Thrift Store Lamp Revamp

Gotta love it when the title rhymes.  Gotta love it when you find really ugly lamps, really cheap.  Especially when you’ve been on the lookout for this exact shape:

Before pictures of thrift store lamps.

Notice that one is $5.99 and one is $3.99?  The clerk was nice enough to give me both at the $3.99 price.  My mom thought that these would be cool in the right house.  I was embarrassed to have them in my cart.  I even told some innocent bystanders that I planned to spray paint them.  Just in case they thought the same thing as me, and not as my mom.

The next time I was at Walmart, I picked up a can of some interesting color.  You know that DIY means you don’t have to have the same color as all your neighbors, right?  I checked out the lamps on my way out.  They were all an oil-rubbed bronze color.  Not for me, I thought haughtily.  I’m a DIYer.

Home to prep with a light sanding and some painter’s tape.

Prime coat with Rustoleum Clean Metal Primer.  Had some leftover from refinishing our door hardware.

It was done!  It was unique!  It was DIY!  It was…not going to work.  This picture makes it look good.  This picture makes me wonder what was wrong with it.  But it was wrong.  Just did not go with the room.

So I thought some paint affects might help…

NOT.  Gag me with a spoon.  Does that give away my age?

Do you know where I’m going with this?  Guess what color we ended up with…

YUP.  Oil rubbed bronze, same as our refinished door hardware. Same as all the people who bought their lamps at Walmart.  But it looks good.  I found the lampshades at Target for $19.99.  They look really neat when the lamp is on:

What do you think?

**If you thought this was a helpful post, please click the “Like” button at the bottom of this post and maybe drop me a line in the comments section.  If it was not helpful, I’d love to know what I could/should change–please let me know this in the comments section as well.  Thanks for your input!

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About Pink Toes and Power Tools

I'm a DIY girl with a blog. Trying to complete one project before I jump into the next one!

20 responses to “Thrift Store Lamp Revamp”

  1. C.K. says :

    GORGEOUS !!!


  2. chris says :

    Love them if we did not have to dig out would go to Goodwill today..Is it the krylon spray that allows you to paint the glass?


    • Pink Toes and Power Tools says :

      Thanks! Hope that you get dug out quick :) I used Rustoleum products on this for the primer and color coat. The primer was metal primer, but I used it because I had it on hand already. I would use a primer since the surface is slicker. It should say on the back of the can if it works for you lamp surface. The color coat was Rustoleum Universal Metallic All Surface Paint in the oil rubbed bronze color. Good luck!


  3. Comeca Jones says :

    I was kinda feelin the lamps before those are my colors I just would have added barrel shades. But I love the end result as well.


  4. Teresa says :

    Looks great! Do you have any ideas for lamp shades? My lamps are black rod iron and the shades look to be what you have on the new lamp. I would like to change the color without having to buy new ones. Would fabric spray paint work or maybe even taking some fabric and gluing it on with fabric glue?


  5. Megan says :

    Thank you for this DIY. I have a couple of thrift store lamps that I also am planning on redoing and this has helped a lot. THANKS!


  6. APrettyDoor says :

    You are my kind of lady! I love to do stuff like this my self. Back in the day, I furnished my home and clothed my children from shopping Garage Sales. It’s amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it. I love your blog and will be looking often.


    • Pink Toes and Power Tools says :

      Thank you! Glad to have you here! I love garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops. My kids grew up (and still wear) second-hand clothes and our house has MANY garage sale and second-hand finds throughout. We’ve saved a boatload of money going that way!


  7. kc says :

    You’ve inspired me..I’ve got couple of garage sale finds…one silver table lamp, one brass floor lamp…that I’ve been using “as is” for over a year now. But they’ve definitely needed some Upcycling! Then, this last week the decorating Gods smiled upon me with a lovely nearly new ORB finish reading lamp (the adjustable arm time!!) Some things are just meant to be!

    I guess I’m off to the hardware store for spray paint!


  8. Felicia Cabrelli Oglesby says :

    I am so glad I found you through Pretty Handy Girl!! You ROCK!!


  9. Sarah B. says :

    I recently repainted a lamp in this same manner, but when I tried to sand it nothing happened. I decided that the ceramic finish wasn’t going to sand off, and that nothing was going to be rubbed up against the paint job, so I just gave up on the sanding and primed/painted it. It looks really good, but I am still afraid that it is going to get scratched. I am wondering if I used the wrong grade sand paper. Other blogs I read said use fine grade, and I had a fine grade sanding sponge on hand, so I used that. I was afraid that a lower grade would cause scratches that could be seen through the paint. Do yuo have any advice on sandpaper grade for when I try this again (because I am sure I will). :) Thanks in advance.


    • Pink Toes and Power Tools says :

      That surprises me that nothing happened with the sandpaper, but that probably means it is a quality ceramic finish you started with. With a really fine grit (like 320) I would have expected that the finish would have gotten less shiny at least. I probably used 150 or 220 on mine, but I cannot remember specifically. If you find you can’t rough up the finish with sandpaper in the future, I would make sure the primer you use is made for a shiny surface. Bonding primer would be perfect, but I don’t know if it comes in a spray. That would not be a deal-breaker for me and I would use a foam brush–but make sure you keep it as smooth as possible. Good luck!


  10. Anonymous says :

    Hi… I love how the lamps came out but I would have preferred a highgloss white….. I am getting into the diy act and tends to want to makeover everything I see in sight realizing that some things are just better left alone….


  11. liz says :

    I have ugly lamps from my aunt that I would LOVE to keep for their fun shape! Thanks!! We are moving this summer and into a fixer-upper. I can’t wait to use some of your tricks, your blog is SO helpful! :)


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