Updating Exterior Lights

2 Materials
2 Hours

One of the easiest ways to perk up the exterior of your home is to freshen up your exterior light fixtures. The sun and weather can fade or oxidize your lights. And often, I love a shape of a light, but don't like the finish (it's too dated, the wrong color, etc.). This is an simple project that gets big results. This project involves the light fixtures to our sweet guest cottage. The intense sun has faded and oxidized the oil rubbed bronze fixture.

Faded and oxidized lantern by the front door

One light is located by the front door and the other fixture is located by the side door.

Side door entrance

Carefully remove the fixture

Before removing ANY electrical fixture, consult with your electrician. If you have experience with electrical fixtures, make sure any and all power is turned off to the fixture. Do this at your own risk.

Operate safely. Make sure power is turned off and/or consult with an electrician.

After both lanterns are safely removed, it is time to prep the lanterns for painting.

Close up of the faded frame

Faded and covered in cobwebs, the lights need a good cleaning.

Clean debris off lanterns

With a soft cloth and water, wipe the lanterns clean. In these particular lanterns, the glass cannot be removed. If you can remove the glass panels, do so and clean thoroughly.

With painter's tape, cover all the areas you do not want painted. I taped all the glass panels on the side and top of the lanterns. This was perhaps the most time consuming part, but better to prep the surface well, than to have to scrape off paint later.

One down. One to go.

Select the color(s) you want to use.

Since the light frames are metal, I selected a Rust-oleum product. Follow the directions on the manufacturers label and use every precaution suggested.

Protect the surrounding area with a large drop cloth

Using a forward and backward motion, lightly spray the light fixture. Be careful not to over-saturate an area which will cause drips in the paint.

I chose two different color paints ~a brown and an oil rubbed bronze. I wasn't sure which color I would like so I painted the lantern brown first, and then added a light coating of the oil rubbed bronze paint on top.

Here is the lantern after spray painting

I let the paint dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Removing the painter's tape

Removing the painter's tape was easy and a lot faster than putting it on!

Removing paint overspray

Any paint overspray on the glass is easily removed with a razor blade.

Both lanterns look like I just recently purchased them.

Lanterns look brand new!

Instead of tired looking, faded lanterns, the freshly painted ones give the exterior a lift in appearance.

This painting process can be done on any interior or exterior light fixture. Not loving the way a light or lantern looks? Try changing up the color for a different look. This is an easy and affordable solution.

To see more about our guest cottage, please click here. I would love to invite you to see more about Life at Bella Terra by clicking here.

Resources for this project:

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Life at Bella Terra

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


Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Flipturn
    on May 1, 2020

    Taking the time to tape properly and not rush pays off with your end results that look neat and clean.

    Is the mailbox next?

    • Life at Bella Terra
      on May 8, 2020


      Thanks to your question, I just re-did the mailbox. I am getting ready to write a post on it, but just wanted to let you know you were my inspiration!

Join the conversation

2 of 21 comments
  • Life at Bella Terra
    on May 9, 2020


    Here are the colors: On the body of the guest house Dunn Edwards Midnight Garden DE5657; Trim is Sherwin Williams Outerbanks SW2064; Shutters are Sherwin Williams Black Hills SW1189; Red detail work around the door is Ralph Lauren Barn Red. On the Outerbanks, that is the # that is on the can, however, when I looked it up online, it has a different # so not sure the formula is the same. You could probably also use Khaki. The # on my can is 8067. If you need me to take shots of the label, let me know. Typically, I use semi-gloss on the trim and shutters and a satin or eggshell on the building. Good luck!

  • Karen Deer
    7 days ago

    You are so sweet! Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I really appreciate it. God bless. ☺️

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