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Transform a retro floor lamp

Modern floor lamp retro chair - furniture restoration - craft -

You will need

● A floorstanding lamp with a solid wood base – this one came from environmental charity

To strip the lamp base
● Fine and/or medium sandpaper (this will sometimes be enough to strip a thin varnish) AND/OR paint/varnish stripper – try 100 per cent biodegradable Soy Gel, £26.40 a litre,
● An old 50mm paintbrush (if using stripper)
● A washing-up sponge with an abrasive side (if using stripper)
● An old toothbrush for cleaning any mouldings or carving (if using stripper) OR dispense with the stripping and try no-preparation paint by Annie Sloan (see below)

To paint the lamp base
● Low-tack masking tape
● Matt emulsion – try Dulux Tailor Made Colour in Urban Obsession, £2.99 for 250ml, OR Chalk Paint in Graphite, £16.95 a litre,
● A 50mm paintbrush
● Fine sandpaper

To finish
● Fine sandpaper and wire wool
● Duster
● Beeswax with lanolin – try Carr & Day & Martin’s Leather Balsam, £12.90 for 500ml,
● Soft cloths for applying wax and buffing

To replace the flex
● Braided, fabric-covered flex – we used 3-core 5mm light flex in black, £9.90 for 3 metres,

To replace the lampshade
● Lampshade OR lampshade kit – we used a 45cm drum lampshade kit, £14.99; with personalised digital print (you can use your own photo, picture or artwork), £15; both

To make

Decide how you want your lamp to look and what finishes to use where.

Separate the upright from the base if they come apart.

Strip everything back to bare wood with sandpaper, paint/ varnish stripper (following the manufacturer’s directions) or a combination of both. Using medium and/or fine sandpaper go over any area(s) you want to leave unpainted to create a smooth finish. Or, if using no-preparation paint, follow the instructions on the tin.

Attach the upright to the base if you separated them before stripping the paint.

Mask any areas you’re leaving stripped, then apply the first coat of paint, taking care not to overload the brush and avoiding blobs and dribbles as much as possible. Once dry, smooth down with sandpaper, then apply a second coat, this time aiming for complete coverage. Leave to dry.

Go over the paintwork with fine sandpaper and wire wool until all visible areas are smooth and you’re happy with the finish.

Dust thoroughly, then apply wax to the painted and stripped areas with a cloth. Remove all residue with a second, clean cloth, buffing to a shine.

Get a qualified electrician to rewire your lamp with the fabric-covered flex.

Follow the directions supplied if you’re making your lampshade with a kit. See for helpful information and instructional videos. It’s also useful to look at a similar, finished lampshade to see what the end result should be. Note that the ring with the fitting must be placed at the bottom of the shade for a standard lamp.

Fit the shade onto the stand.

For more upcycled designs from Jenny and Jonathan visit

You might also like...

See lots more new looks for lampshades
Cover a lampstand in fabric
Give furniture a new lease of life: more projects to try


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