Let there be light! DIY exterior lamp refinishing

So my wife and I got our house painted, and we wanted to update the external fixtures. From the day we moved into the house, we’ve been leaning towards black or oil-rubbed bronze–the squarish brushed nickel front door hardware was immediately thrown out in favor of an an awesome new fixture from Kwikset. When the painting was done, we got some decorative door hardware that had a black, wrought-iron look to it. So the time came to update our light fixtures.

With a baby on the way, we’re trying not to spend a ton of money on the fixtures–my wife saw some new fixtures at Home Depot she liked, but at 65 bucks a pop, it wasn’t something we were prepared to spend money on. We’d initially decided that we were going to just spray paint the tacky brushed nickel ones we had until we could afford to replace them at a later date.

And then we went to the ReStore in Newberg.

For those of you who aren’t aware of these home improvement wonderlands, ReStores are run by Habitat for Humanity, and they’re basically like Goodwill for building supplies, furniture, and appliances. I live about a mile from the Newberg ReStore, and while it’s not as big as some of the other Portland metro area locations (I’m looking at you, Beaverton), I’ve scored quite a few fantastic deals in our town. And it supports a great cause, so check them out!
On this particular trip, we went to see what they had in their lighting section. Usually they’re well stocked with interior fixtures, but not much in the way of exterior ones. We were surprised to find they had a matched set of exterior lamps on this trip, and they looked perfect except for one thing:

They were white. Not exactly the color we had in mind, but definitely the sort of style we wanted. And they were $10.50 apiece–the whole set cost us less than a single brand new fixture! We snagged them–one of the volunteers said “well those didn’t last long.” Apparently they’d just been put out that day.

We took them home and cleaned them up–and I mean CLEANED. We found a couple of spider nests in them. We took the entire cage apart and washed the individual glass panes and all the metal pieces by hand. Eventually, the garage floor was chaos.

I then arranged everything for spray painting on a drop cloth. I used two whole cans of Rust-Oleum Hammered black spray paintto transform the white fixtures to something that looked like wrought iron.

Next came reassembly. I’ll tell you now, this particular fixture style is a pain to put back together. Maybe I just didn’t know what I was doing, but because of how the glass fits in their frame, you can’t tighten everything down until you’ve attached the top and bottom, meaning you’ll need a second set of hands to make sure the whole thing doesn’t come apart while you tighten. Thankfully, my wife (my extremely pregnant wife, bless her) was willing to hold everything together while I tightened everything into place.

With the fixtures assembled, I finally got to put them up on the house. I pulled the old fixtures and found that I needed new brackets–thanks to a contractor friend, I found I needed swivel brackets for this style of fixture. A quick run to Home Depot got us ready to go, and I installed without a hitch.

The new fixtures, paired with the door hardware, gives the front of the house more of a carriage house feel. The house was built in 2005, but I feel like the style of fixture adds a vintage, historical feel to an otherwise modern home. And the total cost came in less than a single new fixture would have! 😊

Also–to emphasize the older feel, I went with some LED light bulbs that look vintagee as well. They’re not nearly as bright as a standard bulb, coming in at only 400 lumens, but the light is a beautiful warm yellow that looks amazing at night.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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