LAMP before August 21st.

More details here!

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The Ugly Lamp Contest draws nigh!

Buckle up everyone.  It’s coming.

Do you hear it? Can you smell it? Can you feeeel it? (It feels like fear and smells like a tuna-burp, FYI).

It’s Better After’s 6th annual Ugly Lamp Contest, and it’s a-headed this way!

logo 2015(Every year I think I should take some time to make this logo a bit more attractive, and then I think “NO. UGLINESS IS THE ENTIRE POINT.”)


 Do you have what it takes to enter?

All you need is access to an ugly lamp.

But let me tell you something, it has to be REALLY ugly.





Let’s take a stroll down the hall of fame our past winners to see if your ugly lamp has what it takes to compete.


2010, our inaugural champion: Alien Matador.


BROKEN LEG LAMP2011 brought us this winner, who kicked all the other competition to the curb: Broken Leg Lamp.


DEMON SKULL2012: the reign of terror of Demon Skull.

BACON BARF2013 blessed us with this queasy crowd-pleaser: Bacon Barf.


And who can forget (or top) our 2014 winner: Beef Femur.


What will 2015 bring?! Oh, I can hardly wait to find out.


Here are the rules:

To enter, simply send a photo of your ugly lamp to me at betterafter(at)live.com, subject line: Ugly Lamp. Deadline is August 21st.

The photo must be original! You don’t need to own the lamp yourself, but you must own the picture.

The entries will be reviewed by myself and a panel of judges, who will select a total of 18 of the worst of the worst to compete.

During the week of the Ugly Lamp Contest, six entrants will compete each day, with the top two vote-getters moving on to the finals.

The grand high champion will be announced, and the winner will receive a $100 gift card of their choice!

((IMPORTANT! Every year it seems there are a few people who get a little confused and think this a lamp-makeover contest, and send me before and after pictures of lamp projects. Not so. I just want your purely fuggstastic lamps, in all their unadulterated unglory)).

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

I’ve been working hard at controlling my gag-reflexes, so start sending those entries in!!!!

logo 2015

If you’re new here, you might want to go back and check out a few past contests. Here are the final rounds, my favorite part: 2014 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.


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Just Do It

I currently have a bookcase in my garage that is very similar to these before tables.  Jacinda found these tables for a steal online. I paid $2 for my bookshelf at a yardsale.

Her tables needed to be stripped. My bookcase needed to be stripped.  She buckled down and powered through SIX DAYS of stripping and staining.  I spent approximately one horrible hour stripping, then made a sandwich.

She finished her tables and is enjoying their fabulous new look in her living room. My bookshelf has sat in my garage for over three years.  I’ve moved with the dumb half-stripped thing two different times!

But, if Jacinda can do it on three tables with curved legs and carved details in less than a week, by George, I can do it to my little bookcase too.  For reals. I’m going to do it. Seriously. Hold me to it, you guys.

White and Stained Top Coffee Tables Before


White and Stained Top Coffee Tables

See more on her blog Northern Nester.

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