How to Paint a Lamp in 6 Easy Steps

by Danielle
6 Materials
4 Minutes

I don’t know about you, but I just seem to have the most expensive taste! No matter what’s out there, I always seem to like the priciest things! Have you seen the gorgeous lamps at Pottery Barn or McGee and Co.? They are the most beautiful lamps, but not at all in my budget! But how hard could it be to make one? Off to the thrift store I went! Follow this How to Paint a Lamp in 6 Easy Steps to get this high end look for your own!


This is the Decker Table Lamp styled beautifully by McAfee Home Living


Find a lamp in your home, or at a thrift store

These two beautiful painted lamps were my inspiration. How hard could it be to make one, right??? The thrift store had many options, but I needed a particular shape and size for my end table. I found this lamp for $7.50, and it was just the right lamp to be painted!

Spray paint a base color

Tape up the cord and any lamp parts that you don’t want painted. Then spray paint the lamp a flat black, white, or cream. This will be the background color that may peak through.

Cover with spackle

Only cover with spackle if the lamp doesn’t have an existing texture. The easiest way is to just scoop the spackle out with your hand and apply it onto the lamp base.

Let dry completely

Once you have covered the lamp with spackle (as little or as much as you want) let it completely dry before moving on to the next step.


Once the spackle is completely dry, lightly sand with a 220 grit sand paper to make a smoother finish. If you sand too much spackle off, you can add more. You just want to get any of the pokey peaks off and have a fairly smooth finish.

Select paint colors

Carefully look at your inspiration piece, and break down the colors that were used, or think about the colors that you want to be in your lamp. If you don't already have paint around the house, just buy the cheap acrylic craft paint. Any brand will work, but don't get a glossy finish.

If you can't find the exact shade you want, you can mix colors together. Be sure to get white, as you may need to lighten a color.

Begin painting the lamp

Using a seafoam sponge, a foam brush, or a wadded up paper towel or rag, dip it into the color that you want to be the background color. I like to dip the excess paint onto a paper plate before applying to the lamp. You can dab it on randomly, or cover the whole base, depending on how you want it to look.

Once the first color is dry, dab the next color that you want to use. Do it more in a random fashion as if sponge painting a wall. Fill in with the next color, and repeat until the whole base is covered in paint.

Lighten up with white, if needed

Once you have all of your colors on, if it’s too dark or stark, you can always go over it lightly with white. Dab some white paint onto a seafoam sponge or wadded up rag and dab any excess paint off onto a paper plate or towel, then lightly dab randomly all over the base to lighten it up and give it a cohesive look.

Do not panic if things are not going like you want them! It’s just paint and you can always paint over it and start again. In full disclosure, I was almost finished and didn’t like at all how it was turning out, so I painted over and started again! You just about can’t ruin this! Finish with a new shade. That’s all there is to paint a lamp in 6 easy steps! This $7.50 lamp now looks like a high end piece of home decor!

Decorating your home with a high-end look doesn't have to cost a fortune! Here's another high end look project that I did for far less than the real thing! And if you liked working with spackle, here is the project that got me started on the spackle addiction!

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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  2 questions
  • Pamela Pamela on Feb 03, 2021

    Will this work on a glass base? I have a lamp that I love however, the shade is black and the base is red. It no longer goes with my decor. I thought about selling it until I saw your post. Thank you so much.

  • Mary Mary on Oct 19, 2021


    Aside from the DIY project, is that a picture of the Tetons on the wall in the background?

    thx, Mary Fitz

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