Lamp Makeover: How to Spray Paint a Brass Lamp

How to Spray Paint a Brass Lamp

One item I come across a lot in my thrift shopping are these old tarnished brass lamps. Most of them work great but just look yucky with all that tarnish.

The good news is I can pick them up usually pretty cheap and with a little paint, I can give that old lamp new life!

Since completing my laminate furniture painting project, I was on the prowl for an inexpensive lamp to put on my lovely red buffet table for my dining room. I picked up two of these babies for $15 on my local area Yard Sale Facebook page…which I admit I am totally addicted to. I’ve got a friend moving in town soon, so I grabbed one for myself and one for him, so I’ll do another paint job on that one that is more in style with what he likes.

Lamp Makeover

As you can see it’s a perfectly fine lamp in great condition. The only problem of course is the tarnished brass and the very plain and outdated lampshade. With this project I wanted to give it the same finish that I used on my buffet table hardware so let’s see how I did.

Lamp Makeover

The first thing we are going to do is remove the lampshade, the light bulb and the metal harp. Then I used some painters tape to tape off the top of the lamp. I also wanted to make sure I didn’t paint the cord, so I stuck most of it inside a grocery bag and taped it up all the way from the bag to the lamp base.

Lamp Makeover Primer

Then it was time to head out to the garage and do my coat of primer on the lamp base. When you’re using spray paint it’s best to use long sweeping passes on the object you are painting and don’t stay in one area for too long or you will get drips. I’m using the Rust-Oleum White Primer for this lamp makeover. Typically I grab this or Painter’s Touch…both made by Rust-Oleum and both are really good. This stuff dries really quick but I let it sit overnight.

Lamp Makeover Oil Rubbed Bronze

Next, I applied the Rust-Oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze, which happens to be my latest addiction, but is also the same paint I used on the hardware on my buffet table. The picture above is after one coat and you can see I missed some spots. That’s ok! I went back over it with a second coat to make sure I hit all the areas and it was perfect.

I applied 2 coats of the Minwax Spray Lacquer in the satin finish just to give it a bit of protection.

The last thing I wanted to do was to replace that lampshade. I had bought 2 broken lamps from a yard sale a few months ago with mismatched lampshades and since I was breaking this set of lamps up anyway I snagged one of the lampshades and put it together with this lamp and I love it. It was missing one string of dangly beads, but I just turned it to the back and you can’t even tell.

Finished Lamp Makeover

I absolutely love this lamp makeover and it goes so well with my new buffet!

Attention! I am no longer writing new articles here at All of my articles and content have been moved to my new blog which includes furniture painting plus TONS of other home decor DIY projects and ideas. You can find this article there as well so click here to go to

Comments (12)
  1. Bonnie Gean February 26, 2014
    • Misty February 27, 2014
  2. Nate February 26, 2014
    • Misty February 27, 2014
  3. Michael Levanduski February 27, 2014
  4. Misty February 27, 2014
  5. Michele G. May 3, 2014
    • Misty May 4, 2014
  6. Sherry May 29, 2014
  7. Sherry May 29, 2014
    • Misty May 31, 2014

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