$3 Thrift Store Lamp Makeover

Hello lovely friends!

Thank you so much for all the amazingly kind comments ya’ll left when entering my Blogiversary Giveaway! You really know how to make a girl feel loved! Congratulations to Wendy from North Carolina…she is the winner of this fun prize pack and has already been notified. 🙂

I decided that today I would share the little makeover I had planned to share for Trash-to-Treasure Tuesday. I ended up sharing my desk instead since I was able to get it finished in time. See it HERE if you missed it.

Today I am sharing a lamp makeover!

What do you see when you look at this lamp?

Do you see what I see?

All those pretty curves?

Apparently not everyone could see past the dated green and brown finish because I found this on clearance at the thrift store for only $2.98!

My birdhouse lamps finally sold (hallelujah!), and my booth is missing that soft light they provided. It is also missing most of its inventory ahem…working on that. So when I saw this lamp marked down to next to nothing, I knew it would be a great piece to make over.

Thrift store lamp made over with DIY chalk paint from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

Paint is magical.

Thrift store lamp made over with DIY chalk paint from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

I painted this while I still had my Bit of Sugar by Behr (made into chalk paint of course) out from painting my china hutch.

Thrift store lamp made over with DIY chalk paint from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

That was after one coat. Two coats did the trick. Then instead of grabbing my sand paper, I chose to wet distress.

I chose to wet distress because there is a good chance that if I use sandpaper, I could take off more of the finish than I wanted. Because this lamp is not wood, it is likely a whitish color under that old finish, and I definitely did not want that peeking through. To wet distress, I just dipped an old wash rag in some water and rubbed where I wanted the paint to come off.

Wet distressing a lamp

I was able to control the distressing more easily as well.

Lamp after wet distressing

I sealed it with Annie Sloan’s clear soft wax.

Look away from the bottom of the curtains in the background, I still need to hem them.

Thrift store lamp made over with DIY chalk paint from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

I said look away ha ha. I have a few loose ends to tend to in this room. I’ll share it eventually, I promise!

Thrift store lamp made over with DIY chalk paint from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

This shade came from Tuesday Morning years ago, but I have seen similar ones in HomeGoods from time to time, and At Home has a burlap version. The lamp I bought it for used to be in my old dining room but it finally bit the dust.

Thrift store lamp made over with DIY chalk paint from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

I found this finial at Hobby Lobby and painted it to match:

This little lady will be heading to my booth soon!

Thrift store lamp made over with DIY chalk paint from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

I’m having a painting marathon today and tomorrow. I am going to try to freshen up several pieces that I had in my old house that I am no longer using here, so I can get my booth filled back up, including this sewing machine cabinet:

I’ll be back on Tuesday to share how I freshened this one up!

UPDATE: See the new look I gave this pretty table HERE now! 🙂

Have a fantastic weekend!!




Don’t Miss a Thing!

If you like what you see, there are several ways to follow along!

Email * Facebook * Instagram * Pinterest * Twitter


Never miss a thrifty makeover! Receive my new posts right to your inbox!

* indicates required


  1. Mary Kaiser says

    Wow that is so cute, I love how that turned out. I have bought quite of few lamps from my thrift store, but none of them have turned out that pretty.

  2. Absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi Chirsty,
    What a great makeover! I have done some lamps similar to yours. Did you cover the lampshade? Its gorgeous! I have a few plain boring lampshades and was looking to do something like this.

    • Thanks, Diane! I bought this shade several years ago to go with another lamp that has since bit the dust. 🙂

  4. The lamp is beautiful and would be hard for me to sell. Love the shade also. Wet distressing is new to me but you know all the tricks to the trade. Well done.

    • Thank you, Janice! It is sitting here in my office at the moment and looks right at home! Yep wet distressing was the way to go with this one. XOXO

  5. The lamp is so beautiful! It’s hard to believe it’s the same lamp as the original. It always amazes me the change paint makes.

  6. Norma Rolader says

    Oh my how adorable I will have to go find me a lamp

  7. Michele Gallagher says

    I LOVE THAT LAMP!!!! Way to to go and thanks for the idea!!! I never thought about using a wet cloth to destress… Oh how I love this happy place…and you too of course…Have a great wkend..

