before and afterfurniturelightingproducts

before & after: joëlle’s chair + lia’s lamps

by Grace Bonney

joëlle from umbu lumière sent over this beautiful chair makeover. after picking up this antique chair on a free “bulk goods” day (basel, switzerland’s version of curbside freebies), joëlle redid the chair’s seat and, in the interest of leaving a little bit of the original wood, repainted just the outer frame white. and my favorite part? joëlle used an old skirt of hers to redo the seat! that’s clever and budget-friendly upholstery. thanks for sharing, joëlle!

[have a before & after you’d like to share? just shoot me an email with your images right here! (low res, under 500k per image, please)]

CLICK HERE for lia’s lamp makeover after the jump!

lia fagan sent in these lovely revamped lamps. they were given to her by a family member who no longer wanted them and were transformed with a coat of satin-finish apple green paint and new shades made from anna maria horner‘s “drawing room” fabric. great work, lia!

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  • Does anyone else think it’s sometimes a great disservice to the original wood to just paint it white?

    • courtney

      welcome to before & after day- it’s also known as the weekly battle between people who hate painted wood and the people who love it ;)


  • I love this lamps!
    Did you use a special kind of paint to paint the lamps green? I’ve been working on this project of painting Starbucks frappaccino bottles white by dipping it in paint and with a paint brush, but either way the bottles end up not being smooth (with bubbles or brush stroke). How did you make it so smooth?

  • courtney,

    i would have loved to keep the wood, but the legs and back had bad dammage, painting seemed the only posibility, i might paint an other colour someday

  • I’m always so impressed with people’s creativity here. I would never have thought to have left some of the original wood, but I love the final result.

  • I’m interested in how you covered the lamp shades. Did you have to peel off the old fabric first? Did you use that spray adhesive stuff? Would love to hear your tips as I have an attic full of those shades!

  • Grace,
    Would you use a spray paint for metal even on lamps that are ceramic or some other material? I have a small lamp to re-do and would love to know. Thanks! B/A dayi s my fave. :)

    • for ceramics, no, but for metal, yes. for ceramics i’d prime with a primer spray paint first- be sure not to leave the piece to dry in either very hot or cold temps- as that will affect the drying :)


  • Hi Rebecca & Katy,

    I recovered the shades by making a pattern on paper by tracing the lampshades. Then I cut out the pattern in fabric and hemmed all of the rough edges and used spray adhesive to attach the fabric to the shades.

    : ) Lia

  • Grace, while I appreciate your comment, I’ve been reading this blog for at least six months and understand people have differing opinions. I was expressing mine and unfortunately not every comment is “WOW THIS IS GREAT!”

    Joelle–that makes sense. No offense meant. I don’t think the damage came across in the photos.

    • courtney

      to me, your comment sounded like you genuinely weren’t aware that a paint vs. anti-paint battle seems to take place every week, so i thought i’d let you know it’s something people tend to argue about a lot. my intention wasn’t to start an argument with you ;)

      as someone who’s been moderating comments here for 6 years, i’m well aware that all comments aren’t happy and “great”, and i don’t have a problem with you disliking something or thinking someone shouldn’t paint something- all i was saying is that that comment/debate comes up every week like clockwork, so you’re definitely not alone in feeling the way you do about this piece.


    • courtney

      that’s not my style. there’s enough of that online, and i don’t break out my mean-voice unless someone’s done something seriously out of line. i meant that as a playful sort of “welcome to my world of moderating paint fights every week” ;)


  • Thanks for the clarification grace. it seems like there is no environmentally friendly way to deal with it right? unless there is environmentally friendly spray paint. i stay away from it precisely for this reason. sigh!

  • Hi Guincin,

    Krylon just came out with a new latex spray paint. It is much more eco-friendly than the traditional kind. Hope that helps!


  • I’ve got a great old dresser(1860′) The orig. finish is walnut the veneer is falling off in places. It’s got great old pressed glass knobs (that’s why I bought it) What do you do with something like that except paint?