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

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 table lamps 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 furniture store or home decorating catalog.

Foyer table lamp DIY on a table with fall decor.

When decorating a room, 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. You can find these and more DIY table lamp ideas as you scroll to the end of this post.

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

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 hours to dry completely.

artifact table lamp base

Above 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 3u0022- 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.

4 More DIY Table Lamp Makeover Ideas

Serena and Lily copycat table lamp on white table.

Serena & Lily Knockoff DIY Table Lamp Makeover

Holiday lamp finial idea. Close up of white table lamp with red Christmas ball ornament made into a finial above the lamp shade.

Pottery Barn Inspired DIY Table Lamp Makeover

lamp makeover for a child's room

Beaded Lamp & Wallpaper Shade for a Child’s Room

easy lamp shade update

Easy Table Lamp Shade Update

How to Make a Table Lamp Taller

If you find a table lamp to makeover that you love, but find it is not tall enough for the space you want to use, consider adding a riser to add height.

Here are a few easy ways to add height to a table lamp:

  1. Stack a few hardcover books under the lamp.
  2. Purchase a “decorative riser.” Or make one using pre-cut wood rounds and wood balls found at the craft store.
  3. Place the lamp on a few slices of a tree trunk.
  4. Look around your house for something to stack, like cutting boards or baskets. Place what you find under the lamp to see if it complements the lamp.

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.

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, Lowes and Walmart.

How to Make a Lamp Shade Cover

If you have an old shade that fits your lamp, but don’t like the style, consider making a cover for the shade that will coordinate with your DIY project lamp,

A fabric cover for a lamp shade can be made three different ways:

  1. Fit Fabric Around the Existing Lampshade and adhere with glue.
  2. Make a Flouncy Lampshade Skirt of fabric to tie over the shade.
  3. Accordion Pleat Leftover Wallpaper and attach to the shade.

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 room, 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. They can range from cool to warm light to LED bulbs to a vintage looking Edison light bulb.

If you like to use tech solutions, add a smart bulb to your lamps so you can dim the lightbulb from an app on your phone.

Each type of lightbulb can make or break the look of the lamp or fixture, so experiment with a few to see what bulb type/wattage 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. Having a kit makes it is easy to do. You have probably seen these kits used to make a mason jar or bottle lamps at crafts fairs and on Pinterest.

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

Consider Adding a Dimming Socket

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 or even a pendant lamp if it has a standard size socket.

Here is the link to show you how to add a standard 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 texture compounds 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 the technique on a lamp base.

More DIY Table Lamp Ideas:

Fast and Easy DIY Table Lamp Ideas and makeovers.

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  1. Michele M. says:

    WOW Diane, that looks amazing! It’s actually nicer looking than your inspiration pic! Well done! All of your lamp re-dos look great. I love a frugal
    way to decorate and you nailed it.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Michelle – I think the lamp is one of my favorite DIY’s I have ever done.

  2. What an incredible job on your lamps! They turned out beautifully. I love the detailed directions you always provide with all your projects.

  3. Trying this on a pair of lamps I thrifted!! I will say I tried to use regular dry concrete mix and it is NOT going well lol! So I sent hubby to get some pre mixed like you suggested. Good news is it’s all been pretty forgiving and I think it’ll look awesome when it’s done! Thank you for making this tutorial!

  4. Diane
    I’m so shocked as I bought this exact lamp when I lived in Illinois about 40 years ago!!! But five years ago, I donated it to Goodwill as it clashed with my current decor. Could that be my lamp?? Now, I’m into “upcycling” & wish I’d kept it!! Your redo looks so much better. Haha, small world!!

    1. Sharon Messenger says:

      I just bid on a mercury glass Pottery Barn lamp at on of our thrift sites online. I’m so inspired. The lamp is beautiful but has a glass-like finish to the dark gray mercury glass. I would like to change it to a finish like yours. I hope it’s not sold yet!

  5. Terri/Houston Lady says:

    Hi Diane, love it! I’ve been shopping for a lamp base such as this one, but they are so expensive! Thanks for providing instructions on how to update an old lamp.
    Have a great day : )

  6. I agree that Target has some great lampshades at a reasonable cost. I also like Lowe’s or Home Depot. The lamp looks great!
    Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  7. Carla from Kansas says:

    I didn’t even know they made dimmer sockets. Thanks for the information Diane.

  8. Wow! That’s a show stopper, for sure! I love it. I’ve had luck at places like Tuesday Morning when looking for a lampshade. I check the clearance to see if there are any that lost their lamp, which does happen. If the lamp gets broken, they sell the shade at a steal.
    I had never heard of dimming sockets. Can’t wait to try it! Thanks, Diane. Sending good vibes to you and your family.

  9. Diane!! I almost fell out of my chair when I saw the lamp you redid!! I had a pair of lamps exactly like the one you bought at the thrift store!!!! Oh how I wish I had one of them back! I am definitely one who misses the things I give to charity, but am glad to donate…you know what I mean?? I LOVE what you did with the lamp. I also have a “concrete look” lamp that I bought new at a pretty good bargain. Mine is smaller and white. I absolutely love the colors in yours and it would look so good in our family room :) Thanks for always telling us every step to do these wonderful makeovers! Love and prayers continue for you and your family! XO

  10. That really does look like it’s right out of a catalog!! Love the dark color too!
    Sending good thoughts for you and your family 💜

  11. Good job!!! It is fun to look at old items and see a new “light” in them!!!
    Prayers for your family.

  12. I love the look of this lamp. You inspire me to try doing this project for my home. It’s a great way to get a beautiful lamp for mere dollars. Thinking of you and your family with love and prayers.

    1. That poor orange lamp that you “transformed” was gorgeous and was worth $200-$300 in good condition. This makes me sad

  13. Pamela Caudill says:

    WOW Diane..that is crazy good!

  14. Love your lamp makeover.
    Just about every lamp in my house was purchased at a thrift store or yard sale.
    I then painted them to go with whatever room they were purchased for at the time.
    I find Home Goods has decent shades at a good price whenever
    I end up with a lamp in need of a shade. Your new stone look lamp looks just like those high dollar kind.

  15. Laura Janning says:

    What a great transformation!

    1. Really well done. I love it.

      So nice to hear from you again this week.

      Thinking of your family☺.

  16. Jen P. in IL says:

    That lamp is fabulous. One of my favorites so far ! Take care, J

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Sue Bauman says:

    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.

  20. 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!