DIY Brass Light Makeover {Bye Bye 1980s}

Right now in the interior design world, there is good brass and there is bad brass.

Good brass is slightly darker and has a less reflective finish, like this very cool chandelier I saw on Pinterest. It's back "in" and is being applauded for the warmth it brings into a room.

via Traditional Home

And then there is the bad brass. I'm sure you remember, the 80s and early 90s were full of it. It's super shiny and lightweight and really more gold than brass.

via Ugly House Photos
I don't think I've ever been to a thrift store that didn't have several of these 1980s brass lights. It seems like every home builder used them during that era, and now homeowners are so graciously donating them to their local thrift store.

I've been looking for a brass light makeover candidate for a long time, but I was hoping to find something a little bit less "builder basic" than the average thrift store brass light. I was so excited to spot this HUGE brass light right next to the tube TVs. After a little negotiation, we settled on $15 for the brass beauty. Score! (I bought the smaller light too for $5. I have plans for that little guy, too!)

Here are some photos to help you see the scale. I'm 5'9, if that helps. I'd say it's about 36" tall, but I never got out the tape measure to find out.

I loved how big the light was, plus the fact that it was a classic lantern style with some nice curves up top. I figured she would clean up nicely!

This project is easy enough for anyone to do, but I will admit that it's a bit tedious. The first step is to take apart the light to make the next step – spray painting– easier.

Then begins the tedious part, taping off the glass panels.  Painters tape is your best friend when you do this type of project, and you have to be extra careful to get every spot. covered.

To get that classic style we were going for, we decided to paint her with oil-rubbed bronze spray paint. Why didn't we go with a trendy color? Because it was so tedious to tape off the glass that we are hoping choosing a classic color means we only have to paint it once!

We also spray painted the candlesticks a solid white color to help them look less dated. I couldn't wait to put her back together!

You can see in this picture that we missed a spot on the inside of the top edge. We ended up having to touch that up later, oops!

Isn't it amazing how much more current this light is? Hard to believe it's the same lantern chandelier with a touch of spray paint!

It was about this point that we realized we should have tested the light before we went through all that tedious work! Then came the moment of truth as I muttered many tiny prayers... We have light!

The only bad part about doing these before and after projects for a house we don't live in yet is that we can't do the best photo, which is the one with the light actually hanging up in the house! My tentative plan is to use this as the light in the entry way, replacing a smaller chandelier they have there right now. I feel like it's going to have a great impact because it's so large, so I can't wait to see how it looks! Of course I will post another picture here when I'm done, showing you the actual space. This is how the entryway looked when we toured the house:

Do you think it will be too big? I think it will be just big enough to make a statement, but I guess we'll find out once we actually get to hang it! I was inspired by this photo I found on Pinterest:

For comparison's sake, I searched for similar indoor lantern chandeliers online (36" or bigger). I found this one for $2,100 (ouch!) and another at Restoration Hardware on sale for $725. I'd say $15 is looking pretty good right about now! Hooray for spray paint!


I did some major thrifting this weekend, and I can't wait to show you what I bought for our new home! I'll be back with that post later this week. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram (@jgrantham106), you've already seen pictures of our new treasures! I love to post pictures as I shop: "It's live shopping. I need second opinions," I explained to the husband today as I tapped away on my smartphone. Make sure to hop on over to Instagram to give your advice on how I should reupholster our new funky mid century chair (which is, by the way, the most comfortable chair ever). I'm stumped on that one so I need some good advice!

So far we've only dipped our toes into the packing process, but we plan to dive in head first this week. We're two weeks away from moving! It's starting to look a lot less like home around here, which is already bittersweet. I'm happy to report that we have an agreement with our first tenants, so we're excited about that. We were able to find a nice family through our friends, so we didn't have to advertise the rental or anything like that. It saved us a lot of stress and hassle, so we're feeling very blessed. God always takes care of us when we need Him, doesn't He? He never fails to amaze.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend! I'll be back soon with a thrifting megapost! :)

* Another Monday already? Say it isn't so! *

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