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before and afterlightingproducts

before & after: brass lamp redo + bench makeover

by Kate Pruitt


New lighting can be a great way to a freshen up a room, and there are always so many options available at thrift stores and flea markets; occasionally, a gem can even be found on the side of the road. Amy snagged this lamp-and-shade combo for only $6, and using just a little fabric and paint, she was able to transform it into a lovely new lamp for her living room. Great job, Amy! — Kate

Time: A few hours

Cost: $20

Basic Steps: The first step I took was to basically tape off the areas I didn’t want the spray paint on (e.g., the cord and the top part that the light bulb screws into). I did a couple thin coats of light gray to match the gray accent in the fabric and let it dry for 24 hours. For the lamp shade, I purchased about a yard and a half of some cool, retro, 100% cotton fabric. Folding over the corners, I started glue-gunning the top part first. After that piece is secure, it’s easier to determine how much fabric you need, as the shade isn’t symmetrical on the top and the bottom. Cut the fabric to size, leaving folding room. Glue-gun the rest in place, with the seam in the back, of course. Viola! A brand new (to you) lamp!

Be sure to do lots of thin coats of paint instead of thicker ones at first. The paint will start to drip and create an unwanted effect. You want light, even spraying to make sure you get good, even coverage. It’s more time consuming, but it’s worth it! — Amy

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

CLICK HERE to see Sean’s bench transformation after the jump!

Benches are one of my favorite kinds of furniture — they’re small, versatile and easy to play around with when planning your interior layout. If I had more room in my home, I think I would add a couple benches here and there for extra storage, seating and interest, and I’d love it if one of them was just like this green bench makeover from Sean. I adore the unexpected combination of preppy, bold color with the ornate lines of the piece. Great transformation, Sean!

Time: A few hours

Cost: under $10

Basic Steps: I was going for a high-gloss finish, which is why I chose spray paint. I wanted the piece, which has an oriental feel, to read a bit more preppy. To sand it, I actually used steel wool per my dad’s suggestion. Advice I would have for people undertaking a similar project? Number One: do this in a well-ventilated area! I tackled this in my parent’s garage. Number Two: it’s relatively easy to achieve an even coat using spray paint, but practice on the back of the piece of furniture first to figure out exactly how far away you really want to hold the can and how long you can hold it over one area of the piece before it starts to drip! Drips are bad.

Overall, this is a super easy way to update something that might otherwise be underwhelming — and on that note, I definitely recommend using high-gloss paint, as it really makes the piece pop. Otherwise, at least for me and this bench, I think the look would’ve been too understated. And again, I really wanted to convert it into something a bit preppier, hence the Kelly green shade. — Sean

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