before & after: brass lamp redo + bench makeover

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

  1. Jody says:

    What kind of spray paint did you use over the brass? Did you have to prime it?

  2. Suzanne says:

    I would have never guess that that brassy lamp would take paint so well. Well done!

  3. Awesome! See how a little bit of paint, creative imagination and elbow grease will result in great results.

  4. Beautiful! Giving life to old pieces of furniture is one of my favorite things to do. There are so many possibilities of what you can do and its usually very inexpensive. Thanks for sharing!

    -Forever Lovely

  5. Charlie says:

    Love the lamp! Same question as above, what type of paint did you use?

  6. modernmonkey says:

    What a great idea with the bench. I’m looking for a small entry way organizer and place to put on your shoes and this is just a wonderful idea. I’m sure I could find something at my local Goodwill. Thanks!

  7. hmr says:

    I can’t get over that lamp. It looks FANTASTIC! What kind of paint did you use to achieve that shine?

  8. Suzy says:

    Both transformations look great! The lamp was a total surprise because I thought it would be difficult to paint that brassy finish.

  9. Bella says:

    Amazing how the brass came out looking like a porcelain finish. Now I know what to do with those lamps in my attic. Thanks so much for sharing this idea!

  10. Amy says:

    I used just a basic gloss finish spray paint that I picked up at Rona. It’s nice because I’ve used the same type of paint but different color for an end table I have and it’s super shiny! I actually got the idea from a Designsponge post where another person was re-doing old lamps and selling them. I thought, well I can do that! Takes thrift shopping to a whole new level!!

  11. Katherine says:

    Hmmm…. I feel the need for more details… the finish on the lamp is so much like porcelain! It has such depth in each of the grooves, it looks like you used multiple colors. What brand of spray paint did you use? Is it high gloss paint? This looks awesome – I am for sure inspired!!

  12. Patsy says:

    Makeovers were great, but I have to say the unmade bed in the bench after photo was very distracting !!

  13. Karen says:

    That Green Bench is just happy to look at. That is just the cheeriest piece of furniture, love the color! Great work.

  14. Amy says:

    The lamp is super shiny for sure, I didn’t even need a primer. The paint is Rona brand, Enamel, interior and exterior. Used maybe a quarter of the can for the job. It just dries incredibly shiny! I’m planing of getting a can of darker dusty rose to cover my coffee table in :) Happy painting!!

  15. Sean says:

    Karen, thanks! I love the color too.

  16. DIANE PABST says:

    crazy about decorated eggs too

  17. Amanda says:

    Mind sharing the paint color on the lamp, it’s beautiful!!

  18. I too love redecorating and changing the looks of my house accessories such as my wooden wind chimes.

    I like what you did with the lamp shade and the bench. It’s perfect for any living room.

  19. Debra Cooper says:

    Fabulous look – cant ever throw out a lamp! This one is great


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