Travel, Treats, Tips, & Traditions

Garage Sale Lamp Makeover!

Posted on: by Kate


If you have been here for any amount of time you know I am a little bit into garage sales.  Garage sales, thrift stores, estate sales, and Craigslist are almost always my first shop of choice when we need something.  A week or so ago my mom (who is also a wee bit into buying other people’s junk treasures) texted me a picture of an blah, dated lamp. She has had my ‘Garage Sale Wish List‘ since before I even published it.  We moved from a house with a whole lotta built in lighting to one with very little so I am always on the lookout for lamps. My mom and I look for stuff both of us need when we are out too – we are one another’s personal shoppers I guess you could say.


“Want it? It works. $5.”

It was not exactly a lamp I would have bought in a store but not many of my lamps really are.  I knew with a new lampshade and a little paint it could work into our decor so I texted back.

“Yes Please!”

This was an EASY project that just about anyone can do.  I think there are two really important things you need to consider for a make over lamp.

First, make sure it works.  My husband has rewired some lights for me – I’m sure it isn’t hard – but it takes time and it is an added expense for product.  When you add in that extra time and money it just isn’t a deal anymore in my opinion.

Second – make sure you like the shape of the body of the lamp.  Ignore the shade.  Ignore the color of the body.  Ignore the texture or material it is made of – do you like the shape?

If you can answer ‘Yes’ to both of those things – grab it!  Check out how easy peasy it was to upcycle this lamp!

I donated the original lamp shade and started searching for a replacement. Because you know me, you know I tried to find a lamp shade that was already preloved – simply to save money.  Sadly, every lamp shade I came in contact with during the two weeks that I owned that new ugly lamp were nearly as blah as the one on it.  So on a trip to Target I picked up a cool looking lamp shade.  It was on sale for just over $20.  So now my $5 lamp is a $25 lamp and I’m not really happy about that, but I didn’t want to buy a lamp shade I didn’t like…. and it is still less expensive than just about ever brand new lampshade free lamp out there so I am still ahead of the game!

The next step was to spruce up the body of the lamp.  If I had decided to go with a more colorful lampshade I might have kept the body the natural dark brown color, but it looked boring as it was.  Many of you know I have a little thing for Behr Marquee paint.  No, this is not even a teensie bit sponsored, I just have worked with them before and I love the product!  I buy small sample sizes from time to time for things like frames, lamps, mirrors, knick nacks, etc.  I can paint quite a few items with a little $4 sample.  For this lamp I chose “Everglade” by Behr Marquee.


If you are wondering how to paint a lamp, the process is so easy!  Because the lamp base was metal I knew the paint would eventually peel off without primer.  I taped off the plug and top to keep them from getting paint and simply spray primed the entire body.

how-to-paint-a-lampAfter the primer was completely dry I brushed on the Everglade Behr Marquee paint – you can do this with any color or brand.  I like Marquee because it’s coverage and vibrancy is hard to match.  It truly covers better than anything I have ever used, and while there are many brands out there that claim one coat coverage, the color snob in me finds the others I have seen to be really drab.  The colors in the Marquee palette just really speak to me. I used about 1/20 of the little container – this container will be used on dozen’s more small projects for our house and maybe even gifts!  Hot Tip : Buy quality paint at a home improvement store instead of the craft store!  A lesser quality paint would have been MUCH more expensive at our local craft store!

So I painted the entire lamp carefully, I made sure to keep any ‘drippys’ from forming.  I did not want any dry drip bubbles anywhere, that would look lame.  When it was completely dry I roughed it up a bit, if you are going to do the same I suggest letting it dry completely overnight first.

I used a fine grate sand paper and just went to town on the edges.  I wanted both the white primer as well as the brown base to show through.  I personally like the depth of a shabbied corner, but if this isn’t your thing of course just skip it.


For about $25 we have a pretty nice lamp that compliments the rest of our decor!  Do you have a Garage Sale Lamp Makeover post?  Leave it in the comment section!


Until Next Time ~ Kate
Comments: 4 Responses
  1. Lori says:

    Love this and so simple!

  2. Emily says:

    Cute!!! I need a lot more practice on getting the right “eye” for transforming things. I see all of these great ideas, but can never find just the right pieces to create cool things…or do i and I just pass them up unknowingly?!

  3. Rena Frey says:

    That lamp looks amazing! So easy and it’s brand new looking!

  4. Terry says:

    Love the color of the lamp base. I also love going to garage sales as well as checking on Craigslist for items I want or may need.

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