Who doesn’t love a great lamp to help style their home? There are so many options online but there’s a slight problem. The price! Some of these lamps cost hundreds of dollars! Luckily there’s a solution. Did you know you can purchase an inexpensive lamp and give it a makeover? Lamps are one of my Top 10 Thrift Store Home Decor Finds for this exact reason! I put together 5 different lamp makeover ideas for you to try. The transformations are like night and day.
I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission on. Thank you!
Before working on the lamps, I made sure they all worked correctly by adding a light bulb and plugging them in. I cleaned them well then used painters tape and taped the sockets and areas I did not want sprayed or painted. For the cords, I taped around the initial part and then tied an elastic around the rest and put it in a ziplock bag.
Lamp makeover idea #1: Faux marble
In 5 Tips For Remodeling A kitchen On A Budget I chat about DIY faux marble for your kitchen countertops. Well, why not try it on lamps too! This little two dollar lamp was the perfect one to try it on.
I used Rust-Oleum paint and primer in a gloss finish as my base. When spray painting any item I usually go by the directions stated in the can, however I allow more time for my finish to dry then stated. The environment you are in can really make a difference in how successful you’ll be when spraying. Be aware that if you are spraying in humid environment or really cold temps this may affect the dry time. For this reason, even if I know the temperature is just right, I add at least an additional thirty minutes to my dry time.
Once the spray paint was dried it was time to create the marble look.
How to create the faux marble look
Starting with the dark gray paint, I added a small amount to the corner of the natural sponge to create my lines. I then went over it (while the paint was still wet) with a small brush and a tiny bit of white paint and dabbed it on to soften the lines. With a smaller brush and dark gray paint, I then painted small lines along the previous painted areas I had created and dry brushed over it to soften that too. Check out the video below.
It doesn’t have to be prefect and it can be random lines. It helps to pull up an image of a marble lamp while you’re painting as a guide.
I later made more defined lines using the dark gray paint and branched off of some and soften those lines too. If you find that you made a mistake you can just wipe it off using a Clorox wipe before the paint completely dries.
Once it was completely finished, I sprayed the gold to freshen it up using Rust-Oleum Metallic. I would have sprayed the gold first then painted, but the plan was to do Rub N Buff instead of spraying. Unfortunately, the finish with the Rub N’ Buff turned out too dull next to the white gloss paint.
I sealed the entire finish using Minwax Polycrylic in clear gloss.
This little lamp will look great on a small desk, placed on top of books, or on a shelf. It may be small but it packs a lot of glam ☺️.
#2 Stone-Textured Spray Paint
Ok so this lamp makeover idea has easily become my favorite! I snagged this cute little lamp for $5 at the thrift store and sprayed it with Krylon Stone Fine Texture in the color Pebble.
I rubbed the lamp using a steel wool to remove some of the gloss finish. It was my first time using this spray and man am I impressed! The texture on this lamp is incredible and it went on so nicely!
This was after just one coat. It smells pretty strong so be sure to spray in a well ventilated room and wear a mask. When spraying, you have to spray from a further distance to avoid drips. It says it dries within 15 minutes but I waited almost an hour in between coats ( I occupied myself with the other lamps while this one dried).
Here it is after three coats! It turned out absolutely perfect!
I highly recommend this spray paint. It was so easy to do and it looks incredible! Just remember to follow the directions closely, be aware of your environment conditions when spraying, and allow for ample dry time.
#3 Chalk Paint
Using chalk paint is great and easy option for a lamp makeover. The consistency is thicker making it easier to layer on and create different textures.
Using Rust-oleum paint in primer in flat black I sprayed the lamp before painting.
I used Home Decor Chalk Paint in the color Sheepskin and using a small paint brush painted 3/4 of the way up the lamp.
With some leftover chalk paint I already had, I used a natural sponge (you can also use a brush) to add my second color. This time to the top portion of the lamp.
I applied most of the top color using the sponge and stopped right before I got to the white paint. Once the white paint was dried, I went back with the same sponge and lightly dabbed on the rest of the paint. As I got into the white paint I applied less paint.
I sprayed all of the lamps, except for the marble and concrete with Minwax Polycryclic in satin finish.
This cute little lamp reminds me of something you see at Target.
This was my first time working with concrete. I purchased DAP Ready Mix Concrete Patch and love how it’s already mixed and ready to use.
All you have to do is stir the concrete patch well before applying. I used a steel wool and went over the lamp to remove some of the gloss finish.
Using a putty knife, I applied the concrete all around the lamp.
This 32 ounce concrete patch was enough for one coat on these two large lamps. It’s pretty messy so be sure to protect your surface and wear gloves when applying.
It took a few hours to completely dry. When the concrete was still a little soft I made indents to create a design using my fingers. I waited a little too long and some areas had already harden but next time I do this, I’m going to smooth the concrete out more. It could have also used another thin coat of concrete in order to achieve a better design but I ran out and did not want to go out and purchase more. I like how old and worn it looks though. I left it to dry overnight before sanding and painting.
Once the concrete was completely dried, I used a 120 grit sanding block and sanded the sharp edges to smooth.
I used the Home Chalk paint in the color Sandstorm and lightly dry brushed it on, going in the same direction as I did to apply the concrete.
With the same brush, I wet it a little and dabbed the brush onto a paper towel and dry brushed using circular motions.
After painting, I taped off the concrete and sprayed the top and bottom of the lamp using Rust-Oleum in the color oil rubbed bronze.
I love how this lamp looks super rustic and worn. The perfectionist in me wishes it was nice and smooth but the imperfections gives it so much character.
Concrete look #2
For the second concrete lamp, once it was dried I added a little spackling on some of the cracks. I might have added too much of a heavy coat of concrete and gravity pulled small areas down. Nonetheless this isn’t something that can’t be fixed. Another coat would have worked well but the spackling did the trick. The spackle goes on pink and turns white when dry.
I sanded it this time using my Surfprep Sander and slowing the speed down worked really well.
I used Dixie Bell Chalk Mineral Paint in the color Terracotta and mixed it with the Home Decor Chalk paint (the same paint I used on the chalk painted lamp) to lighten it up. This was my base color.
I then painted the lamp using Sherwin Williams in the color Khaki Shade.
Using some left over paint from the faux marble lamp, I dried brushed some areas with the gray and white paint.
The last lamp makeover idea you can try is spackling. When I first did it it didn’t go as well. I created these random lines around the lamp while the spackle was drying but I did not like that the lines weren’t uniform.
So back to the drawing board I went. I scraped off the spackling and cleaned and sprayed the lamp with Rust-Oleum flat black paint and primer.
Using a putty knife, I applied the spackling to the lamp and left the top portion as is.
I then sanded it using my Surfprep sander. The spackling was very easy to sand. Once that was all set, I painted the lamp black and used painters tape to create a dip look.
The bottom was painted Sherwin Williams Khaki Shade (same color I used on the concrete lamp)
The lamp could have easily been left black after spraying but I wanted to give the spackling a try. The spackling adds nice texture and I love how rustic and distressed it looks.
Where to find shades for your lamp makeover
If you read my blog post on thrift shop items for home decor and what I stay away then you know I’m leaving the used lamp shade behind. I like to purchase new shades for my lamps. One of the best places for lamp shades is At Home Decor Store. They have the best prices and tons of options. They also have harp holders and other accessories for your lamp.
Another great place for lamp shades is Lowe’s. They have a variety of options and accessories but for a slightly higher price then At Home Decor Store.
For online shopping, Amazon has lots of options and sets of 2 shades for really great prices.
Now go and save yourself a few hundred bucks by getting a thrifted lamp, painting supplies, and get to work with this great DIY!