A Bright Idea: An old lamp gets a new look

I’ve been on the prowl for a desk lamp and came across just the thing at a recent estate sale.  Estate sales, auctions, and flea markets are great places to find vintage treasures.  I go with an eye on buying merchandise for my Etsy shop but more often than not end up with goodies for my house.

This vintage metal lamp was dirty and neglected, sitting forlornly on an old sewing table in the basement at the sale.  I loved the retro look and knew it would look fine once I cleaned it up and hit it with some spray paint.  With a quick plug test to make sure it was operational, I forked over a few bucks and headed for the door.

Not much to look at yet--just years of grime in need of a date with a Magic Eraser and some Mr. Clean.

Home Depot was my next stop–I was contemplating paint colors the whole ride over–wavering between cherry red, orange, or some shade of blue.  All the furniture in my office is white–a pop of color was in order.

Love those dots!

The first plan was to just paint the whole thing one solid color–easy and quick. Then I started thinking about a contrasting base and shade…or maybe a white arm with painted shade and base.

Snappy, isn't it?

In the end, I went with two colors and couldn’t be happier–it reminds me of summertime and popsicles. Spray paint and a bit of elbow grease makes all the difference!

Lighting up my office at night with my "new" vintage lamp

Looking for a flea market, auction, or estate sale in your neck of the woods? Check out some links to my favorite sites:

Happy Monday to everyone!


  • At 2012.04.16 11:30, Jessica said:

    That lamp is adorable…great color! Yay DIY! And I love your wall art. The map brings back fond memories of elementary school!

    Thanks for the great links! We’re moving next month, and we’ll be needing a few things. My friend just turned me on to flea markets and my mom loves estate sales, so I’m looking forward to a summer of treasure hunting!

    (Side note–I have seen, and love, your Hunger Games action figures. Any thoughts on Katniss Barbie?)
    Jessica´s last blog post ..Teaser Tuesday January 24: Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman

    • At 2012.04.16 12:12, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

      That looks fabulous! I don’t have an eye for things like that – will you come shop with me?
      bermudaonion (Kathy)´s last blog post ..We Remember

      • At 2012.04.16 18:06, Steph said:

        Love the look! And I love how crafty you are… I don’t think I would have seen the potential in the original, but the new lamp really does pop!
        Steph´s last blog post ..Second Verse, Same as the First

        • At 2012.04.16 18:20, Ti said:

          I love how that lamp turned out but I really love the embroidery circles!! What a great idea!!
          Ti´s last blog post ..My Reading List (AKA Books, Books and More Books)

          • At 2012.04.16 19:57, Jenners said:

            Love it!! It looks fantastic!

            And it remind me of the lamp that is the “mascot” for Pixar!
            Jenners´s last blog post ..Audio Review: The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

            • At 2012.04.17 18:51, Kathleen said:

              Wow, I love it! You did a wonderful job and I love the color you chose. Just goes to show you that one doesn’t need to spend a lot of money to decorate.
              Kathleen´s last blog post ..A Busy Weekend with Reading to Come

              • At 2012.04.18 10:59, toothybooks said:

                great job on the lamp! it looks amazing now! thats crazy what a bit of paint can do.

                • At 2012.04.18 14:51, Christy @ The Daily Dish said:

                  LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!

                  The color combo is perfect – I would have done the easy thing and painted it all one shade, but you’re right, the white arm does make the orange of the base & shade POP. You’re a genius, Nat!


                  • At 2012.04.19 11:33, Meg said:

                    You’re so crafty! I would never have given that old lamp a second glance, nor taken the time to imagine any possibilities. Love the orange and white . . . very fun and retro!
                    Meg´s last blog post ..Book review: ‘Girl Unmoored’ by Jennifer Gooch Hummer

                    • At 2012.04.21 12:27, softdrink said:

                      You’re so clever! You make me want to create a room of my own, complete with adorable lamp.
                      softdrink´s last blog post ..Saturday morning fizzies

                      • At 2012.04.22 12:05, Lisa said:

                        What a fantastic idea! I’ve got some lamps that I don’t like the look of any more and was thinking of sending off to the Goodwill. Now I’m going to have to head to Lowe’s instead and see what fun I can make of them.
                        Lisa´s last blog post ..Sunday Salon – April 22

                        • At 2012.05.19 04:20, bybee said:

                          I’m also on the lookout for a lamp. Yours is great and I love the makeover.
                          bybee´s last blog post ..Happy Mother’s Day To Me

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