How to get furniture flat against the wall

June 15, 2015

Our master bedroom has had one wall that's done:  
gray wall behind bed with trim

But the rest of the walls have been the old color: 

tornado watch, green gray wall color
It's an earthy green gray color called Tornado Watch (the area over the fireplace is a slightly darker tone) and I love this color -- I've just been planning to change it up for awhile. I've had the paint for at least a year now and I'm determined to tackle this space on the rainy days this week. 

But like always, I got distracted before I even started. I pulled the dresser away from the wall to start prepping and remembered the little project I've been meaning to do for quite some time. This one only took a few minutes and it's a great little space saver so I wanted to share it. 

I love pulling furniture out into spaces (like I did last week with the new living room sofa) but if something is meant to be against a wall I like it against the wall. Not a few inches away -- it's a pet peeve of mine (in my own house). I like the furniture up as close to the baseboard as I can get it. 

This little doodad allows for that -- especially behind dressers or entertainment centers where you have the thicker plugs or surge protectors like this:  

See how far they stick out? I'm losing a good two inches people. It drives me cuckoo. 

Many of you have asked for a tutorial on hanging a TV and hiding cords and this little plug is essential to that as well. (I promise to do one of those very soon!) It recesses back so the plugs don't take up as much space: 
DIY recessed outlet

They are incredibly easy to install, especially if you've done any electrical work. Years ago I was changing out light fixtures and switches and for some reason plugs intimidated me. I now know they are by far the easiest electrical to change out.

I found this one at a hardware store (I've had it for a good year waiting for me…) but you can find them on Amazon as well (and I'm pretty sure it's cheaper than the store).

I've been doing electrical work for years and years ALWAYS turn off the power at the breaker. I know some professionals who do it without turning off the power at the box -- as long as the switch is off at the light they do fine. I don't recommend that. Always turn the breaker off. Just be extra safe, please.

I also always double check with my voltage tester to make sure it's off. Sometimes all the plugs in the room will be dead but there's that one that's connected to another room on the other side of the wall -- something like that. Just be sure. I plug something in to see if it works and then I check with the tester:

voltage tester

They are a bit of an investment for such a tiny tool, but if you are planning on doing any electrical work this will put your mind at ease. 

So once I was sure the power was dead to the outlet I removed the cover and the screws holding it in the wall: 

Keep track of where the wires are going -- it will make things much easier. But the new outlet tells you where everything goes too: 

replacing standard outlet with recessed plugs

My original outlet had one to the ground (the green screw), one white wire to a screw, one black wire to a screw on the other side and then one white wire stuck in the back. You can install the wires by putting them in those little holes in the back or wrapping them around the screws -- I find the holes to be easier most times, but I just follow exactly how it was before: 

And no, I didn't take off that outlet cover to paint the first time and won't this time either. No one ever sees it. :) 

By the way -- another little tool that's handy if you are doing any electrical work with switches or plugs is a small flathead precision screwdriver: 

If you are trying to remove a wire that is placed into the back of the outlet, you have to insert this into the little rectangle area below so the wire will come out: 

installing recessed outlet

I have a set of those little precision flathead and Phillips screwdrivers and they are also a Godsend when it comes to removing the tiny battery covers on toys. :) 

It took me all of five minutes to reconnect the wires -- but getting it back on the wall took longer. I had to do some maneuvering with the wires and getting them pushed back far enough to fit the recessed version. That part was annoying. The rest was easy. 

But now we have a good extra inch in the room! Ha!:

recessed plug

It doesn't seem like much, but when it's one of those little things that drives you crazy, it's totally worth it. I love having the furniture flush against the baseboards and this gets me almost there.

Again, this is the safest way to "hide" your TV cords too -- I'll be sure to share that with you soon. It's great behind any furniture that has these bulky cords. It would also be perfect if you want to highlight your art with lighting -- this installed behind the art would allow the lighting cord to sit mostly flush. 

Here's an image to pin if you want to save this for later: 
DIY: recessing a plug

NOW I can start painting! Not that I was putting that off or anything… And of course the sun is shining and it's absolutely beautiful outside. :)

Have you installed these anywhere in your home? Do you hate furniture pushed away from the walls like me? 

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  1. I have a couple of places were I could use some of these.

  2. I LOVE this idea--sometimes we've arranged an entire room around an outlet, rather than putting the furniture where we wanted it. My only caution is some outlet boxes are jammed full of wires and there simply isn't the extra room that is taken by this recessed outlet box. This becomes a fire hazard! If you are unsure, it is better to consult with an electrician, or at the very least, make sure all your smoke detectors have fresh batteries. (Full disclosure: I am not an electrician. Nor am I married to one. In fact, I'm not related to one, but I do a lot of my own DIY.)

  3. There are also extension cords that have a flat plug. Look up "Flat Plug Extention Cord" on Amazon to see what I mean. I know they add some cord, but in some instances, that may be more desirable than switching out the plug. Just depends on your situation.

    1. Very true! I can never find the flat plug surge protectors in stores so I grabbed this instead. These outlets are cheaper too! :)

    2. The flat plug extension cord also allows you to plug in your item where you can reach it without moving the piece of furniture. (Some pieces, when full of stuff, can be very heavy to move.) This can be more handy if you need to plug and/or unplug an item. We did this behind a PIANO and it allowed us to have a lamp in the vicinity that we can unplug and change out without moving the piano in the future.

  4. Awesome! Wait until I show t these to my husband!

  5. How cool is that?! Never knew that was an option. BTW - I live in SE MI and we're having the same kind of crazy weather. When it rains, it's a crazy downpour!

    1. I live in SE Michigan sick of the rain! Totally messing up my work plans both inside and out when I have free time!

    2. We have had a ton of rain lately too! I love it for the plants!

  6. Now I know what to do about my own plug situation. Thanks!

  7. Love this!!! I hate that inch of space behind my furniture that does nothing but collect dust.I am definitely looking for this next time I am at the Hardware store.

  8. How smart are these?! I had no idea they existed, but I can think of several places in my home that could use them. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Since you're going to repaint anyway, had you thought about painting under the outlet cover rather than around the outlet cover? Even if it is currently behind a piece of furniture, it might not always be.

    1. PS: I do LOVE your blog. I've unsubscribed from many lately due to getting too much mail - but I've definitely kept yours. This master bedroom focal wall is one of my absolute favorites! I want to re-create this on a dining room wall. I love the way you spaced the boards and battens to frame the main feature - in this case being your bed. Lovely!

    2. Thank you Dianne! It really doesn't bother me -- it will always be covered. :)

  10. I wish there were a way to recess my baseboard heaters.....Sigh...

  11. Oh my gosh!!! I have never seen this. We have to have our couches up against the walls, but one is up against an outlet. We're constantly knocking the cords out. This is genius!!!

  12. I absolutely have no idea why things like this get me so excited! I have to get a few of these. Now if they make a released one with many plugs on it and make it a surge protector, God knows what I'll do! But the paint is making me twitchy. Maybe one day, just take off all of the socket covers and paint them all at once? Ten minutes per room. Tops.

    1. I'm sure that will happen if it hasn't already! I do take off covers to paint around plugs that are seen. This really doesn't bother me. :)

  13. Can I ask what paint color and brand your master bedroom feature wall is please?


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