    • Thank you, Michele! Yep it takes a little more effort to wet distress, but perfect for small pieces like lamps! XOXO

  8. Love it! Sure wish I lived closer to your booth………and you! Enjoy your humor and yes, you caught me looking back to see your unhemmed curtains. ???? Would have never noticed them otherwise!

    • Thanks, Michelle! I wish you lived closer too…and yep I always get so close to finishing a project and then I don’t, at least with house stuff. Will get to those curtains eventually! 🙂

  9. Sherry Stuifbergen says

    Did you have to rewire it too? (Don’t tell me you know how to do electrical stuff too!!) I thought maybe you redid an old shade because that fabric looks like some of your other projects. You don’t sit still a minute, do you? I admire someone like you. I am glad you have a booth for all your “finds” you don’t use in your house. Go girl!

    • Thankfully, no! I always check to make sure the plug is updated first, although I have heard it isn’t hard to do at all. Yes, I am so grateful to have a place to take all those pieces I won’t use too! Thanks, Sherry!! XOXO

  10. Susan Williams says

    I love the make over! I have a similar floor lamp (garbage pick years ago) that I had painted black and it needs to be repainted. Ive been contemplating white vs black again. I think your choice of white is the way I will go! Ohhh I almost bought your bird house lamps when I was on vacation and visited your booth. I regretted not doing so as soon as we left but I did find some great buys there! We also discovered At Home and spent hours in there! I wish there was one close, tat store is amazing!
    Thanks for sharing

    • Thanks, Susan! Black is a perfect base color for a pretty white makeover if you plan to distress it a little. I thought those lamps were so sweet, but they sat for a very long time in my booth. Hopefully it was stocked when you were there! And yes, we visited the At Home store just yesterday… I could get lost in there lol! XOXO

  11. Love it! I found a lamp in a pile of stuff for the trashman in front of someone’s house. (This area is known for putting out trash that you hope someone will take before the garbage truck arrives!) The lamp is similar in height to yours and the bronze-ish stuff is corroded and funky but kinda cool. I think I might try your technique on it. I am going to have a paintbrush in my hand this weekend anyway so no time like the present!

  12. So cute! I can’t wait to see the results of your painting marathon.

  13. The lamp turned out beautifully! Love the shade with it…xoxo

  14. That is just gorgeous. What a great find for $3. I have a floor lamp in my bed room that was a yard sale find for $2 or $3 I believe. It is brass and the finish has seen better days..You have inspired me. I think I will paint it white or perhaps Ivory. My question is when you did the wet distressing did you do that when the second coat of paint was still wet? I would like to try that on my lamp.

    • Thank you, Marsha! Yes, paint it! I did the wet distressing shortly after the paint had dried. 🙂

  15. Marcie Lovett says

    Who would even notice curtains with that fabulous lamp to gaze at? Of course, once you mentioned them… actually, they don’t look so bad puddled. Have we seen that side table or is it new, too?

    Better start on another lamp, because that one’s going to fly out of the booth. Speaking of which, we’ll need another tour when you get it filled up.

    • Thanks, Marcie! The other set of curtains on the opposite wall are floor length, so I suppose I really should hem these ones…tempting to leave them though! The table is one I have had for several years that I bought already painted long before I started blogging. It used to be in my downstairs bathroom at the old house. And I would love to have enough inventory to give another booth tour…working on that! 🙂 XOXO

  16. I just want to say that there’s not one project of yours that I don’t like. You are very talented. Because of you and your detailed instructions, I’m going to tackle slipcovering my sectional and I have bought a huge bag of calcium carbonate to give my old wood furniture a new updated look. Keep the ideas coming because they are very inspiring.

    • Aww thank you so much, Vera! I appreciate that! Best of luck on your sectional. It will make such a huge impact in your space I’m sure! XOXO

  17. I love the lamp. I love your style. I always look at pictures of your home for inspiration. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a project of yours that I don’t like. Very classy and beautiful and refreshing.

