How To: Transform a Dated Brass Light Fixture With Paint

It’s finally time to get back to some projects here on the ole blog, y'all! I’ve missed spending time creating, and I’ve missed sharing my DIY adventures with you over the past several weeks while we’ve been in moving/transitioning/settling mode. Thanks for bearing with me and the crazy.

Since we’re at my parents’ river house for the next couple of months, I’ll be taking on a few projects around here. I finished a simple one this weekend that I’m pretty pumped to show you since it made a huge difference in the look of our bedroom - at least in my humble opinion! Our bedroom here had a dated brass light fixture for overhead lighting. 

My parents inherited it with the house when they bought it a few years ago and haven’t had a reason to change it because, hey, it worked! If ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? ;) It actually had a great shape, nice lines, and was proportional to the size of the room, so rather than spend money replacing it, I thought I could give it a little update with some paint. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: never underestimate the power of paint!

Here’s a closeup the light fixture in it’s original dated brass glory:

The details are really pretty, and I like how it "goes" with other pieces in the room.

But brass? Eek. No thanks. It was time for a change!

Spray painting isn’t rocket science by any means, but I thought I’d share my process since this is my first time taking down a hard-wired light fixture, painting it, and putting it back up. It was an easy project to do in an afternoon.

Supplies needed:
  • Light fixture
  • Oil-rubbed bronze spray paint (I used Rustoleum American Accents and it worked like a charm)
  • Sandpaper
  • Newspaper
  • Wire coat hanger (optional)

I started this project by turning off the electricity to the room where I was working so I could take down the fixture without electrocuting myself :). Safety first my friends! Then I got to work taking down the light. Obviously this step is going to look a little different for everyone because all lights are different, but all I had to do for mine was unscrew a couple of small bolts that attached it to the ceiling and then disconnect the fixture’s wires from the wires that connected it to the house. 

Since this fixture had a large glass bowl and a few different parts to it, I took it all apart to make painting easier. 

For the parts that I couldn't remove, but didn't want to paint (the electrical wires and the "candles" where the light bulbs screw in), I covered with newspaper and painter's tape. It's an easy way to protect them from the inevitable overspray.

I roughed up the brass a little bit with some fine sandpaper to help the paint adhere, but honestly, I didn’t try super hard to make sure I sanded every inch or get into all the nooks and crannies. Since the spray paint I used was made for metal and light fixtures aren’t in high traffic areas that would make it susceptible to paint chipping, durability wasn’t as much of a concern as it would have been for a piece of furniture, for example. 

Then I laid out the smaller pieces outside on a piece of newspaper and hung the two large pieces on a coat hanger on a tree branch to make them easy to spray paint. The coat hanger trick is a life saver when it comes to painting something like this! Getting thin and even coats is much easier when you can move around the piece rather than moving the piece itself - especially when there are lots of nooks and crannies to paint.

After two coats of paint and a couple of hours of drying time, I reassembled the fixture, hooked the wiring back up, reattached it to the ceiling, and ended up with a beautiful “new” light fixture! I love the darker color. It looks so elegant and I think it adds a really nice focal point in this light and airy bedroom. Goodbye dated brass!

Lovely, isn’t it?

For $4 worth of spray paint and a few hours of my time, I got the chance to add something beautiful to this house that I already love so much. Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference in a home!

What simple projects have y’all done that have made a big impact on your home? 

And just for good measure, here's a side-by-side before and after shot!


Pin It!


  1. What a great transformation! Love the upgrade!

  2. FABULOUS transformation, Chaney! It's hard to believe that is the same light fixture. Pinning and sharing!

    - Tasha @ Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {www.designertrapped.com}

  3. You did such a great job, absolutely beautiful! Makes me want to pain all of our door knobs with the ORB. But, I don't think I could face sanding them! But it IS tempting...

  4. How did you do this seriously amazing work and creativity that you in DIY projects i am always trying to do something like this but didn't get success now again i am trying to do this and see what happened after completing my assignment writing uk then i must try this to create as you created.

  5. The design are great I wold like to buy it for my drawing room but I am very busy in my thesis projects due to which I can't manage my work so that why I decided that I will take help from thesis writing service in Pakistan because my friend said that they give best thesis service and he has experienced their service so I will try it so then I can change my house design.

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