How to Refurbish a Floor Lamp

Living room from above
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Floor lamps are a great way to provide lighting to your home. If you’re looking to revamp an old floor lamp or you have one that is just not your taste of color, refurbish it to match your decorating style and fit your personality.

If your lamp has a dingy or old shade, don’t throw it out. Refurbish the lamp shade as well to save money and make it your own.

Note: Before you begin refurbishing your floor lamp, make sure it is not plugged in and all light bulbs are removed.

Clean the Lamp

Old lamps collect dust and cobwebs. Before you begin refurbishing your floor lamp, remove the lamp shade(s) and set aside. Then, clean the lamp frame thoroughly with a cleansing wipe or a solution of water and vinegar on a rag. Be careful not to get any water or moisture in the light socket.

To clean the lampshade, wipe it down with a slightly damp rag to remove dust and cobwebs.

  • If the shade is made of plastic, you can use the same water and vinegar solution you used on the lamp frame.
  • If the shade is covered in fabric, use a vacuum to clean thoroughly.

Prep for Painting

Before painting your floor lamp a new color, you must perform the following:

  • Cover any light sockets and power plugs with newspaper and/or painter’s tape. You do not want any paint to get in the mechanical parts of the lamp.
  • Sand any wood or metal portions of the lamp frame to remove some of the old paint and prep the surface for the primer and paint.
    Tip: Wear a painter’s mask and goggles to prevent any of the sanding dust from getting into your nose, mouth, and eyes.
  • Wipe off the frame to remove any of the sanding dust.

Prime and Paint

After you sand the lamp frame, apply a primer and paint in multiple thin coats. Make sure you select the right kind of primer and paint for your lamp frame.

  • If you are painting a metal lamp frame, refer to How to Paint Metal for more detailed information.
  • If you are painting a wooden lamp frame, refer to How to Paint Wood for more detailed information.

Apply any primer or paint in a well-ventilated area. Make sure you let the paint completely dry before putting everything back together. This can take anywhere from a couple hours to overnight. Just make sure it is no longer sticky or tacky before bringing it back into your home.

Refurbish Lamp Shade

While you are waiting for the primer and paint to dry on your lamp frame, start refurbishing the lamp shade. You can refurbish a lamp shade in the following ways:

  • cover the outside of the shade with fabric
  • apply buttons or other embellishments
  • decoupage paper or wallpaper on the outside of the shade
  • paint on stenciled letters or designs
  • apply ribbons in a variety of patterns
  • cover in gold leaf

Put it Back Together

After all the paint has dried and your shade is ready for re-assembly, remove the painter's tape and newspaper covering the light sockets and power plug. Then, place the shade(s) back on the lamp and screw in a new light bulb (or bulbs).

Your floor lamp is now ready to display in your home.