How to Update an Old Sconce

Please tell me I’m not the only one who has something I just walk past every day and choose to ignore.

Confession: there was an 8′ x 4′ hole in our kitchen ceiling for over six months.


But that’s not what I mean. I mean those little things in your house that bug you, but you simply choose to ignore them. For me, it was these brown sconces. They just looked dated and cheap, and they definitely didn’t add anything to my eclectic office vibe. So what’s a girl to do?

Awesome $4 update to outdated light fixtures!

Naturally, I could just buy new ones. But especially now that we’re selling the house, I really didn’t want to pay top dollar for some quality ones. There’s something about the fact that they are eye level that makes it harder to get away with cheap ones. So they definitely needed a makeover. A move into 2015, if you will.

Sconce Update (before)

And for $4 each, I’d say these chic, industrial sconces were definitely a DIY win.

Awesome $4 update to outdated light fixtures!

It all started when I spotted these bubble glass shades at Lowe’s the other day. At $4 each, I thought they were worth a try. I started by removing the old glass and taping off around the wall. Then each sconce got a coat of ASCP Graphite.

Awesome $4 update to outdated light fixtures!

After that comes the magic. I’m sad to say that these pictures don’t really do the finish justice. I was inspired by the old file cabinet I turned into a vintage industrial beauty last year. I figured that since it sits on the opposite wall of this office, it would complement these well.

Awesome $4 update to outdated light fixtures!

My technique on the file cabinet varied slightly (you can read about it here), but the essential effect is the same. The secret to this finish is mixing a little silver craft paint into dark wax (about a dime size of paint per tablespoon of wax). Then rub it on. And voila.

Awesome $4 update to outdated light fixtures!

Gorgeous, rich patina. Fun bubble glass. A little industrial chic facelift.

Awesome $4 update to outdated light fixtures!

And did you spot my new chandelier? Don’t worry, I have full details coming on that soon!

pin it imageAwesome $4 update to outdated light fixtures!


Create your own gorgeous patina to imitate oxidized copper with this tutorial at #paint #tutorial #technique #howto #patina #metal #fauxfinish

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  1. Great transformation Rachel!….I must admit I have a shade similar to that in my powder room and wanted to change it out…I love the shade you purchased at Lowes…so I will be making a trip there soon!….

    1. Thanks! They were chandelier shaped bulbs but they had a regular sized base. I don’t remember where I found them, but I usually buy light bulbs at either the grocery store or Lowes, so it was probably one of those two. Hope this helps!

  2. i love your style. I’m seeing this chalk paint pop up all over the place. I need to learn more about this stuff.

  3. I went to lowes and sadly saw nothing that resembled these or anything for $4 !#
    Any tips on where in the store to look?

    1. What a bummer! So sorry to hear it. I found them in the lighting section around eye level (below full fixtures that were on display). I hope this helps!

  4. This is just what I was looking for to inspire me to update my powder room fixtures. I want to do a complete makeover, but don’t want to spend much money! These are adorable! Thanks Rachel.

  5. Thank you for sharing this idea. I’m in the process of renovating our bathroom.
    Where did you find the new glass??

    1. I think it was at Lowes, but it’s been a few years. I hope you are able to find some! 🙂

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