Home » You Can Accomplish This Before Your Effing Head Explodes: Lamp Makeover

You Can Accomplish This Before Your Effing Head Explodes: Lamp Makeover

Remember how I mentioned one of the parenting decisions I regret most was allowing my baby to TOUCH things he probably had no business touching?

And one of those things was lights?

And now he’s a toddler and he WON’T STOP TOUCHING LIGHTS and our house has looked like a dark cave for months between all the black out drapes we use to keep his sleep uninterrupted and the lights I had to remove from his curious and destructive reach. . .

A few weeks ago, as we sat on the sofa before bedtime, I realized I could hardly make out one word on the pages of our bedtime stories.  Something had to be done!  I’m not getting any younger and my eyes have never been particularly good anyway.

We needed lights.

And then I started looking for lights and I realized we also needed an inheritance or a winning lottery ticket.

We have plenty of over-head light. . .Mostly recessed light. . .And they’re all on dimmers. . .but they still make the house SO HOT.  What I needed was some lighting for reading and similar tasks.

In our child-less days, when our bedroom was “ours” and we could actually stay awake to read before bed, there was a lamp on both bedside tables.  They weren’t anything too expensive or wonderful – but cute. . .sort of a mottled white and clear glass base with a kind-of-frilly smallish shade.  I think they came from the Shabby Chic line at Target.  Later I switched out the frilly shades for some covered in a cool fabric from Ikea.

BUT now that our room is no longer our own, the lamps didn’t fit with the boys’ decor.  And I thought it unwise to leave glass lamps in the room anyway.

So the lamps languished in our basement for a few weeks.  I wasn’t quite ready to part with them but I wasn’t sure where they belonged?

Then I stumbled upon this swag pendant light from Amazon.

I think this is a Tadpoles brand light and it comes in other colors.

I think this is a Tadpoles brand light and it comes in other colors.


It was the right size and the right price ($61 bucks with FREE shipping).  I couldn’t believe it!  This was the perfect light to hang in the corner over the sofa!  I wouldn’t have to worry about Mac pulling a floor lamp over and I felt pretty confident once the new light was installed, we could start with a fresh policy of NO TOUCHING THE LIGHTS!  EVER!

It did seem almost too good to be true. . .I placed the order and held my breath. . .

But it wasn’t too good to be true!  I was very pleased with it.  Although, my Husband said the mounting hardware was poorly designed.  Whatever, I didn’t spend 1.5 hours crawling around like a monkey trying to get it installed.  

And that’s when it occurred to me that I could perhaps re-purpose our two table lamps. . .with a little makeover. . .

I drug myself and the kid to Lowes for some gold spray paint, black spray paint, and two simple white fabric lampshades.  Waited for nap and BOOM!

table lamp


They only took a short while to paint and the best part is, if one of these gets knocked around, I know it didn’t cost hundreds of dollars.

Here’s How:

1.  Pick the appropriate paint.  Spray paint comes in a variety of “flavors.”  Make sure you are using the correct paint for your surfaces and so forth.  If you aren’t sure what you need, find an associate that can help.  Also?  BEFORE you purchase the paint, inspect the spray nozzle on ALL cans.  I can’t tell you how many cans of paint I’ve had to exchange because the nozzle was damaged or defective.

2.  Prep your surfaces properly.  Make sure things are clean.  Make sure you remove any light bulbs, unplug the lamp (duh), and carefully tape any parts of the lamp you don’t want painted.  This includes the area at the top of the lamp where the bulb gets inserted.

3.  I started with the shades.  They were white.  I used a matte black spray paint with a built in primer.  Spray in thin and even coats to avoid drips.  The shades did require quite a bit of paint (I lightly sprayed the insides too).  And honestly, they still aren’t evenly black.  You can notice there are a few “thin” patches when the lights are on; however, this doesn’t bother me since I figured had the shade been actual black fabric, you would have a similar effect (like the swag light that came with an actual black fabric shade).

4.  Next I sprayed the lamps with thin, even coats of paint.  These required way LESS paint than I anticipated (YEAH!).

5.  Everything should dry pretty quickly and be ready to use in no time.

The shades were $15 each.  The spray paint was about $15 total.  So for a total of about $106 I got three “new” lights for our living room. . .which is WAY less than a few of the individual lamps I was pricing prior to this makeover.  Plus, I kept two perfectly good lamps out of a landfill (although I probably would have taken them to Goodwill anyway) AND I won’t be completely heart broken should an errant baseball make contact with them sometime in the future. . .