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Updating lamps: from eyesore to feature piece

You know when you’re moving into a new place…your first place (or a bigger place), and you’re hitting up all your friends and family for their old, unwanted furniture so you can furnish your place while you get over the financial hit of moving?

And then years pass and you just can’t quite get rid of it, even though you can’t stand it?

That’s how I feel about my living room lamps.

They came to me along with a truckload of other furniture. My grandma’s friend said I could have the whole lot for $300—saved her from selling off the pieces one by one and saved me the trouble of collecting this and that from all over the area.

It was an amazing deal, really.

But the lamps…

They are so interesting! And…such an eyesore.

Three years passed since I took possession of the lamps and finally I had enough. I had talked about it for ages but finally I was ready to tackle the lamp problem.

The grooves, shiny bits, and inconsistent textures made me nervous to simply spray paint the lamps (although I desperately wanted to).

After asking around for a while I set out to grab some decorative stone from the home improvement store—I even took the time to shop around for new and/or used lamps and still came out thinking it was cheaper to re-cover the lamps, even if it took three layers of $50 faux stone to accomplish it.

But then! I stumbled upon spray paint, which gave a textured finish. And it was made for ceramics etc. For only $11 I had to give it a shot—what’s the worst that could happen? I’d have ugly lamps?

So, I taped up the parts I didn’t want to spray and started in.

The paint was thick and it didn’t run at all. I had a good feeling.

One lamp took three coats of paint, which is an entire can of spray paint. So in total my lamp experiment cost me $22 (plus tax) and I can’t say I’m disappointed.

I let the paint dry almost completely between coats (I’ve had some bad experiences with spray paint) so it took a few days to really finish the lamps, but it was well worth the extra effort!

Not only did I avoid the faux stone, which would have been much messier, but they look actually quite good. And the best part is I don’t hate my living room lamps anymore.

On a side note I did purchase some new lamp shades, which I thought would help even more but they looked awful. I’m not quite sure what sort of shade will look better than the ones I have…perhaps I’m not done with these lamps quite yet.

Although, they are growing on me.

Working full time as a writer, editor and audio broadcast producer should be enough. But instead of resting after a long work day Robyn sets to creating havoc in her space by attempting more DIY, upcycle and knitting projects than she has room for. Her husband is a patient man.

One Response to “Updating lamps: from eyesore to feature piece”

Mar Foster

This is a great idea for lamps. I must try. You see them all the time in the thrift stores and with new shades who’s to know where they came from.

I have used this product on clay pots years ago with good results. Have often thought of recycling lamps. So many ideas, so little time !!


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