Asked on Aug 28, 2015

What finish to use when updating brass lamps?

Cornelia Schott
by Cornelia Schott
I bought these two brass lamps at a garage sale. I am going to take them from drab to fab. I would like to spray paint these lamp bases. The lamp shades will be replaced with drum shades. Can I use spray paint or should I use a latex paint? What has been your experience when updating older lamps?
Brass lamps
  27 answers
  • Z Z on Aug 28, 2015
    Brass is coming back, though for me it's classic, but the shape of these seem to call for a fun color. I'd spray paint them lime, but then then any color that matches your decor will do.
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Aug 28, 2015
    I would not choose a definite color.You can possibly use an updated version of a brass color. Many to choose from.I suggest spray paint possibly a metallic.
  • Sandra rich Sandra rich on Aug 28, 2015
    I had some nearly identical. ..I just sprayed with rustoleum after sanding. I havent had any peeling etc....I did use a poly spray topcoat......hope that helps
  • Becky P Becky P on Aug 28, 2015
    I use Rustoleum 2X only, and have great results with it. I have used the metallic bronze on a lamp and it looks great. Esp combined with a new shade.
  • SusieJen SusieJen on Aug 28, 2015
    I used a brown textured Krylane paint and then popped in a few colors from my room in buttons all over the cheap lamp shade...just have fun with it! Good luck :)
  • CK CK on Aug 28, 2015
    I've used spray paint and DIY chalk paint with great results on lamps just like these. Whatever you do for them, they'll look great. What you choose is only limited to the final look you want. To suggest a special color would be presumptive on my part, since you've not mentioned the style your home/room has. I suspect you have great creativity and were looking for what method works best. I've had great results with those I've mentioned. Nice lamps to work with! You'll have fun making them your own :-D
  • Holly McCord Holly McCord on Aug 28, 2015
    I used Rustoleum and it worked fine - no chips - lots of colors to choose - I didn't sand before painting, but did clean very well with mild soap and water and dried completely before painting. Dry in the sun or overnight, even.
  • Lori Jackson Lori Jackson on Aug 28, 2015
    I love spray painting brass lamps. Because I like chippy, I start with brown and topcoat with white. My favorite tip for distressing metal is apply a light swab of vasoline where you want paint to 'chip'. Once the lamps are dry, towel off the 'greasy' spots and viola--chippy white lamps.
  • Linda Embry Linda Embry on Aug 29, 2015
    Spray paint with antique mirror paint.
  • Duv310660 Duv310660 on Aug 29, 2015
    Spray and chalk paint (sealed) work well. I personally prefer Rustoleum, but it is very humid here.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Aug 29, 2015
    Would try the shade replacement first as brass is making a return. If determined, then I'd spray with a metal paint and then top with polyacrylic. For a non-metallic finish, think I'd spray with liquid sandpaper.
  • Danielle Danielle on Aug 29, 2015
    Almost every lamp in my house is a revamp. First, use spray paint. You'll get a much nicer finish than with latex. Second, the sky's the limit! Pick any color you like or go crazy and tape off different sections and spray with different colors. I have done hammered bronze, brushed nickel, gloss black, and I'm about to do a horrible brown up light , reading lamp combo that I got for $2 at an auction with glossy robins egg blue to go in our home office. IMHO pick out the shade you love, and where you're going to put the lamp when it's done and then chose your color based on that.
  • Angela Roberts Angela Roberts on Aug 29, 2015
    The "hammered" spray paint finishes look really nice. I did a couple of lamps in my house with it.
  • LindaK LindaK on Aug 29, 2015
    I've sprayed my swing-arm brass floor lamps twice. They are now "Wrought Iron" black and continue to look great.
  • Cheryl Cheryl on Aug 29, 2015
    I used Rustoleum bright gold & put a little bling on shades. Love the burnished gold that spray paint gives. They are holding up perfectly!
  • 9530106 9530106 on Aug 29, 2015
    They look like a good quality brass lamp, such as Stiffel. To me some things are just classic. I too, would try new shades first.
    • Cornelia Schott Cornelia Schott on Aug 30, 2015
      @C_ann_g I looked all over the lamp and did not see a name brand. Thanks for mentioning that, I would have never thought to look. The lamps are heavy.
  • Sandi Reynolds Sandi Reynolds on Aug 29, 2015
    I do not like brass. rustoleum has beautiful colors. where are they going? bedroom, living room? lots of color choices! teal....antique rubbed bronze....
  • Diana skaggs Diana skaggs on Aug 29, 2015
    Lowes. Home Depot
  • Diana skaggs Diana skaggs on Aug 29, 2015
    Lowes and. Home Depot
  • Lainey Howell Lainey Howell on Aug 30, 2015
    If the lamps are brass and not brass plated....don't paint them. You can make them treasures! If you use jewellers' rouge and a Dremel polishing wheel, you can very carefully polish them, then spray with a good coat of polyurethane, or several coats of wax. Solid brass is too precious to paint, and can be a family heirloom with a little judiciously applied elbow grease!
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    • Cornelia Schott Cornelia Schott on Aug 30, 2015
      I used a magnet and tested to see if it is brass or not. Solid brass is not magnetic and the magnet does not stick to the lamps. Hmmm, I will look into jewelers rouge and other ways to make them look nice.
  • Barb Barb on Aug 30, 2015
    How do you know if it is plated or solid?
    • Cornelia Schott Cornelia Schott on Aug 30, 2015
      @Barb I read online that a magnet determines if it is brass or plated. The magnet does not stick to the lamps. I guess they are solid.
  • Pam-ella Pam-ella on Aug 30, 2015
    I had a lamp like this and I bought some pretty napkins from the Party Store and cut them up. Then I used Modge Podge to glue them to the lamp. It came out beautiful!
  • Joanne Costello Joanne Costello on Aug 30, 2015
    Mine was just plated so I spray painted it
  • M ramirez M ramirez on Aug 31, 2015
    You can use krylon looking glass paint. It literally makes the item you paint look like glass!
  • Anne fenske Anne fenske on Aug 31, 2015
    I think the lamp shade is wrong for this type of lamp. They didn't have corrugated shades in this lamps era. Try a straight down or a round angled shade. The corrugated takes away from the ornateness of the lamp. Love the lamp, good luck. U can find brass cleaner, most aren't solid brass as it was very expensive and they glued felt to the bottom to keep it from scratching wood tables.
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    • Fiona Dorse Fiona Dorse on Sep 01, 2015
      @Cornelia Schott One should always choose a lamp shade that mirrors or matches the base shape. Hope this helps! I was taught by one of the top decorators in SA that decorates for European royalty. Also with a 'cone' shape you can never go too far wrong. ;-)
  • Anne fenske Anne fenske on Aug 31, 2015
    Hi Cornelia S. I think they will be beautiful. Pick a color for the lamp shade that will bring it alive to u, or soothing .Make it yours, you'll know when you see it together. If it pops in the room and u like it ;thats what counts. Love it already. Have fun and enjoy. Anne
  • Rachel L Bell Rachel L Bell on Sep 20, 2015
    I sprayed mine with a hammered bronze. One is the light above my table and the other is the ceiling fan minus the blades.