How To Lighten Up A Lamp

As I sit here at 4am contemplating yet another snowstorm on the way, I am feeling a little down in the dumps and very uninspired. With little sunlight and mountains of snow obscuring our lives and making it just plain difficult to get around town, it’s hard to imagine that spring is just a few short weeks away.

Snow Barn Country Design HomeWhat used to feel warm and cozy about this spare bedroom/office/study when I remodeled it a few (or maybe 10) years ago is now feeling dark and oppressive. With an antique oriental carpet in shades of reds and blues,

Oriental Rug in Studya deep red accent wall, heavy rose-patterned drapes with velvet trim

Study Wall and Drapesand a red quilted chenille bedspread with a fleecy fur moose throw,

Vintage Fleece BlanketI feel like this room cannot breathe (nor me in it!). Time for some freshening up, and since it’s 4am and some people are still sleeping, I am starting (quietly) with this lamp.

Black Lamp with Paisley Shade BeforeEvery morning for the past few years, I have entered this room and switched on this desk lamp, relying on its ability to deliver light, but never really looking at the lamp itself. Because it is all black, the exquisite detail just does not show through.

Black Lamp BeforeThe base has this raised ruffled border and medallions

Lamp Base Beforeand some beautiful bouquets with bows-how did I miss this?!

Lamp Before Bows and FlowersBecause it’s all black and has absolutely no contrast, that’s how. So what to do with the lamp to brighten it up in the wee hours of the morning? Lets start with some Americana Chalky Paint in Promise (a light pink) mixed with a touch of Relic (a deep gray)

Americana Chalky Paint Mixto create a soft lavender gray color. I dry-brushed it on,

Drybrushing Mixed Paintand as I did you can see how that the details began to pop, with all those hidden black flowers

Lamp Enhanced Floral Bowand ruffles now springing to life.

Dry Brushing Lamp BaseOnce I finished the painting, which dried almost instantly because I used so little, I added a coat of Americana Clear Creme Wax

Americana Decor Creme Wax Finishjust to protect the paint finish and add a slight glow when the light hits it. I have always loved this paisley shade, but the color combination with the black lamp bothered me, and the dark color dampened the lamp light.

Lamp Paisley ShadePlus. red and black just scream bordello to me.

Bordello Photo Courtesy of The Chic Site

Photo Courtesy of The Chic Site

I assumed that once I had painted the lamp, I would pop the paisley shade back on and be done with it. But, alas, the dark, squared-off shade does nothing to enhance the newly found beauty of the lamp with all of its florals and curves. So I swapped the shade out from another lamp and, although it is the right shape, its still not quite the right color. But now its only 5:16am

Boston Time Stampand HomeGoods won’t open just for me to find a new lampshade, so it will have to wait. (Wouldn’t it be awesome to have HomeGoods on demand, where you could call them up and tell  them you need something and they would open the store just for you!? Now that would make me HomeGoods Happy : ) But for now, I am very happy with my new (old) much brighter lamp that has the appearance of alabaster or marble

Lampshade Baseinstead of plain dark black resin.

Americana Chalk Painted Lamp AfterJust the thing to lighten up yet another dreary day. Time to tackle that red wall! I hope you have a sunny Sunday, everyone, wherever you are! Susan  


  1. Wow….great idea! I have a few “old” lamps that are in sad shape…will definitely try this on them!


  2. Henry Miller says:

    Nice piece of writing little lady…


  3. Carolann says:

    It’s amazing what a small change can do! Love it!


  4. Judy McI says:

    The lamp looks great, can’t wAit to see the new shade and new room.


  5. wow, that makes those details just POP! I too am ready to dump the heavy (cozy) colors and lighten up for Spring! I LOVE your red wall, though…I understand your feeling about more snow…yesterday everyone was so pleasant enjoying the sunshine…I can’t wait to whine about the summer heat!


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