Or: The Ugly Duckling Floor Lamp
Most of the time when clients start voluntarily letting go of things that no longer “spark joy” I am thrilled. It means we’ve probably had that breakthrough moment where they’ve let a few things go, realized it actually does feel amazing to be free of the unnecessary stuff. . . and now I won’t have to babysit the process quite so much. But when my Firefly Drive client wanted to trash her floor lamp I snatched it up and asked her if we could do a floor lamp makeover instead.
Now. The thing was UGLY. There’s no trying to deny it. Black and brown and chipped and dusty all over. Ew.
But I’m a firm believer in multiple lighting sources! This woman already didn’t have enough lamps! It seemed like a bad idea to Goodwill the one lamp she did have–and it still worked!
I took it home.
Hubby was NOT impressed.
I promised him this was going to be a FAST and EASY floor lamp makeover, and it wasn’t living with us for more than a few days.
Floor Lamp Makeover: What I used
Dawn dish soap and some warm water. This poor duckling needed a good cleaning!
Chalk Paint: I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White.
Dark Wax: Use this to give the piece a little depth and that “antique” feel. I used Annie Sloan.
Paint Brush: I used an Annie Sloan medium size oval brush.
Paint brush and lint-free rag for applying wax: I used a cheaper chalk paint brush from Michael’s and an old tee shirt torn up for the rag.
Rub’n Buff in “Gold Leaf”: I used my fingers to apply it.
Clear Wax (Annie Sloan) paint brush (same kind as for dark wax) and another lint-free rag for finishing/sealing.
A new lamp shade* I snagged one from another lamp around the house.
Let the Makeover begin
After it’s clean and dry, neutralize the ugly with the chalk paint. I didn’t thin out the paint; I wanted it to go on thick and almost look like plaster. I was envisioning French antique pieces.
The lamp base and the top detail has a graceful classical feel, despite the original terrible color treatment!
I got it all painted in Annie Sloan’s Old White and it already looked like a million bucks.
Point being, I could have stopped after the painting. I DID take a photo of this phase–mostly in case I hated what came next. The photo would be there for comparison. But I REALLY felt like accentuating a few of the architectural details on this lamp would make it look even better. Maybe I could make this thing look like a $125 lamp? Now that would be a Floor Lamp Makeover!
After I got it looking nice and white (don’t forget to paint the lamp finial, if it’s painted like mine was. You could also replace it for a new look.), I went into the base and top detail with a little cheap chalk paint brush and added some dimension with the dark wax.
This is a good process to do in small sections.
Back away and get some perspective.
Use a rag to blend, get it into small spaces, or completely rub off in case you get overenthusiastic. (It happens. Don’t stress.)
Be warned though: dark wax is tough to completely take off. Working in small sections helps, and Annie Sloan suggests applying dark wax over wet clear wax–which also helps if you went overboard and need to remove the dark wax.
Step back, maybe have sip of wine, get some perspective on the look of your piece.
I was treating myself to a bottle of red blend Upstate New York from Lamoreaux Landing Winery. We drove some back to Indy after a road trip to my hometown of Rochester, NY. We spent a lovely day driving along Seneca Lake, attended a wine tasting at Lamoreaux, then drove on past Owasco Lake to stay a night at Mirbeau on Skaneateles Lake. That’s pronounced “skinny-atlas” and it’s as pretty as the name is funky.
But I digress.
After the paint and the low-lighting dark wax comes the highlighting with Rub’n Buff
Gold Leaf won out over Antique Gold for the Rub’n Buff color on this project.
As you can see from the photo, this was a relaxed evening. At least, it certainly was for Samson, our Bengal cat.
After a glass or two of Lamoreaux Landing red, I was also pretty relaxed. The Rub’n Buff is a bit smelly, but very easy to use! Take the brand name literal: rub it on, buff it with a clean dry cloth to make it shine. It’s a glorious product and I can’t wait to use it again.
While I used the dark wax to give depth in the crevices, I used the gold leaf Rub’n buff to highlight on the tops of the lamp details.
Play with it until you like what you see.
Then go over everything with a clean rag dipped in clear wax to seal it all up. Annie Sloan suggests applying it like hand cream, ie “less is more” and that a high-shine finish happens when you buff it with a clean cloth after it’s been on the piece for 24 hours.
Let your lamp hang out for at least a day before you move it to its final location. Annie Sloan wax cures in 5-21 days.