One Day Project: Old dusty lamp gets lightened and brightened

Old Lamp

I’ve had this lamp sitting in a box in my garage for about three years now.  Before that it was sitting in a storage facility, my old room at my parents’ house, and probably my parents’ garage as well.  While yes, I am a little bit of a hoarder (shocking!), I kept this not because of my frequent compulsion but rather because this raggedy-looking thing once belonged to my grandmother and I couldn’t just throw it away.  I also didn’t trust that if I gave it away that it wouldn’t just be thrown away later.   However, dirty and chipped and faded as it was it just didn’t have any place in my house.

Until today.  Well, Sunday actually.

I was giving my living room an update (you can check out the post on that soon) and it just needed something.  I remembered this lamp, and plans that I’ve had for it but have never acted on.  It’s just too easy to say that I’ve got too much to do and never do it.  But truth be told, this weekend, and the past few weekends have been busy as hell and I still got it done.  Hopefully this is a sign of things to come, but we’ll just have to see what shakes out.

Anyway, here’s how I turned that echo of yesteryear up there into a much more stylish piece that I am now proud to display and show off.

1. Grab the foam sanding block and a damp towel.

chipping paint

This was what most of the surface of the lamp was like: chipping paint and sealer, deep grooves filled with mummified dust.  Lots of exposed plaster made me a little nervous but I didn’t have much choice if I was going to get rid of the damage.


Veeeery lightly, I began knocking off the old paint and reshaping the badly chipped areas.  Instead of a back-and-forth motion, I sanded in only one direction, making sure to only lightly touch the areas that were more plaster than paint.  In the spots that I wasn’t too careful, you can still see the lines that the sandpaper etched into the very soft plaster surface.  Once the more glaring issues were taken care of, I went back over with the damp cloth and (in some cases) fingernails to remove the smaller loose pieces and dirt.

It was messy.

plaster mess

Very messy.

2. I taped off the light socket and the cord.  I then grabbed my trusty flat white spray paint (I may have an addiction, but it is a stylish one and therefore I’m okay with it).  I gave it a super thick coat of paint, trying to cover up the lingering imperfections.


Apparently the imperfections include my photography.

3.  I let it dry overnight.

4. I rehomed it.  The lamp now lives in my – hah – living room, and surprise! it actually still works.  Sure, the mechanism is broken so I have to leave it on at all times and just plug and unplug it and it is almost certainly a fire waiting to happen.  But for being several decades old and still working, I’d say that’s pretty impressive.

new lamp lit up

Someday I might purchase a new lamp kit and rewire it, but truth be told, I kind of like it that way.  The old wiring next to the stark, new white surface is sort of pretty in a shabby-chic sort of way.  Also, trying to re-wire a lamp will probably get me electrocuted and my house destroyed.

But for now, it looks really great in my new living room.

new lamp


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: