How to Make Over a Lamp
Give New Life to a Light Fixture with These Inexpensive Tips
Many light fixtures with plenty of life left end up in landfills each year for lack of imagination. Use these inexpensive tips and visit EssayLab page to breathe new life into a fixture.
Light fixtures are important to the decor and functionality of a room, and many old, used or worn light fixtures seem like they won’t do the trick. But with a little makeover, most light fixtures can become new again.
Pick a fixture
Maybe you have a fixture already that you can’t stand. That’s a good place to start. However, you can also scour thrift shops and garage sales for light fixtures, as they usually have great choices that have been retired for one reason or another. When looking at a fixture, try to imagine that the paint is invisible, the shades (if there are any) are gone, and you’re looking at the bare metal or wood frame of this fixture. You want to pick a shape and style that go with your decor, but remember that if you have a modern room, it’s not too hard to make an antique-style lamp into an eclectic accessory that matches just fine.
Prep the surface
Perhaps the easiest and most dramatic thing you can do to a light fixture is to paint it. Most light fixtures are metal, so you want to take a fairly fine-grit sandpaper to the metal surface. When you’ve removed the potential grime and grit from the metal and scuffed it up just enough (don’t scrub too hard!), you’ll want to rinse it and let it dry.
Keep in mind that there are often electric parts involved and you don’t want wires getting wet. Use a damp cloth to wipe it down if you need to. Once it’s dry, you’ll want to use plastic (shopping bags work great) and painter’s masking tape to cover the bulb sockets and any wiring. Prepare an area with a dropcloth to protect any other surfaces from paint.
Spray the paint
Spend some time picking out a colour and finish, comparing your choices to what’s already in your room. If you want to draw attention to the shape of the lamp and make it a focal point in the room, try a dark colour. If you want it to blend in, try painting it the same colour as the walls. Glossy paint can make the surface reflective and modern, while satin finish, matte finish or a textured spray paint will give it a more traditional feel.
Shake the paint can well before you start, and once you do, be sure to keep the can moving and stay about 10 inches away from any surfaces. It’s better to have to apply three coats than to layer too much and end up with drips. If you do end up with drips, however, you can sand them until they’re smooth and begin again.
Embellish with shades
Especially in a chandelier-type lamp, you can have a lot of fun with mini shades in many fabrics. At a local home improvement store, there should be a selection of shades. Sometimes you can also buy a form that you apply the fabric to for a custom job. Whatever the case, consider whether you want to contrast (stand out) or complement (blend in) with colour, and consider shape. Square lampshades tend to look more modern, while traditional round ones are more classic. These same rules apply to any lamps with shades, including bigger table lamps.
Put it in the room
Move your lamp around to different spots to find the best place for it and then install it! Remove the tape and plug in the lamp and new bulbs — remember that compact fluorescent bulbs provide bright, clear light and are better for the environment and energy savings. Now go read a book in that new light!
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