Recently I was walking down the street in my neighborhood on my way to get brunch, and I came across this little lamp in a sidewalk free pile. As you can see from the “before” picture on the left, it wasn’t in great shape. But I liked the mix of marble, wood, and brass, so I grabbed it and carted it home. I figured it probably didn’t work (otherwise why would someone throw it out?), but when I added a light bulb and plugged it in, it lit right up.
You can’t tell in this photo, but the brass pipe parts were actually pretty rusty, so I thought I’d just polish them up and sand off the rust. When I attempted to do that, though, the metal partially changed to silver. It turns out the pieces were only brass-plated, and the plating had been unevenly eaten away by corrosion. I found replacements for the brass online, and figured I could replace the cord with a pretty colored cloth one, and switch out the socket and plug, too, but I soon realized that for the cost of the parts plus shipping, I might as well just buy a new lamp. So instead, I cleaned up the metal and then painted it with brass liquid guilding (I used this kind). I added a new lampshade (this one from Target), and now I’ve got a new lamp!
Pretty good for a free lamp, right? I’m really happy with it, though I still want to upgrade the cord. Have you ever converted trash to treasure? I know I’m not the only one who scouts free piles for makeover candidates.
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