21 In Decor

Lamp Makeover: From Boring to French Country

Chalk painted lamp

If your like us and don’t have a large budget for getting new items for the house at the moment, there are some very easy ways to take what you already have and give it a new life! We are firm believers that you can paint pretty much anything, and we practice this belief by re-doing our own pieces when we feel like a new look is needed!

chalk paint home decor

The item I most recently decided needed a makeover was my bedside lamp in the master bedroom. I had had the lamp for years…in fact, I believe I got it when I was a little girl! Well I took a look at it one day and right then and there decided it needed to be painted…that day…that minute…! Sometimes projects and ideas come to you and you just can’t help but begin right then and there (in the middle of cleaning!).

chalk paint home decor
Luckily this lamp was in great shape after all those years and didn’t need any fixing at all! So I snatched it off the table and brought it to my workshop right away! I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it so I dug right in with the Annie Sloan Old Ochre immediately.

painting an old lamp

I didn’t worry about making smooth strokes around the entire lamp because I knew I wanted a bit of texture to the piece.

Tip: Now texture does not mean glopping the paint on so it runs, otherwise your wasting it…texture can be achieved by moving your brush strokes in different directions and not making the strokes completely smooth. It will help to give it more texture by doing a second coat (or multiple) of the same technique.  

The lamp needed two coats of the AS Old Ochre and then came the fun part. Here at Timeless Creations, we don’t like to just stop at one coat of paint, but like to incorporate a depth and uniqueness to our pieces by trying different techniques to add to the first layer of paint. We also love “washes”! They are one of the easiest ways to give that extra kick to any painted piece. We talked about what a “wash” is in our post Update your old Picture Frames, as well as a link about where we got our inspiration, but basically it is paint mixed with water. Easy right?

painting an old lamp

For my lamp I took about 2 teaspoons of Annie Sloan French Linen and mixed in about the same amount of water. You can do less water, if you want more paint to stay on the piece, or more water to make the paint lighter. We have found it is very easy to apply a wash with a foam brush. So I brushed the wash on the entire lamp (on a bigger piece of furniture do the wash in sections) and then took a clean dry rag and wiped the wash away, very lightly, to give it a worn, distressed look without the sanding.

The wash gave the lamp the perfect color I was looking for! My inspiration was to lighten it up and go for a French Country look with it. It also gave the lamp more depth by leaving more of the wash in the crevices, instead of wiping it all off.

painting an old lamp

But wait!….I wasn’t done yet… I wanted just a little bit more! After the wash was dry I took the Old Ochre again and dry brushed very lightly over the entire piece! It highlighted that texture from before as well as all the edges and stepped up my lamp even more! (Learn how to dry-brush here.)

painting an old lamp

painting an old lamp

painting an old lamp

This technique: paint, add wash, dry brush is one of my favorite ways to redo furniture and decor items. I have used this technique before and wanted to share one other option. I found this awesome ornate piece at the bottom of a pile in an antique store being overlooked by everyone.

paint old home decor items

It was dull and lifeless before but after a very minimal amount of paint it now fits perfectly as a unique piece on my gallery wall! This was done with AS Old White as a base coat instead of the Old Ochre like my lamp.


Once again you can see how the wash gets into the crevices of the piece to give it more depth.

Gallery Wall find


So before throwing something that just isn’t your style anymore, go ahead and give it a new look first. A little paint goes a long way and instead of buying new items that go with your new style, change what you already have!


Shop the Look:

Wall Mounted Bottle Drying Rack/White Coffee Mugs/Plant Vase/Floor Vase


Grab Today's Steal!



Annie Sloan French Linen

French Linen Table Restyle

Dining table makoever

Dining Table Transformation

painted wood chair

Rock Away the Dust



You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    July 25, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    I love what you did with that lamp, it looks so bright and updated now. You did a wonderful job! Thanks so much for sharing this with us at the DI & DI Link Party. We always enjoy having you:-)

    • Reply
      Kristen & Vicki
      July 27, 2016 at 4:46 pm

      Thanks Christine for stopping by! It was such a spur of the moment idea to paint that lamp, but boy am I glad I did!

