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$2 Lamp Refinished and a Serious Shade Struggle….

Since refinishing our awesome grey dresser, I have been trying to decide what projects to work on next.  One thing I noticed right away when we placed the dresser in our entry way, was that there really wasn’t enough light.  We have a 2 story entry way, with a light up on the ceiling, but it doesn’t give off that much light down on the first floor, and it feels pretty dark especially at night.  I often clean up the house after it is dark and it’s extremely hard to see all the dust/dirt in the dark.  So, I had been seeing some cool lamp refinishing projects on Pinterest, and since I certainly didn’t want to spend lots of money on a lamp, I decided to try it myself.  Over the course of a week I kept my eye out for a could be cool lamp at different thrift stores.  I found the perfect subject after only a couple days and was quick to snatch it up.

$2 thrift store lamp

Up close

There was a second matching lamp, which I kind of wish I would have bought now, but really we need only one (although more light might still be nice…or a higher wattage lightbulb…idk).

Anyway, I already had a can of matte white spray paint on hand, which I found at Big Lots for $1 a while back.  I decided to use that.  I used a wet cloth to clean up the lamp, but it wasn’t really dirty so that was plus.  Then I took it into the garage and proceeded to spray paint it to death.

About 5 minutes later:

So retro- I love it!

Natural light

I didn’t really take many precautions in painting it.  I knew the cord would be behind the dresser, and the top would be covered by the shade…so I just went crazy on it.  I also didn’t prime it, and I can’t tell you yet if that was a good idea or not.  The paint hasn’t come off at all, so I am not too worried….yet.

So this is where things got difficult.  I had purchased this table cloth for my grey dresser a while ago:

Table Cloth turned runner

I folded it up and turned it into a runner for the dresser.  Target actually had a runner, but it had a weird block white pattern through it that I really didn’t like.  So this is how that turned out:

Runner on Dresser

 So like I was saying, thing got difficult.  Target also had a matching Lamp Shade (kind of, the yellow was a tad different) to go with this pattern, and I thought it would be perfect for my lamp.  Well, I got it, put it on, and not only was it humongous, but I also felt it was too, too matchy.

Ignore other things on dresser, those will be removed for gallery wall.

And then, when I turned it on, I felt even more strongly about it being all wrong:

On, no no no no!

I hated the way the color changed so much with it on, and how transparent it was.  Back to square one.  I searched and searched and finally found a couple lamp shades from World Market that I thought could be nice.  One grey (to tie in the dresser’s grey color), and one ‘indigo’ or blue/purple shade.  I was about to order them, but then I decided to think about it a little more.  I know you are probably thinking, “Who puts this much thought into a lampshade?” Well, you found her.  Anyway, the next day me and my huz were headed to a Yelp Elite event at some Mexican place in Atlanta.  As we are stuck in traffic what do I notice in the shopping center we are passing?!?!  World Market!!! I encourage my husband to make a quick stop, since we were already a little early, and I was sure it wouldn’t take long to see if they had the shades…and we could save on shipping!  Sure enough they did, but I couldn’t decide in the store which was better.  Well at $12.99 and $9.99 I ended up just taking both and would decide at home.

So, this is where things got even MORE difficult (I know, how is that possible?!).  I tried the indigo and the grey and I just couldn’t make a decision!  They both look different when turned on, and both of the turned on looks turned me off.  I mean, the purpose of this specific lamp is to be on and provide light, so I want it to look good when it is on.  So I turned to my 300 closest friends and asked them their opinions…..Yellow (ugh), Indigo, or Grey?

Top Indigo, Middle Grey, Bottom Yellow (clearly)

Even with a ton of opinions, it was kind of a toss up.  People seemed to like the indigo better when it was off, but then the grey when it was on.  I still could not decide.  Why is this so difficult for me??  It seems like any normal person would just make a decision and be done with it!!! Why am I spending hours stressing about an entry way lamp?!?!  So then my friend, Lisa (thanks, girl!) actually suggested to line the lamp so that when it is turned on the color will still be true to the normal color when it is off.  DING DING DING DING….this girl is a genius.  Call Mensa, alert the presses, a decision can finally be made!!

So I did come to a decision on the color of the lampshade….

Grey is the winner

Ignore the mess

Yess!! Finally some decisiveness!

However, this is how my hallway looks today…..


I returned the yellow shade to target, but decided to keep both the indigo and grey.  I plan to line both and then just change them periodically!  Also, please ignore the messy dresser top…those pictures will be removed when I start my gallery wall!  This lamp with the 2 different lampshades cost $25.98, so really not bad.  If I had returned the other shade it would have been only $12.99 total.


  1. I have to say, I do like the grey

  2. Haha yep. I suggest you keep the 2 & change them as the mood takes you, as you said 😉

  3. I love the grey shade. And the runner. And the dresser. Love it all. :)

  4. Hey, thought for you, you might like the matching patterned lampshade better when it’s lit, if you add another dimension to it by piercing a pattern in the shade with pinholes. It makes it really sparkly and would balance the darkening of the base color! Just food for thought! ♡Lael

  5. i know this is an older post but i just needed to mention that i have that exact same yellow lampshade from target and i feel the exact same way about it when the light is on. luckily it’s on a lamp that i really don’t turn on that often so i get to enjoy it much more often when it’s off. :)

    • It is so funny that you feel the same way! It’s also funny because I have seen that lampshade in countless TV Shows, Movies, other blog posts, and pretty much everywhere and anywhere….it’s definitely cute! Thanks so much for stopping by to say hi!

  6. Hi Allyson, I like how the grey shade looks with your hallway wall color (it looks grey, IDK if it is, look it tho). If you have done your picture gallery, picture please! If not, I do like the look of the picture on the table leaning against the wall, it gives you flexibility to switch it out with seasonal things or other treasures you might find. You probably already returned the blue shade since this is a year later ~ unless you are me (I lose the receipt, wait to long etc) or decide to keep it just in case of another project comes along, the lamp gets moved to a room where a blue shade fits the ticket! As is I think it looks great & thanks for sharing!

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