  18. Julie Briones says

    Perfect! I’m actually starting to be able to visualize end products more these days, thanks to you and Nancy! 😉 I saw a similar lamp on a blog yesterday… she’s planning to get rid of it. I suggested she paint it and put a new shade on it. 🙂 Thanks, Christy, for all you share with us, and help me with. 😉

    • Oh good, Julie, so glad to hear that! Paint can transform just about anything, and you know it is totally my pleasure to share and help, my friend! XOXO P.S. The feature wall is coming…I promise! 🙂

  19. Debbie in TX says

    That ugly old lamp is beautiful now! You gave it new life, and the lamp shade adds the perfect finishing touch. Actually, it matches the side table you have it sitting on. As far as the curtains, I would just leave them. I think the longer “puddled” look is perfect in that casual room. Looks like a million bucks to me!

    • Thanks, Debbie! You know I may never get around to hemming those curtains so I appreciate that! XOXO

  20. Julie Briones says

    Oh, and where’s that feature wall you were talking about? Hmmmm. @.@ (As if you aren’t busy enough.) I’m hoping to setup a portable feature wall this weekend! Hehe.

  21. Susan Ronnfeldt says

    Love the lamp! I have two 40 year old tall brass candlestick style lamps that have been waiting and begging for some white chalk paint. You have inspired me! I know exactly what to do now! Thank you, Christy!

  22. I love every bit of it from the finial to the table the lamp sits on.. Some times I can see what can be but also have problems converting sight to into being.

  23. Mary Loveland says

    What a great project and it turned out so pretty. I also recognize the fabric on the shade and would like to see a tutorial on recovering/replacing a shade. A good shade can be very expensive and has such a huge impact on the lamp and can be a great decorating tool. Can you do it? PS: I had a teacher in high school that taught us how to rewire a lamp, it is easy peasy but before you know it you will be keeping a lamp part stash! Keep up the good work!

  24. That is so pretty, I never know how you can choose what stays and what goes. Lol I would want to keep everything. A couple years ago I got two lamps kinda like that in a bargain pile(make a pile say a price.) They used to be gold but after seeing all your stuff I decided to paint them white. Oh how beautiful they turned out. Do you know what a inspiration you are to alot of people? Look forward to every Tues. and Thursday…..

    • Thank you SO much, Bonnie! You are SO sweet! It is hard…I do want to keep everything, especially now that I am decorating a new house! I love that you went for it and painted your lamps…paint is like magic! Have a fantastic weekend! XOXO

  25. Yay, right in my price range haha! I really like this, it’s so pretty. You’re giving me ideas, thank you! 🙂

  26. Just gorgeous! It’s amazing what transformations white paint can make! The lamp now looks very on trend and expensive, especially with that particular shade. Great job!

  27. It looks so much better in white and love the shade on it!!!!

  28. Oo-la-la! Tres jolie! Turned out beautifully. I hope you have another one to put in your booth because I don’t think it will last long!

  29. Christy, You finish everything so quickly . So beautifully done . How many pieces of furniture would you say you have done sense you first started chalk painting ?
    I enjoy keeping my eyes on your work . . . wait to see what you are up to next.
    I am not as fast as you , put I have come along why sense I first got started chalk painting . And you inspired me to start 2 years ago . Thanks to you ! Judy

    • Thank you, Judy! It is the best ever to hear that I have inspired you to create!! I have over 150 furniture pieces in my project gallery, and there are several that I have not blogged about as well. Doesn’t it feel so amazing to give an old forgotten piece a whole new life?! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!! XOXO

  30. I must have missed this makeover of yours- just found it. And I LOVE it! Beautiful job giving that old lamp a gorgeous new life!

    • Thanks, Jen! I LOVE this lamp too…it would be perfect for my office but it only takes a 60w bulb. I really need more light in here so off to the booth it went! 🙂

  31. I thought I recognized that lampshade! What a difference some white paint made to this old lamp – all those lovely details just pop now. I’m surprised you didn’t keep it in your new home! I bet it won’t last long in your booth.

    • Yes that lampshade has had a lot of interest over the years every time it would show up in a post. I almost hated to see to go! I’m surprised I didn’t keep it as well! XO