DIY Restoration Hardware Inspired Lamp Makeover


These beautiful brass lamps were lovely, but my client wanted to give them a more modern updated makeover. We both loved the look of the lamps we'd seen in catalogs like Ballard Designs, Pottery Barn and of course Restoration Hardware but we didn't want to spend the money on new lamps. I decided to try to recreate the "greige" finish on these brass lamps and we both were thrilled about how they came out!
Here is the before. I cleaned them thoroughly before priming them with a shellac based primer. My favorite is Zinzer primer.
I made sure that I let the primer dry very well in between each coat.
Then I applied 2 coats of Sherwin Williams paint in a matte finish. The color I used was Virtual Taupe.
The next step I did was to make my own liming wax. I used Johnson's paste wax mixed with white latex paint. I used a cheap chip brush to kind of dry brush the liming wax all over the lamps. I let the wax kind of settle into the brush marks of the base coat. I wiped off any excess with a blue shop towel.
Here is the finished product! The lamp is totally transformed!
Since there were two sets of lamps, I decided to make the other set darker. For this set, I also made a diy wax but instead of using paint I used dark stain. I used the same technique, dry brushing the wax on and then removing any excess.
And here it is finished! For more photos and information click the link to go to my blog!

Suggested materials:

  • Sherwin Williams paint  (Sherwin Williams)
  • Johnson's Paste Wax  (Home Depot)
  • Minwax Stain  (Home Depot)
Wild Sparrow Designs

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 12 questions
  • Dgq27773154
    on Jul 13, 2017

    Can you tell me the color of the dark Minwax you used to mix with the Johnson Wax? Thank you.
  • Hea28925324
    on Aug 9, 2017

    This project is at the top of my to do list with a pair of lamps I found at an auction. However, I'm having a difficult time finding new shades that I like. May I ask where you found the ones in this post? They are just what I have in mind! Thank you!
    • Wxw
      on Nov 17, 2018

      If you are handy enough to transform a pair of lamp bases, you should be able to recover the shades. So many fabric choices to truly customize for that designer look we all yearn for. Although, sometimes less $$ to purchase if you find what you want. Good luck.

  • Laurel Dray Conrad
    on Dec 8, 2018

    Where did you get the lampshades?

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