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Light Up Your Life: Upcycle a Thrifted Lamp

Who doesn’t love a beautiful lamp? I do. But I don’t love some of the huge price tags they carry. And since I love a deal I have made it a habit now to search out interesting lamps at thrift stores and garage sales. Here is a simple DIY makeover project for upcycling a thrifted lamp.

Thrifted Lamp Makeover upcycled at thehappyhousie

Begin with a lamp base that has a good shape. The shade doesn’t necessarily matter – it can always be replaced.

Thrifted Upcycled Lamp Before makeover at thehappyhousie

I totally fell head over heels for the chunky gourdish lines of this little beauty and snapped it up despite the slightly steep $8 price tag. All profits from this particular thrift store go to charity so I justified the high price by considering it a donation. Usually I pay $2-$5 for lamps at garage sales.

Thrifted Upcycled Lamp base before makeover at thehappyhousie

Wowza!! Just looking at those curves I knew I had made the right choice.

Enter a little spray paint action. I chose white to keep it light and pretty, and because I knew I wanted to embellish the shade.

Thrifted Lamp Makeover spraypaint for base at thehappyhousie

And miracle of miracles, I actually didn’t screw it up this time and get my usual plethora of drippiness.

Tip: Use many thin coats rather than trying to finish it all in one thick gloppy drippy mess.

Thrifted Lamp Makeover base closeup at thehappyhousie

Quite a difference!

Thrifted Upcycled Lamp base before makeover at thehappyhousieThrifted Lamp Makeover base at thehappyhousie










Now time for the shade. I ditched the old one and subbed in a beautiful crisp white drum shade I had picked up for $5 on clearance at Walmart. To add a little colour I used my hot glue gun to attach some ribbon around the shade.

Thrifted Lamp Makeover shade ribbon glue gun at thehappyhousie

Thrifted Lamp Makeover ribbon on drum shade at thehappyhousie

Attach your shade to your newly painted lamp, plug it in, and light up your life! Total cost $13. I’m pleased.

Thrifted Lamp Makeover after at thehappyhousie

I think the most fun part of the whole thing is seeing the before and after. I bet this was a stunning lamp in its (1977) day… and now it is renewed.

Thrifted Upcycled Lamp Makeover at thehappyhousie

You might have spotted it sitting on the DIY Chalk Paint Side Table the other day.

DIY Upcycle a Thrifted Lamp at thehappyhousie

It has found quite a cozy little home there. See! Simple project you could do this weekend and freshen up a little corner of your home with some fresh light. If you do, I would love to see some pics!!

What sort of thrifted/upcycled projects have you been tackling lately? I love to get inspiration from other people’s ideas… share please!!

And remember, my housie friends, HOME isn’t built in a day. Enjoy the journey








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Linking up at some of my favourite Housie Parties and at DIY_Maynia_Button

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    1. Thank you Cristina! The shape is really funky, kind of looks like a gourd… but I love how the chunky base looks painted out bright white. So thrilled you came by!!

  1. Hey Krista!

    This is great – love the upcycle!! We’ll be featuring it at the Pinterest Power Party tomorrow night… Hope you’ll come back and link up again!

    You can grab a new “featured” button when the party goes live tomorrow!

    Happy Tuesday!

  2. Thanks for linking up to Whimsy Wednesday! Your project has been featured this week!


    Also, you can add your project {or any project} to my website. I feature them on my main slider on the home page…follow this link to submit your project!

    Be sure to stop by and grab a button…


    1. Hi Susan! So thrilled and excited to hear this!! Yay! Thanks for the feature:) I will definitely head over to your blog and check out your project slider… that sounds like a wonderful idea. Thanks for the invite,

    1. Lol! That is for sure! Thanks so much Nancy… I love it so much now that it is worth the whole 8$ plus the 5$ shade… a little steep but worthwhile:)

  3. My mom has that exact lamp! Totally brought back my childhood of reading Agatha Christie while curled up on the couch next to that lamp.

    Her base is still the original–but she replaced the shade with an odd burgundy one. (Yes, she is actually color blind, so it matches to her eyes.)

    But now I want her lamp LOL.

    1. Oh, that is so funny Dree! What a cute story… isn’t it interesting how certain things that were in our homes as children bring back such strong memories? It would probably be harder to re-do something that has those kind of memories attached to it though! Thanks for your visit and comments!

    1. Thank you Cassie. I loved the shape of the base too, am totally thrilled with how different it looks white! Thanks so much for your visit and your comments.

    1. Hi Ingrid! With the amount of colour around here I figured a little white lamp would help balance things out. I think it looks pretty modern now too, almost like something you could buy in a store today.

  4. WOW Krista! I almost can’t believe it’s the same lamp?!!!! I love what you did with the shade, perfect! Thank you too for being so supportive of my blog, will see you around blogosphere for sure! 🙂

    1. Thank you Anjana. I don’t know if they meant it to be a gourd lamp when they made it, but it sure did/does look like one, doesn’t it! I wonder how we will look back at current design styles in twenty or thirty years. Hard to imagine that it may seem as tacky as we think the 70s/80s were… but you never know! Thanks for hopping over!!

    1. Thank you Selene! The white lamp base subdues the brightly coloured ribbon embellishment, I think. Thank you so much for your comments!

  5. Krista, I love your color choices. And the lamp turned out awesome. What a gorgeous shape you had to work with. The glossy white totally does it justice I’m sure the brown never did. The room looks really nice. Cutie pie pillow there too.

    1. Thanks so much Therese! The shape was not shown off nicely by the brown tones… I love it in glossy white. The funky gourdish shape really shows through now. Thanks so much for your visit!!

    1. I know, Melissa! Some thrift stores around here are getting too “trendy” now and the prices reflect that. Have to hunt out my bargains more seriously now!!

    1. Hi Rose! Thanks for your kind words (but I must admit it really was a pretty simple project:) I will definitely hop over there!!

    1. Hi Stephanie! Thanks, it was a fun and quick project and really brightens up the corner (pun intended?). Thanks for your visit!

  6. I love your color choices. (I just can’t get over them). Anyway, what I really wanted to say was I am impressed at your vision. I would have run the other way from that lamp originally, but your transformation is gorgeous.

    1. AW, thanks sooo much PJ! You gotta look past the colour and finish of old lamps (or old pieces in general) and JUST look at the shape – everything with a good shape looks fabulous painted!!

    1. Hi Ann Marie,
      I am thoroughly converted to thrifting now… there is something so satisfying about giving something a new life:)

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