9 Bright Ideas For Making That Sad Lamp Look Way More Expensive

published Jan 9, 2020
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Lamps are one of those decor pieces that can set the tone of the room, but sometimes finding the perfect one can be a challenge. This one is the perfect shape but wrong color, this one has a weird shade… this one is perfect, but way too pricey. The good news is that your local thrift store is brimming with lamps looking for a second life—thanks, Marie Kondo!—so you don’t have to spend a ton of money. With just a little DIY, you can take even the saddest lamps straight to fab. Here’s some inspiration to get you started.

Give the base a subtle matte black redo

The “before” version of this lamp? A dated, swirly brown—but with a pretty shape that Kristine of The Painted Hive knew she could salvage. Matte black paint paired with a linen shade make the same lamp look completely modern.

Change your lamp up seasonally with vinyl stickers

There are plenty of pretty vinyl stickers to choose from—like these floral ones—but you can also print your own at home. Emma from A Beautiful Mess created a set of illustrated crystals to deck out a plain, glass base for a one-of-a-kind look. Her lamp came from HomeGoods, but you’ll likely find similar glass lamps at thrift stores, too. The best part? Since these are easy to swap out, you can change up your style with the seasons.

Fake the look of marble

Real marble lamps can cost a pretty penny. Rachel of Joyful Derivatives ingeniously achieved the same look for her thrifted 1980s-tastic brass lamp with a little help from contact paper. Try her method on any kind of simple and smooth base.

Go simple on the base, and all-in on a new shade

Sonja and Jane of Sustain My Craft Habit knew that the original pleated, pink shade had to be changed to fit their coastal bedroom. With a little bit of DIY, they painted the base and created a new burlap shade that is much more cohesive with the rest of their home.

Add paint, plus a little distressing, to highlight intricate details

Look at those claw feet! Those details are exactly why you hunt thrift stores. Anna from Live Love Thrifty saw potential to transform the original $5 black and brass base into something more in line with her shabby-chic style with a bit of paint and distressing, which keeps the texture front and center.

Turn a unique sculpture into a lamp base

Claire, of Claire Brody Designs, is known for designing warm and unique spaces. With a little clever wiring, she was able to turn this horse head sculpture into the perfect statement lamp. Claire’s horse came from HomeGoods, but you’d likely find similarly kitschy items at your local thrift store that you could fit with lamp wiring in the same way.

Use stencils for extra oomph

If you want to go a little more decorative with your painting skills, Christy of Confessions of a Serial DIYer shows us how to use stencils to breathe new life into a tired piece.

Try out unique materials for a funky new shade

You’ll never guess the material Andrea of Harlow & Thistle used for her Anthropologie inspired makeover. We won’t give any spoilers, but let’s just say she nailed the look for under $10.

Give acrylic lamps a colorful new spin

These clear ball lamps everywhere in the early 2000s. Their popularity probably stemmed from their ability to blend into any home, but let’s take a cue from Anam of Delicious and DIY and give it a little personality.