DIY Home & Décor


May 16, 2016
DIY Upcycled Lamp

Easy DIY – Upcycle Any Old Lamp to Suit Your Home

My second project for the month of May was upcycling or breathing new life into an old lamp. Sadly, not like a magic lamp, just an old lamp. The reason I chose to make this a DIY project is because it is super easy! It takes no time at all, very little money and actually saves you money!

This lamp came from my in-laws and is actually a great lamp. I like the shape, the size, height, but it was originally brass or some would say gold, and this just did not jive with my apartment decor. For that matter, even the lamp shade was a bit dated to the 90s. Don’t get me wrong, I love old things and antiques can fit really well with an otherwise modern and clean look. Some might even suggest that the brass look is vintage and as we all know, styles always come back around. Still, I prefer to take a dated piece and bring new life to it and sometimes great pieces just need quick fixes (like a new lamp shade) to extend their life. What’s more, the style of the lamp maintains the integrity of its original look, in other words, it is quite apparent this is not a new lamp. It does not have sleek lines or a modern style, it’s really the upcycled DIY makeover that brings it out of a past decade and into the 21st century.

Here’s how the piece all came together!

What You’ll Need
  • Old Lamp! – maybe you have one lying around, someone can give you one or you can buy one at Value Village or other thrift store
  • Spray Paint – I used Krylon ColorMaster Paint + Primer in the shade Pewter Grey with a gloss finish
  • Painter’s Tape – for protecting certain parts of the lamp from the paint
  • Lamp Shade – so I kinda got lucky here and happen to find a pretty much good as brand new lamp shade at Value Village for $3… so I suggest checking out thrift shops first of all places!
How to Do It!

Before I dive into the steps, let’s check out a before picture…

DIY Lamp

Before picture showcasing the brass

Step 1 – Tape and Prep

For this project I decided to spray paint the base of the lamp since that would be easiest and I wanted to go with a cool, grey with a blue undertone so it would suit my colour scheme (nave, grey and white), while also look light and fresh.

Start by taking your painter’s tape and taping off the light bulb socket (yes take the light bulb out before you start) and the part of the cord that comes out of the lamp so it does not get paint on it either. Make sure you are working in a well-ventilated space where you are OK to work with spray paint, i.e. outside, workshop or garage would be best. Also, make sure you’re wearing clothes that you’re OK with getting paint on…just in case.

Step 2 – Paint! And Layer

This part is easy, but I do have suggestions for those using spray paint for this kind of project for the first time. Make sure you follow the can’s instruction with the spraying distance to ensure a fine, even coat and to avoid excess paint that could lead to dripping. Make sure you allow adequate time between layers so the paint dries and you’re best to do multiple thin coats to end up with a smooth finish. You may need to go back and lightly spray harder to see areas, such as around the bulb socket and the base.

The great thing about the paint I used is it dried VERY quickly and had great coverage. I was able to complete a few layers of paint within 10 minutes and then transported it back to my apartment shortly after with the lamp 100% dry.

Step 3 – Plug It In, Plug It In

All that’s left to do is 4 easy little steps. Remove the painter’s tape, screw in a light bulb, screw on your new lamp shade (you may even consider keeping the old shade to have a shabby chic look) and plug it in!

Here is the end result!

DIY Lamp

I love the colour result, doesn’t even look like the same lamp.

And here is what it looks like in my apartment (please excuse the giant air conditioner in the back that takes away from an otherwise perfect piece of my apartment).

DIY Lamp

The lamp also has a great new home!

Let me know what you think of the before and after and whether this is a DIY you would consider trying. 

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