True confession: I love to read home improvement blogs, watch HGTV, and day dream about improving our home. We live in work-provided housing, so any major renovations are out. We're also pinching pennies to pay off our student loans ASAP, which means we're not wanting to buy any major pieces right now.
We can, however, do some little fixes that are budget-friendly and have a good impact. My most recent fix was to change a clashing, brassy lamp out for something more fitting for our bedroom. But instead of buying a new lamp, I painted the old one! I was definitely inspired by the blog Young House Love and such posts as this one where they painted chair legs and this one where they spruced up metal stools.
Here's the offending lamp before:
It's fine. It did okay. But we now have a wall closet that is a silvery metal, and we also have oil-rubbed bronze hooks on the wall. Two colors of metal in one room is enough for me. (side note: remind me to take some pics and blog about the wall closet I put up. I love it!) And painting sounded mighty fine. Also, the metal was really worn. See?
I didn't do the decorator blog thing and take a picture of my tools. But they were pretty basic. I bought 320 grit sandpaper (not realizing I had tons already -- anyone need sandpaper for a project?) and a can of Rustoleum all-in-one primer+paint spray paint in oil rubbed bronze. The can I bought had a neat trigger system instead of the little nozzle, so it was really easy to use. I also used some paper towels and some vinegar+water cleaning solution to take off the sanding dust. I did not buy the liquid deglosser I've seen recommended, but it seemed unnecessary after sanding.
With the help of my patient and nice father-in-law, we taped up parts and took off anything we didn't want painted. We also removed the hoop to paint separately.
Then, we sanded. And sanded a bit more. We tried not to be too rough as to make big scratches, but we also wanted to rough up the finish and take off any shine. This gives a nice surface for the new paint to cling to. Notice the dustiness.
Then, I just cleaned the whole thing with vinegar+water, and then I wiped the lamp dry and let it sit for a few minutes for evaporation to do its magic. And my father-in-law played with Lucy through the porch screen.
Then, I painted. I tried to hold the can about a foot away, but I wasn't always successful. I also tried to lay down light, smooth layers. We did about 5 layers of paint overall, so we didn't need complete coverage the first go-around. I wasn't always successful, so there are a few little drips. Getting the top was challenging but just took a little time; apologies for not having any pics of painting the top. I just reminded myself to be slow and steady.
I wasn't there for the last bit of spraying (I had to go lead a bird hike for a friend), but Matt and his dad took care of it. He says they really lightly sanded right before the last coat, and then they laid down just a bit more paint. We then let the lamp sit on the porch for two days to off-gas before we brought it into the bedroom.
Here's the finished product!
We actually did buy a new lampshade, but it ended up looking so small on the lamp, so it has to go back. I'll try to look for a new one, but I have had a hard time finding large enough shades. In any case, we are super happy with how much better this looks. The lamp fades into the bedroom, which is perfect for it. The lamp is in an awkward spot, but it is necessary for night time reading in bed without having to get out to turn off the harsh ceiling lamp. One of these days (read: when we clean the entire thing), I'll take a few pictures of our room. It is not a magazine spread, but it is cozy, comfortable, and useful.
What about all of you out there? Any good, simple home improvements you like to do? I'm now super excited to spray paint something else. I'm eying our brass doorknobs next!