Shopping Trip: Lighting from Goodwill

city sage lamp from goodwill.jpg

A good lamp is hard to find. And a good lamp under $50 is a rare creature indeed! I've had good luck with my local Goodwill before, so I popped in recently to see what the thrift gods had up their sleeves. I scored two 1960’s era lamps that—with a little love and imagination— transformed into the sexy retro number in the photo above. Total cost for one lamp? $36!

city sage lamps before.jpg

When hunting for thrift lamps, look for one with a great shape; don’t worry about the finish as paint will cover any surface flaws. I chose flat white spray paint to mimic the look of white ceramic, and I buffed with extra fine sandpaper between coats. I was lucky to find lamps with shades that were easy to recover using fabric and spray adhesive. If your shade can’t be salvaged, you can buy a new one or make your own for a reasonable price.

city sage lamp instructions.jpg

Here's a play by play on the re-do. Please feel free to let me know in the comments section if you'd like more detailed instructions. Oh, and one last tip when shopping for lighting at thrift stores: bring a lightbulb with you. Plug in the lamp. Make sure it works. Mine does not.

Resources: Lamp, table and chair, all Goodwill. Clock, Kate Spade. Bird Painting, oil on canvas by Mincing Mockingbird. Ceramic Bird Bowl, Jonathan Adler.

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44 Responses to “Shopping Trip: Lighting from Goodwill”

  1. Liz@VioletPosy Says:

    Your goodwill shops are waaay better than the ones here!! Happy New Year to you and thanks for the lovely comment on my blog x
    Have a wonderful night tomorrow!!
    Liz

  2. milly {elephants & redwoods} Says:

    cool lamps!!! good stuff.

  3. milly {elephants & redwoods} Says:

    cool lamps!!! good stuff.

  4. milly {elephants & redwoods} Says:

    cool lamps!!! good stuff.

  5. milly {elephants & redwoods} Says:

    cool lamps!!! good stuff.

  6. Luphia Says:

    what a bargain, and great transformation, it looks so gorgeous! classic shape but modern and so fresh at the same time!

  7. stephanie Says:

    I love your last tip! That sort of thing happens to me all the time!
    It looks gorgeous, though!

  8. nkp Says:

    Well done Miss Anne! Sorry about the dud electricals on your lamp. I once bought a lamp on ebay from overseas, they promised it was compatible with U.S. outlets, it wasn’t! But it was an easy fix at my local lighting store…don’t give up yet!

  9. Paloma of La Dolce Vita Says:

    It looks fabulous! Great job!

  10. Paloma of La Dolce Vita Says:

    It looks fabulous! Great job!

  11. Jen Says:

    You have got to be kidding me…I just finished my lamp the other day. I too painted it white and finally found a lampshade for $6 at Ikea. We are seriously one and the same.

  12. Kristy Says:

    I love your little nook! The table, the chair, the pillow, and now the lamp – absolutely perfect. I’m trying to find a chair like that one, actually; though I don’t know where I’ll put it when (if, really) I find it.

  13. Jackie Says:

    Oooh, great find! I recently inherited two matching lamps from my Grandma with the same shades as yours, and was thinking of re-covering them and spraying the bases white! Ha! Great minds think alike 😉
    PS-I absolutely love Mincing Bird on etsy. Awhile ago, I sent my brother one that said “Life is all hand-rolled cigarettes and young gigolos”. Good times.

  14. Rachel Says:

    I’m so impressed that you were able to see the potential in those lamps and pull off such a lovely end product! This is a great tutorial – thanks for sharing!

  15. Caroline @ Patagonia Gifts Says:

    Really impressive work, darling! I love how it looks now!
    xoxo

  16. Caroline @ Patagonia Gifts Says:

    Really impressive work, darling! I love how it looks now!
    xoxo

  17. Georgia Says:

    no way! those are awesome! my sister is the queen of finding second-hand lamps and giving them a new life. at one point, she had about 50 or 60 in her basement that she was going to refurbish and sell.
    remember this lamp?
    http://jorjah-b.blogspot.com/search?q=lamp
    $5.
    it’s vintage.
    they had some almost exactly like it at Pier 1 for $75.
    i scored!
    is that first picture your house? if so, i am uber-jealous! it’s gorgeous and so vintage chic! i like your style!

