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Nancy McLeod Jones

Nancy McLeod Jones

Trash to Treasure

The cliche saying “another man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is a cliche because it happens all the time. My recent DIY makeover in my own home was a lamp from a yard sale.


I purchased this lamp for $5 at a yard sale. We stumbled upon the sale while cruising around town, which is a fun pastime for us. All the typical yard sale items were there: baby clothes with stains, plastic storage containers with no lids, scratched-up furniture, etc. And, this tall, funky, brown lamp with a shade much too small. It caught my eye because of its height. I needed a large light source for my reading nook in our sitting room, and this lamp was the perfect piece. 


Oh my word, it was not pretty. It was dark brown, so the textures and details went missing in the shadows. The shade was about half the size it needed to be for correct proportions. This lamp was someone else’s trash, but it was going to be my treasure.

Prepped and ready for spray paint

First, spray paint. Spray paint can be a great tool or a frustrating one. To coat this lamp in its new color, I sprayed four light coats. That’s the key…lightly spray a coat, wait 30-40 minutes, then do another. Patience is a virtue. I let the spray-painted piece dry for a day or two before handling it. 

I needed a lampshade that fit the height and width of this large lamp. A lampshade should be twice the width of the lamp base. For height, the shade should be one-third of the total height of the whole lamp. I couldn’t find anything in town. If I found the right width, it was too tall. If I found the right height, it was too narrow. I searched online, and IKEA had a shade that was the right everything, yay!

Here’s the link to the shade I bought from IKEA.

After getting the shade and painting the lamp, I was ready to see this beauty in the space. I placed the lamp on the table, got it plugged in and bulb. It turned on and worked. Then, I go to put the shade on and it doesn’t fit.

Terrible lighting, but you can see how that’s not gonna work.

NO!!! I had never tried to put an IKEA shade on anything, but apparently, they only fit IKEA lamps. Google to the rescue and I found a work around. Two large washers and super glue does the trick. I used small clamps to keep the washers in place. After the glue set, I was ready to assemble my lamp. 

Super glue, larger washers, and tiny clamps did the trick!
It sits on the harp perfectly! Hurray!

Finally! It’s all together, and it’s so beautiful! It is just what the space needed and just my style.

Isn’t she lovely! I love the rusty orange color. It’s the perfect lamp!

What trash to treasure project are you working on?

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