Before and After: Lighting {Old Fixtures Become New}

brass lamp
We are in the process of redecorating our son’s room which we are documenting with a video camera to share with you all next week.
In the meantime, I had to share some pictures of the solution to the lighting problems in the room. The lighting in this room was either cheap-looking or really dated. But when I started looking at light fixtures that weren’t as cheap-looking as what we already had, I saw that what I liked was between $30 and $40 dollars.
Which doesn’t seem that expensive, except that we’re on a tight budget and what we’ve allotted really needed to go towards paint, flooring materials, and furniture.
Then I went to a couple of thrift stores looking for furniture and a lamp to replace the dated brass one already in the room. Can I just say that thrift stores around here have gotten ridiculously expensive? Goodness, they wanted $10 to $$15 dollars for ugly old lamps (and the furniture? Broken dressers for $49!).
What happened? We used to find such good things at thrift stores. Now we just get clothes or small items there and leave the big stuff for Craigslist.
So, no lighting. I then went to plan B and looked for a spray paint to paint the ones we already had.

I found this $8 can of Oil Rubbed Bronze metallic paint by Rustoleum. I was a little worried about the “metallic” part, but couldn’t find any type of matte paint, so I took a chance.

And I LOVE it! Look at the difference in the before and after pictures:
Here’s the ceiling fixture before. Functional, but really cheap-looking. But I think we paid $13 for it, so…um, form follows cost here.
Good golly molly! Same fixture…can you believe it? I think it looks a million times better. Richer and looks like more than $13 for sure.

I’ve always loved the shape of this lamp and the quality. The shiny brass? Not so much.

Probably why it was relegated to my son’s room.

Wow. I can see this in our living room now. But I’m going to let my son keep it, anyway.


It’s hard to see the effect in these pictures, but the metallic part is very subtle. It’s not quite as matte as some oil-rubbed bronze things I’ve seen, but is very close. And I actually kinda like the subtle sparkle, it adds a bit of depth.

I love, love, love how these turned out and now my mind is racing with the other applications I can find for this paint.
First on the list, though, are our doorknobs we replaced when we moved in five years ago. The oil-rubbed bronze has worn off the knobs, leaving shiny brass. At more than $25 each, it would be prohibitive to buy all new ones.
Oh, am I glad I found this!


This is linked to DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land, Get Your Craft On, Trash to Treasure Tuesday at Reinvented and Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays at Coastal Charm.


  1. says

    Nice changes to this lamps. I really love the ORB. Krylon makes a very simular color and it is much cheaper at Walmart. I have painted lots of thinks with it. Please stop by Three Dogs At Home to see a few of them.

  2. says

    Holy Cow! I would think you’d pay about $30 for a light fixture like that brand new! That is amazing and I love the lamp too! Now I just need to find some lamps…:)

  3. Enchanted Rose Studio says

    Isn’t it wonderful how a can of spray paint can transforms so-so to super fabulous!? The light and lamp look great!


    • says

      I just bought a worn “brass” lamp at our local thrift store over the weekend, intending to do the same. I wasn’t sure whether or not to paint the top of the lamp (where the bulb goes) but it appears that you have, so I am going to look for paint tomorrow! Rustoleum, here I come!

      • Jami says

        Yes, I only tape off the inside – actually just filled it with crumpled newspaper so paint wouldn’t gum up the inside. Otherwise it would be shiny brass when folks sat down and looked at the lamp.

  4. Kate says

    A few years ago I moved into a previously owned home that had an ugly brass colored builder grade ceiling fan. I found that the fan blades were reversible. There was a light oak color showing, but a nice darker wood tone facing upwards. I used the same spray paint on all of the shiny brass of the fan, flipped over the fan blades so the darker wood tone was exposed, and used the frosted glass paint on all of the glass shades. The fan got an updated look that made it look like a new purchase. I have also used this spray paint on mismatched metal wall hanngings that I liked. This spray paint is wonderful!


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