  18. Georgia Says:

    no way! those are awesome! my sister is the queen of finding second-hand lamps and giving them a new life. at one point, she had about 50 or 60 in her basement that she was going to refurbish and sell.
    remember this lamp?
    http://jorjah-b.blogspot.com/search?q=lamp
    $5.
    it’s vintage.
    they had some almost exactly like it at Pier 1 for $75.
    i scored!
    is that first picture your house? if so, i am uber-jealous! it’s gorgeous and so vintage chic! i like your style!

  19. blair Says:

    Anne-I am so incredibly impressed! What a wonderful idea. I agree with Georgia-the little peeks we have been getting of your home are incredible!

  20. please sir Says:

    Looks great – way to go on your score and re-do!!

  21. Michelle Says:

    So crafty, what a clever idea! I’ll have to check out my local Goodwill

  22. dolce chic Says:

    So beautiful my friend! I really think you should become an interior designer, you’d give them all a run for their money! The lamp is b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l!

  23. robin pulsifer Says:

    great post! i always see the pretty in things needing a face lift. i tend to lean more towards furniture, like old antique bureaus or mirrors. love stripping them down, changing out hardware etc. relaxing for me and rewarding. happy happy creative new year to you!

  24. robin pulsifer Says:

    great post! i always see the pretty in things needing a face lift. i tend to lean more towards furniture, like old antique bureaus or mirrors. love stripping them down, changing out hardware etc. relaxing for me and rewarding. happy happy creative new year to you!

  25. jess@thehomebound Says:

    Hell yeah! I love this lamp and what you did. I equally love this vignette!

  26. Heidi Jo Says:

    How fabulous! I love thrifting! Isn’t it so much more rewarding to find something at a thrift store or rework a thrift store find than buy something brand new and as is? I think so. : )

  27. Lynne Says:

    I hope your lamp can get fixed. I bought two gorgeous milk glass lamps in the US – but they can’t be rewired to UK standards – I think the US has thinner wires so there’s no way to make it work. I am so sad – they are so pretty.

  28. The Deco Detective Says:

    I agree with Georgia, the first photo is gorgeous! The lamp turned out great, sorry to hear that it doesn’t work. Can you rewire it? In Norway, we’re allowed to do electrical work like lamp rewiring ourselves – even I have done it! Hope it’s possible to do with this baby as well!

  29. dwellings and decor Says:

    Score! I love what you did with them. Great Job!

  30. dwellings and decor Says:

    Score! I love what you did with them. Great Job!

  31. Megan Says:

    Wow, what a great find-and beautiful finished product! I haven’t been to Goodwill in a while but after seeing your find I’m thinking I should head back soon 🙂 I thought the lamps looked great before but the retro all-white is definitely the perfect addition to that room. Great job!

  32. Megan Says:

    Wow, what a great find-and beautiful finished product! I haven’t been to Goodwill in a while but after seeing your find I’m thinking I should head back soon 🙂 I thought the lamps looked great before but the retro all-white is definitely the perfect addition to that room. Great job!

  33. runway girl Says:

    wonderful post my dear!

  34. callie grayson Says:

    You lucky girl! so loving what you did to that lamp!
    Thanks for the demo, i just placed you in my card file for when I am lucky and find a fantastic lamp to redo!!!

  35. Cassie Says:

    That’s a very chic little corner. I especially like the chair.

  36. dolce chic Says:

    I sent out your picture today, and a couple little goodies that I will be adding to my shop soon.
    Oh and I think that the colors would go really well with your teddy bear sunflower pic. I just relisted the dock print in my shop! 🙂
    Hope you’re having a good time with the fam!

  37. Jenny Says:

    Super stylish! Painting it white really makes it more modern, thanks for the inspiraton 🙂

  38. Mike Says:

    What kind of spray did you use? I mean, do I just go to a hardware store and buy “flat white spray”? Or is there a specific kind?
    Is this one only for wood?
    And how much of the original paint job did you have to sand off before applying?

  39. lovelymorning Says:

    oooh you turned it into a jonathan adler-ish lamp! i love.

  40. vee Says:

    what an amazing find!!

  41. no.35style Says:

    Fabulous transformation!!

  42. Courtney Says:

    Oh, I love a good makeover to a thrift store find. Your lamp looks fab, although I am sorry to hear it doesn’t work 🙂 Hey, lamps as art? I will fully embrace that.

  43. Betsy Says:

    Those lamps are awesome! Such a find. Sorry it didn’t work though–Re-wiring is pretty easy to do, isn’t it?

  44. knack studios Says:

    saw these on apartment therapy!! Fantastic job!! Love them!

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