Vintage Lamp Restoration: From 50’s to Fabulous


One Saturday, Vince and I happened to drive by a garage sale that had two tall 1950’s torchiere lamps, looking ugly as can be, but calling out to us for help.  I love finding sad looking pieces with good bones and I’m never one to back down from a design challenge!  So we hopped out of the car and started negotiations.  Lucky us – we got them both for a whopping $20.00 (with a cute pink and silver women’s ring thrown in for good measure!) and were on our way.

Lamp-Before-CloseFirst things first.  Puke green/yellow may be the color choice of some, but personally I like my décor to be inviting, not look like somebody’s regurgitated baby peas.  Off to the home store to pick colors!  And of course we chose silver and purple… our favorite colors.  We picked up two new glass lamp shades as well.

The first and most important step is primer.  Without it, colors show through, nothing sticks and your project won’t have that professional look a primer base helps with.Lamp-Primer

Next it’s on to spray paint.  I used a silver metallic, along with the best invention ever… a spray paint handle!  Those of you who have used a spray paint can without one, then had sore and painful fingers for days after, know what I mean.  It’s a lifesaver!  Or a finger saver, which is just as important.  I need my digits to be happy!






Time for some pop of color.  Hello Purple, my dear friend!  I hand-painted this section because I wanted a thickness that I couldn’t get with spray paint.






Here’s where the secret trick is implemented.  By using a small sponge and dark black wood stain, I lightly brushed the stain over the entire surface to give a good “antiqued” look.  The cool part is that you can be very liberal with the stain and start dark, then with a dry section of the sponge, start lightly wiping away until you have the desired look you’re after.  I wanted just a touch… enough to look like a patina.  Make sure to let it slightly dry before wiping, or you’ll wipe off everything you just spread on.







Lamp-Metallic-&-PurpleLamp-Full-PaintedWhen you’re happy with your finished product, spray with a clear coat for protection and you’re done!

Voila!  New life for a beautiful set of torchiere lamps.  Thank you, garage sale lady!





As a side note, I found that the lamps are actually National Home brand lamps, which are in high demand on the resale market.  We sold both shades that we replaced for $40.00 and made a profit of $20.00 for the privilege of restoring the lamps!


Reagan Avery

Co-creator, artist, and the crafty one at Once Upon the Stars. A unique shop of custom created pieces designed for – your home – your lifestyle – your attitude. Maybe it’s funky, maybe it’s edgy, or maybe its a little different.

Maybe its ___, but whatever it is, it’s YOU!

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