  • Reply
    August 2, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    Great job looks so new and store bought! Thanks for linking up to Merry Monday! Pinned & Sharing on G+! Have a great week!

  • Reply
    September 14, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Did you use a wax on the lamp to give it the slight shine?

    • Reply
      Kristen & Vicki
      September 14, 2016 at 2:22 pm

      Hi Rachel! Thanks for visiting! Actually we used polycrylic (here is a link to what we use, http://amzn.to/2cf3hc8) Wax would work wonderfully and would give a similar sheen as this. I think the only reason I didn’t use wax was because I didn’t have it on hand that day!

  • Reply
    October 12, 2016 at 4:42 am

    Your lamp looks so much better! I love it and your blog. Visiting from Totally Terrific Tuesday!

    • Reply
      Kristen & Vicki
      October 13, 2016 at 10:13 am

      Thank you so much for visiting Cheryl! So glad you loved our blog 🙂

  • Reply
    Stacey Keeling
    October 14, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Another perfect transformation! It’s wonderful what paint can do.
    Thank you so much for sharing at Thoughts of Home on Thursday. 🙂

  • Reply
    October 14, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    Paint can be the great updater. The lamp looks wonderful. And I love the little architectural piece you updated also.

  • Reply
    October 15, 2016 at 2:30 am

    It looks great and bright and so much better I think! What some paint can do is amazing!!

    • Reply
      Kristen & Vicki
      October 19, 2016 at 6:49 pm

      That is right! Paint does wonders! Thanks Katrin 🙂

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    October 20, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    Great lamp makeover. Thank you so much for sharing at Snickerdoodle Create~Bake~Make link party!

  • Reply
    Calypso in the Country
    December 29, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    I love how this turned out!

  • Reply
    August 15, 2018 at 2:44 am

    Was looking through Pinterest and saw this technique on this lamp …. love it! I’m going to try it on my floor lamp. I have just one question, though. I’ve done several small projects with chalk paint and used a clear wax to seal it. What I have found, though, is that I get a very abrasive look and feel to the wood and I don’t like it. It’s not nice and soft to the touch like furniture store furniture. The last project I did was my girls’ beds and used Rustoleum chalk paint and then the matte lacquer to protect it but I still didn’t get that soft touch. I notice on your lamp there’s almost like a very subtle sheen and it feels “buttery.” After your last coat of paint you don’t mention anything about using any wax or other type of protection on your piece. You did paint, dry brush, and paint again. Can you tell me what you used, please, to get that texture on your wood. Sorry so lengthy!

    • Reply
      Kristen & Vicki
      August 15, 2018 at 8:18 am

      Hi Leti! This paint is Chalk paint by Annie Sloan, and we used wax over it. If you don’t want brush marks/texture and want it to be smooth I would suggest lightly sanding the piece after paint (with a fine grit sandpaper) and then wax. After you brush on wax they say to buff it to get a subtle sheen, and for it to be smoother. I will say that different products have a different end texture/feel to them. I would suggest to try on a sample board before you begin your lamp to make sure it is what you want. You can use Annie Sloan wax over her Chalk paint or try a Matte sheen Poly – here is a link to the one we use. https://amzn.to/2KQRdMk

  • Reply
    August 16, 2018 at 3:42 am

    I really don’t mind the brush strokes. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even think to do that as I was painting the bed (still very much a beginner!) I live in Spain and the only chalk paint I have available in my area is Rustoleum and the sales guy suggested I use the Rustoleum Lacquer Clear Matte to get that smooth finish I was looking for but it’s not what I see on your lamp. So I will continue to work on other projects and continue to experiment …. it’s the only way I’m gonna learn. Thanks so much for your input!

    • Reply
      Kristen & Vicki
      August 18, 2018 at 4:37 pm

      Sure! Not a problem – and your absolutely right! The only way to learn is to keep experimenting! I know that Annie Sloan and Miss Mustard Seed do sell internationally, you can order them online from different retailers. Good Luck Leti in all your painting exploits! Have fun!

    Leave a Reply

    Pin It on Pinterest

    Share This