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Goodwill Lamp Makeover with Paint

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Do you like a good update? Finding the perfect table lamp for your bedroom can be expensive and hard to find. Unless you find the perfect thrifted light fixture! Today, learn how to DIY a Goodwill lamp makeover with paint!

Goodwill Lamp Makeover with Paint

If you are looking to update a table lamp in your bedroom, I have the perfect makeover for you!

lamp on nightstand

Currently, I’m working on revamping my bedroom that has yet to be ‘vamped’ since we moved into MWA 2.0 in April of 2022.

The bedroom is always the last place I get settled and add home decor.

How ’bout you? What’s the last room you decorate after a big move?

Well, I was at the point I wanted to add a lamp to my new night stand, and I just couldn’t find anything that was affordable.

Until I walked into my local Goodwill and found this…

goodwill lamp makeover with paint brown lamp with brown shade on table

It is the perfect size and shape, but I HATED the color and finish. I’m not gonna even ask what YOU think! LOL!

And guess how much? $4.99!!!!

I decided this was a great candidate for an easy lamp makeover.

Update Lamps with Paint

The easiest way to update any lamp or light fixture is with paint!

And bedroom lamps or table lamps are the easiest to paint over!

Can You Paint Over a Lamp?

Painting over a lamp is SUPER easy.

It’s even easy to change your mind AND the color WHILE your are doing the lamp makeover!

Let me show you how I know this:

collage of lamp base in three different colors.
I originally thought I wanted an ivory lamp (too dull), then gray (too dark),
and then, finally, a gray with green undertones.

Yep… my table lamp was repainted in TWO different colors before I finally found the THIRD and final paint color choice!

What Kind of Paint Should I Use to Paint a Lamp?

You can use spray paint, acrylic paint, or even chalk paint to do a bedroom lamp makeover.

The paint I used was a mix of acrylic paint with a tablespoon of baking powder. This gave the paint some extra texture and made the lamp look more like stone or cement… which was the look I was going for.

More on that in just a bit.

How Do You Make A Cheap Lamp Look Expensive?

This is the question we all want answered, right?

How do we make something look like a diamond on a rhinestone budget?

With an old lamp that is thrifted (can’t get much cheaper than $4.99), you use paint, texture, and ‘technique’.

Tools you’ll need

This post may contain affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my complete disclosure.

7 Quick and Easy Steps to Update a Bedroom Lamp

Here are seven quick and easy steps to update a thrifted lamp:

  • Gently clean the lamp with mild detergent and wipe off with a damp rag. Starting with a clean surface is always a good idea!
  • Now, take your paint and mix in 1 tablespoon of baking soda using a mixing cup. I used 1 tablespoon of baking soda to about 4 tablespoons of paint. There’s no real formula for this. You start with less and add more baking soda to achieve the textured finish you want. More baking soda means more texture.
  • If the lamp base is dark (like mine was), prior to painting, spray the surface with matte finishing spray. This will keep the dark color from bleeding through after each paint coat (ask me how I know this). I would spray with two coats before painting.
  • Now, using the craft sponge, dip in the paint and ‘paint’ the lamp by using a tapping motion. This will give you the look of cement/stone. Let dry between coats.
goodwill lamp makeover with paint lamp base and sponge brush in hand
I didn’t have a craft sponge on hand, so I used a sponge brush. The paint and sponge leave a textured stone-look.
  • After the paint has dried, brush-on or sponge your creme wax in small areas (Photo 1 & 2), and then wipe with a damp lint free cloth (Photo 3). This will leave the wax in the creases and give more depth to the lamp (Photo 4). This is what makes the lamp look more ‘high-end’.
collage of lamp base in with waxing process steps
  • Don’t forget to paint the finial on top!
  • To finish the lamp, spray again with two coats of matte finishing spray.

And that’s it! Now you have a lovely, custom lamp that costs you pennies, but looks like a million bucks. (Well, maybe not quite a million.)

Cheap Table Lamp That Looks High End

This updated cheap lamp was painted a custom mixed color of gray with a (sage) green undertone. It’s one of those colors that looks gray if you put green beside it, or green if you put a certain gray color beside it. Perfect for the vision I have for my bedroom!

goodwill lamp makeover with paint lamp on nightstand with bed and pink pillows to the left

I’m kind of torn about whether to keep the natural lamp shade that came with it, or add one in white. What do YOU think?

