Two weeks ago I drove by the Salvation Army with my son and decided to stop in again. While I was browsing the lamps, I got really excited when I spotted two matching ugly lamps which had a great shape. I showed them to my son because I immediately had a specific lamp makeover in mind.
Unique Painted Lamp Makeover
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Of course when I call them “ugly”, I have to state that it is all in the eye of the beholder.
Several years have passed since I made over these lamps. Someone who loved these lamps bought them from me. I have to admit that if I would see them at a store now, I would still buy them but would give them a different makeover. I don’t think they are as ugly as I thought they were when I first saw them. I’d love to strip the wood for a more natural wooden tone and also leave the painted glass and faux brass detail as is. This would give them a more boho makeover now. Regardless, I still love the first makeover too.
Story how I found these “Ugly Lamps”
As I mentioned at the beginning I went to my favorite Goodwill with my son and spotted these lamps.
Me: “Look at these lamps, I want them!”
Son: “Oh, they are freakin ugly. They are the ugliest lamps I have ever seen!”
Me: “I love them.”
Him: “You are not buying them, we have no room!”
So we left. That night I kept dreaming about the awesome ugly lamps and guess what? I went back the next day and THANK YOU they were still there. I grabbed them and bolted to the register. I was so full of joy (I’m serious)! The lady at the register looked at me like I had two heads. And I giggled: “Aren’t they so ugly?”
She looked at me again and asked: “Well do you want them now or what?”
Me: “Well of course I do, how couldn’t I?”
This is where I have to explain my lamp addiction which was I guess passed down from my mother who has (and I made her count) 22 lamps in her house. She’s had mostly the same lamps for the past 40 years but I like adding and moving them around. Lamps are expensive, so I can’t argue with Salvation Army when they are selling ugly lamps for $4.
What I love about these two lamps is that they have a great shape and are very big. The shape reminded me of the Jonathan Adler lamps pictured below. I love him!
Quick and easy instructions for DIY lamp makeover
Check for any necessary repairs
Check the wiring and light socket parts for any damage. A lot of times old lamps like this need electrical wiring repairs and you can buy a kit to replace the old wiring which is surprisingly easy. I, fortunately, didn’t need any electrical repairs for this lamp makeover.
It is also possible that you need a harp if you are planning on adding a new lampshade. Check out my post about how to add a harp to a lamp.
Clean the lamps
I love using TSP Cleaner or Krud Kutter to degrease and clean everything first before priming and painting. Make sure to let everything dry before heading to the next step.
Tape off electrical parts
Use painter’s tape to tape off the electrical cord and the top lighting socket and switch. Wipe everything down with a tack cloth to remove dust, dirt, and hair.
Prime and paint the lamps
Kilz Spray Primer is my go-to spray primer. It really helps the actual paint stick better and I never get any annoying bubbling and cracking of the spray paint either. Just make sure to shake the can really well and long before evenly spraying it over what you want to prime. Plus these lamps have 3 different finishes, this primer adheres to glass, metal, and wood.
After that, I gave the lamps two coats of white Rustoleum spray paint.
When the white spray paint dried. I had some different shades of gray left and after taping off some stripes, I sprayed some more gray details onto the lamps.
I also added some fabulous new Target lamp shades (I always buy shades when I see a great cheap pair at a store).
Photos of finished lamp makeover
Check out how the finished lamps look on my painted silver dresser.
UPDATE: Since this makeover, the look of the hallway has changed completely again. I stripped the silver paint off and turned it into a bleached wood dresser.
Aren’t they awesome? Or is it just me? I love them even more now and nobody has called them ugly since. My mission is accomplished!
Other DIY lighting projects
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