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DIY Table Lamp Ideas That Won’t Cost You a Fortune

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If you are looking for DIY table lamp ideas I have shared a few and recently made over another table lamp from the thrift store.

I like upcycling them as they are an inexpensive way to update home decor at a fraction of the cost of buying a trendy new table lamp from a decorating catalog.

Foyer table lamp DIY on a table with fall decor.

The right type of lighting – from table lamps, floor lamps to a single pendant light can make or break your decorating efforts. The right lighting fixture adds drama, creates a focal point and establishes a cohesive look.

For my foyer table, I wanted the look of black plaster or rustic stone based table lamps I see in decorating catalogs, but not the $300 and up price tag. Hence my need to use my creativity to DIY these styles of decorator lamps on my own.

I haven’t made any DIY lamps from scratch, but have previously upcycled another thrift store table lamp and even a chandelier to give each a new look using texture paint or craft paint.

With the success of these DIY lamp projects, along with faux stone finishes I added to a planter and a large bowl I made, completed each gave me the confidence to try updating this thrift store table lamp.

How to Makeover a Thrift Store Table Lamp Tutorial

Of all the DIY lamp ideas I have shared, this one was the easiest to do. It took about 30 minutes to complete and 24 to completely dry.

artifact table lamp base

Here is my lamp base inspiration. This lamp is from Artifact.

Before makeover shot of a Ceramic table lamp bought at a thrift store
Before Makeover: $7 thrift store lamp

I found this ceramic lamp base at my local thrift store, minus a lamp shade for $7.

I liked the shape, but the swashes of orange and brown as well as the modern look of the design were not my style… but, I am sure anyone who likes vintage or modern decor may think this lamp is perfect just the way it is.

supplies needed:

  • Thrift store lamp
  • 3 cups Ready-Mix Concrete Patch – home improvement store
  • Black spray paint + primer in one
  • 1 cup black chalk paint
  • 1 cup white chalk paint
  • 3 cups water
  • Dark wax and rag
  • 2 mixing containers
  • 3″ wide chip style paint brush
  • Stirring stick
  • Sponge

Time needed: 2 hours and 30 minutes.

DIY Table Lamp Makeover Using Concrete Patch and Chalk Paint

  1. Clean Table Lamp Base

    Sand lamp base with 100 grit sandpaper to rough up the surface, then clean off all sanding grit and any dirt on the surface.

    Let dry.

    Sanding ceramic lamp base before painting.

  2. Spray Paint Table Lamp Base

    Using a paint + primer in one formula, spray paint the lamp base using a flat or satin paint in black. One light coat will be enough.

    Let dry.

    Black spray painted lamp base

  3. Mix Concrete Patch and Paint

    In a separate container, mix 1 cup of black chalk paint into 3 cups of concrete patch and mix until the mixture is completely black.

    Add more black chalk paint as needed.

    Mixing black chalk paint and concrete patch in two plastic containers.

  4. Apply Mixture to Lamp Base

    Using a paint stirring stick, apply the concrete patch and black chalk paint mixture over the base of the lamp as if you were icing a cake.

    Textured paint being added to a table lamp base.

  5. Create Horizontal Lines

    Starting at the top of the lamp base, run a 3″- wide chip brush, horizontally around the lamp base through the concrete patch/paint mixture.

    Try to get around the lamp base in one long swipe. Once you get around the top section, move down on the base and repeat the process until you reach the bottom.

    Let dry.

    brushing on concrete patch mixed with black paint to a lamp base.

  6. Add White Chalk Paint Layer

    Water down white chalk paint: 1 part chalk paint to 6 parts water. Mix well. Brush this mixture over the dried black concrete patch layer.

    Whitewashing over textured black painted lamp base.

  7. Dab Off White Chalk Paint

    As soon as you apply the white chalk paint, use a sponge to remove most of it to create a chalky look over the black color.

    If you like the way the painted base looks, then you are done.

    Sponging over white chalk paint on lamp base makeover.

  8. Optional: Add a Layer of Dark Wax

    To create more depth to the finish, dab a rag into a can of dark wax and then rub it over the lamp base in a few areas.

    Use a clean lint-free rag to remove any excess. Let dry.

    Adding a dark wax layer over textured paint on a DIY table lamp

Foyer table lamp DIY makeover of a thrift store lamp.

I was happy with one layer of the dark wax, but don’t be afraid to try to use more or even use another color of wax or watered down paint over the black textured finish.

There really isn’t a wrong or right way. It is more about creating a finish you like.

Where to Buy Inexpensive Lamp Shades

To complete my table lamp makeover, I used a lamp shade from another lamp I already had in my decor stash that I was not using.

If you need a new lamp shade for your DIY project lamp, I have never been happy when trying to make a fabric DIY lampshade myself.

I have made them, but found that over time, the glue or hot glue needed to make the fabric secure, breaks down from the heat of the bulb.

Many stores only sell shades with a lamp, but I have found the best places to buy affordable lamp shades sold separately in all sizes is at Target and Lowes.

How to Choose The Right Wattage Light Bulb for a Table Lamp

Entry table lamp ideas to DIY on a budget.

When adding a lamp to a room, be sure to find the right type of light bulb for the fixture to bring out the style you added.

I chose to use a 100 watt soft white bulb in my lamp and added a socket dimmer so when we don’t need to have bright light in the foyer, we can easily dim the light right from the socket to add a warmer moody feel.

There are many types of light bulbs sold nowadays that can be added to a lamp project from cool to warm light to LED bulbs to a vintage looking Edison light bulb.

Each can make or break the look of the lamp or fixture, so experiment with a few to see what bulb makes your lamp and room look its best.

How to Rewire a Table Lamp’s Socket and Cord

If you find the perfect table lamp at a thrift store or own one that no longer works, you can purchase a lamp kit to rewire a lamp base. It makes it is easy to do. You have probably seen them used to make a mason jar or bottle lamp at crafts fairs and on Pinterest.

Most of the lamp rewiring kits come with a new socket, cord, rod and harp.

As I mentioned above, consider using a dimming socket instead of a regular light bulb socket.

A dimming socket is nice to have in a living room when watching TV or in a dining room to add mood lighting when entertaining. Adding one can easily be added to a table or floor lamp and even a pendant lamp if it has a standard size socket.

Here is how to add a dimming socket to a lamp:

If you are inspired to make over an old lamp, but are afraid to give it a try, start by experimenting with the texture compound and paints on a piece of scrap wood until you get a feel for the technique and colors that you like.

Once you like what you see, you will have more confidence doing it on a lamp base.

More DIY Table Lamp Ideas:

Fast and Easy DIY Table Lamp Ideas and makeovers.

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  1. Wow, your lamp looks so good! Thank you for giving us all the steps for this project. That method could be used for vases too, it seems.

  2. This is absolutely genius Diane! It looks like you purchased it from a high end store. I think the proportion and shape of the original lamp is key to making this work and you have such a great eye for detail.
    As usual you’ve shown that it’s possible to have a beautiful home without needing to spend a fortune, with the added bonus that recycling and re-using is helping the planet.
    Sending love and prayers to you and your family.

  3. This lamp turned out amazingly well! It looks very high-end. As always, your technical instructions and step-by-step photos are first-rate. Thank you for sharing and I hope your granddaughter’s health is improving.

  4. I love this & it looks looks great on your table. You’re creativity has really opened up my mind to possibilities that I never thought of before!