UPDATE: How ’bout a DIY woven shade? Take a gander at the tutorial and the ‘look’!

lamp on nightstand with bed and pink pillows to the left

And here’s another sneak peek of the bedroom. This is the nightstand I found using Google Image Search! I got it for a GREAT price!

goodwill lamp makeover with paint lamp on nightstand with bed and pink pillows to the left

And a closeup of the finish…

lamp on nightstand with coral piece to right

BONUS Tips for Shopping at Goodwill

Here are a few tips for shopping at the Goodwill that will save you time and money!

  • If you find a brand-name item while perusing the store, be sure to compare the price online to the price that the Goodwill has placed on it. Sometimes, there isn’t much of a savings… other times, there’s a HUGE savings!
  • If you don’t have time to browse the whole store, be sure to go to the aisles that have what you are looking for. For me, that is usually the aisle with baskets, white dishes, candle holders, frames, and furniture. I scan quickly, and look for specifics, like ironstone, vintage Pyrex, rattan and woven items, and candle holders that I can update (or not).
  • If you find a pottery item with a maker’s maker, no matter how ugly it may be, you might not want to pass it up!
  • However, don’t buy something you think you MIGHT use, but aren’t sure. I’ve done this, and ended up stashing it under my bed for far too long, and then putting it by the dumpster when I moved. I didn’t save money thrifting… I wasted it.
  • AND, checkout this Goodwill outlet stores post for even more tips and tricks you may have never heard before!

More Thrifted Lamp Ideas

If you’re looking for even more great lamp projects, here some great ideas from fellow bloggers:

If you aren’t quite sure how much to pay for a loved-before item, take a look at how to price flea market items.

Now It’s Your Turn!

Have you picked up something that is a ‘find’ at a thrift store and added it to your DIY projects pile? Are you looking for something that just might be available at a Goodwill that can be recycled and updated, or even make a great home improvement project?

Let me know in the comments! I love hearing from you! It always makes my day!

signature updated 2022
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  1. Julie,
    What a great transformation!!
    I love the tip about the baking soda to give it texture!
    Great idea!! I have spray painted lamp bases before…
    I am happy you enjoyed seeing my little back yard Cottage Garden!!
    It is one of my happy places but I sure wish it was cooler so I could enjoy it more!!
    Stay cool, my friend!!

    1. Thanks, Debbie… I’m thinking a woven shade might work great on this base! Maybe another DIY in the makes? 😉

    1. Yep… you either like the shade or you don’t. LOL! I actually mentioned in the post that I’m not sold on the shade. My cousin, who is an interior designer, says to keep it! *Shrug* I think I might get a white or more natural shade (maybe a woven shade???) and see how I like it. Maybe there is another DIY on the horizon, right? Have a great weekend Sammy! So good to hear from you!

      1. I have a Goodwill lamp and a vintage large lamp out in the garage. I have painted with white chalk oaint and can’t decide on the next color to add. I found a nice shade at Ollie’s and had another for the smaller lamp. Either sage green or pale blue will be used. I always will paint anything if I do not like the present color.

        1. Yes… Paint is the answer for many decorating ‘issues’. 😉 I’m hoping to do something fun with the awful shade, too!

  2. Love the lamp makeover. Perhaps a new white shade or paint the one you have. I have a lovely small lamp bought at a thrift store. It is reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower painted gray. Trying to decide what to do with it.

    1. Thanks for the suggestions, Ione. I was actually thinking about trying to paint this one, too! Great minds! If it doesn’t work out, I can always buy another! Have a great weekend!

    1. Thanks, Laura… I’m looking forward to getting my whole bedroom done… and switching out that shade! 😉

  3. Thank you from your SSPS Team for sharing your links with us at #270 SSPS Linky. I am always stunned by the finds and what you do and how you change it to make it totally new and so beautiful.

  4. I just donated a perfectly good lamp. I just didn’t like the color! Ugh! Why doesn’t my brain work the way yours does?! I think it’s pure laziness. Thank you for sharing it with us on Farmhouse Friday. Featuring it tomorrow. pinned

  5. I have never painted a lamp. Years ago a friend gifted me 2 lovely milk glass lamps (I have a severe addiction to m.g.!). I spent about $20 each on white flared silk shades that look absolutely wonderful! I am not sorry that I splurged. Several stores here have closed or don’t carry much for lampshades anymore so it is hard to find a reasonably priced one and thrifted ones are usually dented or grimey! Can’t wait for yard sale season!

    1. Oh yes! Yard sale season will be here soon, as well! So glad you found the perfect shades before you couldn’t find any!

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