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Sharing a detailed tutorial on how to update an old floor lamp that transforms a thrift store find into a home decor piece you’ll love. [post contains affiliate links, which means we make a small commission, at NO additional cost to you, if a purchase is made. thanks for supporting north country nest!]

This past Saturday, my mom and I went on a mini shopping adventure and decided to hit up a few thrift stores. I was on the hunt for a standing lamp for our living room and a desk.

The first spot we went to was a small thrift store in Cambridge and can you guess my luck? Right there was a standing lamp, looked to be in good condition and it had a lamp shade (it was pretty hideous, but it also looked to be in good condition). So, it took all but five minutes for my mom to talk me into it and I walked out with a lamp. What a perfect project for Saturday afternoon!

How to Update an Old Floor Lamp | Supplies

After acquiring the lamp and doing some other miscellaneous shopping (in case you’re wondering, yes, I found a desk too. That project’s post is coming soon!) it was off to good ole’ Menards to grab some spray paint, sand paper and sealer.

Choosing a color was the toughest part. I didn’t know if I wanted an accent color or if it should go along with the others. In the end, I decided on green, which brings out the green in two accent pillows on the couch. I stayed away from cream because I didn’t know what color our walls were going to be in the new house, so I thought a color was better because it probably has more of a chance to ‘pop’. I also decided on matte spray paint. I am not sure how much a difference the glossy kind would have made, but I really like the fact it’s not so shiny you could see your reflection.


To prep the lamp, I just quickly sanded down the entire base with 150 grit sandpaper. It wasn’t something I was too meticulous about, but I made sure I got the majority of real estate because I wanted the paint to stick. After sanding, I wiped it down with a damp rag followed by a dry paper towel.

Luckily I had a drop cloth to work over, so I lightly sprayed the base and rotating it at the same time so all sides were covered. I think I did about four coats, with 15-20 minutes in between each coat. After the last one dried, I sprayed the entire thing with a light coat of matte finish

green lamp with recovered lamp shade

Now onto the fun part – recovering the lamp. I was fortunate enough to find some scrap fabric in my mom’s craft closet. Unfortunately, it was only so wide and it wasn’t until after we started that we researched the best way to actually cover a lamp shade. Turns out you actually need to cut the fabric a certain way. For the instructions we followed, check out this easy tutorial I found online.

Since we didn’t have enough fabric to cut correctly, we ended up creating pleats along the top (every three inches) and used a glue gun to secure them down. It was a bit tedious, but definitely worth it!

All our best,

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