How to Refinish Old Metal Floor Lamp

How to Refinish Old Metal Floor Lamp [Step-by-Step]

For all the DIY queens out there, this is your sign to get started on your next DIY project. If you have an old floor lamp in your house, you can refinish it and give it a new life.

Floor lamps are expensive, and you must do more than throw them away after a few years of wear & tear.

Refinishing it can not only change its look of it, but you can customize it according to your room design. So let’s start and give you some ideas about retouching your old, crusty floor lamp. Let’s get your creative juices running.

Different Ways to Refinish Old Metal Floor Lamps

There are many different ways to retouch your old metal floor lamp. Here are a few of those.

paint a floor lamp for refinishing

1. Paint

Painting the metal floor lamp is the easiest and simplest method to refinish your lamp. Even DIY beginners can do this. Here are a few steps you need to keep in mind.

1. Choosing the Right Paint for the Job

One thing you should keep in mind and remember is that different types of materials have a specific type of paint to work with. For metals, different types of paints that can be used are oil-based, epoxy, enamel, and acrylic paints.  

2. Sanding and Prepping the Surface

After choosing the paint, the next thing is to sand and prep the surface. This will help the paint to grip strongly to the surface. 

3. Applying the Paint and Letting it Dry

After the surface is primed, you can apply the first coat of paint. Let it dry overnight, and once it is completely dry, you can move on and apply the second coat. Make sure the coats are thin and evenly applied on the surface, avoiding the formation of air bubbles. 

4. Adding a Protective Topcoat

Metals are prone to oxidation and rusting, and therefore, applying a top coat is necessary. Make sure you buy the topcoat of the same brand as the paint so that they can adhere together well and give a longer shelf life to the lamp.

powder coating the floor lamp

2. Powder Coating

Powder coating is a relatively newer term and is a professional method. Here is how it works.

Understanding the Powder Coating Process

Powder coating is a type of coating that is applied to surfaces as a free-flowing, dry powder. It is commonly used to provide a durable and decorative finish on various products, including metals, plastics, and wood.

The powder coating process involves electrostatically charging the powder particles and then spraying them onto the surface to be coated. The charged particles attract the grounded surface, creating an even coating. The coated item is then heated in an oven, which melts and fuses the powder particles into a smooth, durable finish.

Advantages of Powder Coating

Powder coating is known for its durability, resistance to corrosion, fading, and chipping, and its ability to provide a wide range of colors and finishes. 

Finding a Powder Coating Professional

Powder coating is a relatively professional method, so it will be better if you get it done by an expert in the field. You can easily find one in your area. You can also ask your local paint store as sometimes they provide such facilities.

Cost Considerations

This process is a bit costly compared to other types, so before you make a purchase, keep this thing in mind. Keep your budget in consideration, and if it allows, go for it.

polishing the floor lamp

3. Polishing

You can also apply metal polish to your old floor lamp. Here are the steps you need to follow.

Removing Old Finishes and Rust

Firstly, remove the old finishes from the lamp. You can simply brush off all the rust or use sandpaper to do it.

Cleaning and Sanding the Surface

Sand the lamp thoroughly unless no residual paint is left. Once the sanding is done, use a cloth and clean your lamp.

Applying a Metal Polish or Buffing Wheel

Now use a cloth or cotton gauze to apply the metal polish that you have chosen already. Apply evenly and avoid making streaks on the metal. At least 2 coats should be done on the lamp pole.

Adding a Protective Topcoat

Once the polish coat is completely dried, you can apply a protective coat to prevent oxidation or rusting in the future. 

refurbishing the metal floor lamp

4. Refurbishing with New Parts

Another way to refinish your old metal floor lamp is to refurbish it. Following are some ways to do it.

Replacing Worn or Damaged Parts

Check the lamp and note down which parts are the most damaged. You can buy the individual components separately and replace the old ones.

Upgrading With New shades or Accents

You can put a new lamp shade with the color of your choice on the lamp. You can also add dangling accents or pearl hangings to give a new look. If the lampshade is made up of glass, you can replace the plain one with frosted glass. This will give an antique look to the lamp. The old plain lampshade can also be painted on for an artistic finish. The possibilities are endless, depending on your creativity and how you refurbish your lamp by changing the floor lamp shades.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Tools and Materials Do I Need to Refinish an Old Metal Floor Lamp?

You need essential tools like pliers, a screwdriver, and the paint of your choice, and if you need to refurbish it from scratch, you need to buy material accordingly.

Can I Paint Over an Old Finish on a Metal Floor Lamp?

It would help if you sanded down the old paint before applying a new coat. Otherwise, it will chip off very quickly. 

Can I Powder Coat an Old Metal Floor Lamp at Home?

You should get this done by taking help from a professional. Powder coating is difficult, and therefore it is not a wise decision to do it on your own. 

How Long Does it Take to Refinish an Old Metal Floor Lamp?

It depends on the type of refinishing you have chosen for your old metal floor lamp. If you are painting it, it might take 2-3 days to apply all the coats. If you are furbishing it, it might be done in a single day if you have all the material.


I have always been a person who loves repurposing old stuff. It not only gives you a project and activity to work with but also saves some money.

Floor lamps are expensive, and you can not just throw away your old ones in the trash. This summer, take up a DIY project with your family and create a whole new lamp from scratch. You will feel proud of yourself once the refinishing is done. Refinishing the floor lamp can make the cheap floor lamp look expensive.

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