Ugly Lamp No More

Last month I brought home a few pieces of furniture left behind when a neighbor moved.  One of them was this lamp.


I also brought home the table it was sitting on in this photo.  The landlord seeing I couldn’t go into the house took pictures of the pieces left behind and brought them out to me.  Anything I didn’t take was going to be burned or put out for trash.

When I saw the lamp I knew I wanted it.  I had been looking for a lamp to put on the night stand in the boys’ room.  Kids are sometimes awoken during the night and want a light near by to turn on.  It might be a noise or a bad dream but getting out of bed to turn on a light switch can be a frightening experience for them in the dark of the night.

To say this lamp was perfect as it was is an understatement.  It was dirty, yellowed by cigarette smoke and frankly ugly.

The boys’ room was hard for me to decorate. The boys are six years apart in age but share the room.  I knew I wanted the room to grow with them but didn’t want the boys to feel their personalities weren’t considered.  People chimed in on their opinions of how the room should look. Everything from super heroes to sports themes were suggested but I stood my ground and rejected each suggestion.

Having raised two boys I have decorated many a boys room in those years. I felt I’d used all my good ideas up and so the boys’ room here languished while I sought inspiration.  There was nothing particularly boyish or decorative in there beyond a fabric map on the wall and an old pair of curtains I’d had from a previous home.

Then I saw this table and lamp and knew what I wanted to do with the room that would suit both boys without it being childish. My pop of color would be orange.

I started with the lampshade. I had briefly considered hot gluing ribbon to the lampshade then disregarded that and pulled out paint.  I taped off three inches from each end then added a second strip of tape on each end to come up with the center band of color.

Once dry I removed the tape and had a lampshade I loved.


Now I had to make a decision on the lamp itself. I considered using the orange paint but that would have been too much orange and in my mind would have made the lamp and shade blend in rather than stand out. I had a can of paint sitting here from the bench and decided the turquoise with the orange would make a bold statement. Turquoise it was.


The lamp is a combination of plastic, wood and metal.  I knew that meant I would be able to use regular latex paint but it would be easy to scratch off the plastic and metal sections. To prevent that I add a top coat of water-based polyurethane.

And here are the two together.

I purchased the orange paint but the rest of the materials were items I had on hand bringing the cost to less than ten dollars to take this lamp from ugly to wow. The boys love it and now I can finish the room since I know orange is my accent color. My inspiration has returned and now, finally, I can finish this room.




    • I have a table I’m holding on to for my grandson to refinish, he misses working with me regularly. Both the boys and girls have been given free reign to help design the rooms. Only fair, it’s their space.


    • My oldest grandson wants a basketball hoop in the room. He spotted a wood backboard on Pinterest but so far I haven’t found a hoop to attach to one. As for the beds. I have an antique iron bed for one boy in there that was my great-grandmother’s and for now we had to put a crib mattress on the floor for Little Guy because he falls out of the beds.


    • With all the attention on the bench outside neighbors have asked to see what else I’m working on. I’ve shown off the lamp to several and got rave reviews each time. I’m finally having fun working on the boys room. No longer will it look like a bunch of free stuff collected and thrown together.


  1. Count me in the Dr. Seuss crowd. First thing I thought when I saw it was Cat in the Hat. Quite amazing what a coat of paint can do!


    • I guess I didn’t see it because I associate red and white with the Cat in the Hat not orange, but now that I have that vision in my head I see the Cat in the Hat when I look at it. Probably a good thing I didn’t think of that or I would have designed a completely whimsical room built around Dr. Seuss’ books.


I'd love to hear your thoughts, won't you please tell me what's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s