How to paint a lamp

My mom bought me this fancy lamp for my birthday 4 years ago. It’s from my favorite home store in Austin called Back Home with a 2wist. It wasn’t cheap, and my mom was NOT  happy when I showed her my new and improved lamp! The lamp (on sale + a broken finial discount) was still $200. Yep. That’s why it was a birthday present! But, just look at this beauty…

How to paint a lamp

Back in my Austin condo, I needed a big lamp to sit on the side table. It was the only light source in the room, and a small lamp just wouldn’t do it. The golden colored, clear base worked well in Austin with my green and brown thing I had going on, but it wasn’t working with the new Florida look. And the lamp shade is huge, I’d been trying to find a new one for years. Target does not sell lampshades big enough. While shopping at World Market last month, just out of curiosity, I decided to measure  their lamp shades. Low and behold… their floor lamp shades were the perfect size for my giant table lamp! Whahhh to the hooo!  Who would have thunk it? And at $30 bucks a pop, that bad boy came home with me! I plunked it on my ol’ lamp… and hated it. Yep, it looked awful. A big fat boo. What was I to do? (I should be a rapper!) I either had to drive back to Naples (that’s my closest World Market) or paint the lamp. The lamp was so ugly looking, with the brownish base + yellow shade, I didn’t even snap a picture! (bad blogger!)

 How to paint a lamp

The lamp is not glass, I think it’s a super sturdy plastic, and I decided to whip out my acrylic paints and give it a go. This was my test spot. It was streaky looking, which is when I discovered  the great trick. Water!

how to paint a lamp

The little bowl of water made it all better. I just thinned the paint out a tad to make the brush strokes go away. Worked like a charm. It’s glossy and beautiful, don’t you think? : )

how to paint a lamp

The next big delimma was the shade situation. The lamp is made to fit this kind of shade:

hot to paint a lamp

But, the World Market shade looks like the diagram below. Thankfully, it is adjustable.

hot to paint a lamp

So, here is the new lamp shade in real life. After we adjusted the new shade to be as high as it could, the next issue is the hole. This one is way bigger, and when I stuck it on the lamp base it was super wobbly. Andy to the rescue…!

hot to paint a lamp

We used to washers to make the hole smaller and the lamp sturdier.

hot to paint a lamp
Andy super glued the 2 washers together adn then glued them to the lamp.  Pretty straight forward…How to paint a lamp

And here is a lamp before and after…how to paint a lampWhat do you think of the “new” lamp? Have you ever used to water to thin acrylic paint? My mom even admits that looks better in my space!


  1. I love it! It’s amazing what a coat of paint can do! :)

  2. Oh boy…this is SO timely, Jamie!!! I bought ‘new lamps’ because I like their shape and the shade (very inexpensive 2 fer lamps), but don’t like the dark color! I think they’re a heavy plastic, too. So good to know about the ‘water trick’ as I’ll be using acrylic paint on them! SWEET!!!

  3. One of my favorite things to spray paint is lamps. It is amazing what a coat of paint can do to an otherwise boring, By the way you did a great job to your lamp here! Thumbs up :)

  4. Awesome job! I love the yellow and white! I find that it looks better than it originally did (my apologies to your mom) loll! 😀

  5. It’s pretty, you’re creative, it does look better. At 200 dollars I hope my DD would first tell me what she planned to do with it and ask if I’d like it back first. Your mom sounds very sweet. Why would a ‘sturdy plastic’ lamp cost so much? Wow!

    • Jamie Dorobek says:

      It was a birthday present :) I don’t know why it cost so much… it’s big? Happy you think it looks better too!

  6. It looks fabulous and good on your mum for seeing past that!

  7. Christine says:

    Love the yellow shade. Also digging the color of that chair! Can you share the color? I have had a few disasters with “orange” hues. Thanks!

  8. looks like you also changed the rug and most importantly – the color of the end table. Now it looks great!

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