Ugly Lamps and the surprises they hold….

So my husband being an amazing guy is always trying to find stuff for us. Sometimes, however, it is the most ugly thing in the world. But I am always quick to not point that out. He now usually starts out with, “I know they are ugly, but I was thinking you could do something with them.” Luckily, after searching I have!

The gold lamps where well worn and extremely filthy. They had most recently been in the home of a heavy smoker. The fabric shades on them where completely useless. Which is a shame, but the smell alone was enough for me to give them the old he ho. Now, I have spray painted fixtures before. When we sold our house we had a fixture that would have been hard to replace due to the position above the sink. I was able to spray the 80’s white away and give it a nice sliver finish. Heck our realtor thought we bought a new fixture!


Now, I think it should be noted that in no way am I a professional. In no way, you should do it completely like me. However, you should also note I took several ideas and made the way that works best for me.

As always, you should start by cleaning whatever it is you are working on. I know we live in a society you just want it and want it now. But this is a must do. If you spray paint without doing any prep, you will I promise see it. That is the first mistake I made when doing the first fixture. For these lamps you will want to cover all electrical parts. I wrapped the cord in a plastic bag and tamped it off. Then, where the light bulb was I placed a cotton ball with tape.


Next, I used a soft cloth and mild cleaning solution (dawn, white vinegar, and warm water) and scrubbed the lamps. Then, dried them off. Since the lamps had been in the home of a long term smoker, I found tons of stuff coming off them. The vinegar also seemed to neutralize the odor. I have used this method on other items which saved my bacon before.

Once the lamps were dry I could prep for paint. Make sure you also still have all electrical components taped off and secure.  I did do a light sanding with a 150 grit sand paper. Nothing like I would do with furniture. Then, wiped it down one more time.

Also note, I am a primer. While so many things tell you that you don’t have to prime (chalk paint) I can guarantee you, you will regret it one day. I am not saying it is a bad product, but for high traffic items, I have seen personally time and time again where it has failed. The spray paint I bought did have a paint and primer in one. But normally, I rely on the product below.

If you choose not to do a spray paint with a primer, make sure to pick up some Kilz. I do recommend allowing overnight for drying. That way if you have ruff patches you can do a little light sanding.


For the color of the lamps I went with a copper finish. I love the Rust Oleum. It can get pricey, but if you end up using three cans of the cheap stuff, it doesn’t end up saving you any money.  Plus with the primer it gives a nice smooth coat. Our house them is a East Coastal Farmhouse. I wanted a bit more color then the normal dark hammered looks that are popular with the farmhouse theme. So I went with the copper look.


Now for the funny, I wont lie, watching me spray paint is like watching an old lady swat at flies. I am half crouched over and complaining about these “darn bugs,” and my knees hurting. I recommend watching a YouTube video and not taking proper pointers from me. Most likely there is a unknown video out there taken by the neighbors. Please have a good laugh, I would given the same situation.

On my lamps it took about three good coats to have a nice uniformed finish. The problem is after starting at the brass for awhile you never know when your are done. All you can see is the ugly brass lamps in your mind. My husband kept telling me they looked good and to relax.


In the end, it turned out great and was a big hit! I haven’t even replaced the shades yet and to be honest, I like not having them. Kind of gives me a little funky feeling. My kids are older and have learned about when something is hot, don’t touch! You might want shades if you have a younger child that just likes to do what they want anyway.

So total expense, $10 for the lamps, $7 for the spray paint, nifty, thrifty, . Not bad!

I also decided, I am going to take down another small fixture in my entry way and do the same thing, except it will probably give it a new shade. In the end, why throw away, when you can just save it with a little TLC.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s