Easy Peasy Green DIY: Update a Thrift Store Lamp

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I love lamps. They’re great for mood and task lighting and they’re even better if you’re like me — meaning you’re too lazy to walk over to your light switch. They also encourage us to conserve energy because we’re less likely to leave them on when we walk out of a room. About 2 months ago, not long after we moved back to Georgia, I bought a $5 thrift store lamp for my daughter’s room. The problem? The shade that came with it was a few sizes to small, made of plastic and melted on one side.

It took me a while, but I finally got around to updating it. As you can see above, a can of low-odor spray paint, a new lamp shade and a creative idea really can do wonders for a cheap old lamp.

The lamp was originally painted an off-white, almost sickly-looking color. It wasn’t cute, but it was functional, so I intended to replace the shade and leave the rest of the lamp alone. Alas, I couldn’t bear the thought of putting a new white shade next to that ugly shade of yellowing white, so I picked up a can of Krylon’s H20 low-odor spray paint in pink and set out to create a better lamp.


What I did:

I wanted the power cord to remain white, so I wrapped it in a piece of old packing paper, and did the same for the top of the lamp where the light bulb fits. Without any prep work at all, I sprayed the lamp with two coats of pink. The surface was already painted, and I was spot-on with my hunch that the spray paint would adhere well.

While the paint dried, I set out to jazz up the boring lampshade I had picked up at Walmart. I did go to at least 4 thrift stores trying to find a used shade, but couldn’t find one that fit or was in good enough condition to use. Alas, I bought a new shade. I loved the french styling, but the shade was made of plain white fabric, and I knew I could do better. I initially planned to add the pink and orange stickers shown in the supply photos above, but I didn’t like the way it looked. Instead, I bought a fleur de lis stamp at Hobby Lobby and stamped the design onto the shade with some pink craft paint. I had to go back and fill in some of the gaps left by the stamp with a paintbrush, but it was a quick process.


That’s it! I just let everything dry, and now my daughter has a new lamp that she loves to use, and I feel great because I designed it myself.

Total Cost: About $20.94

  • Lamp: $5 at the Salvation Army thrift store
  • New shade: $9.99 from Walmart
  • Krylon H20 spray paint: $5.95 (available at Walmart, HomeDepot, Michael’s craft stores and elsewhere)
  • Fleur de lis stamp: $0.99 (Hobby Lobby)
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2 comments… add one
  • Avatar kristen August 10, 2009, 6:14 pm

    Bravo- well done, I LOVE all re purposing projects and this one turned out really nice.

  • Avatar Oonafey August 11, 2009, 8:06 am

    Look great, Jennae!

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