In With the Old: Turning Columns into Floor Lamps
What a Steal!
Eddie loves to transform castoffs into masterpieces. He spotted these 5-foot tall fluted columns, reminiscent of grand, old homes with wide, open porches. He loved the beaded detailing around the tops, but multiple lives had resulted in layers of cracked and peeling paint, so they were in dire need of an update. With fresh coats of paint and easy upgrades, they became beautiful floor lamps. Look for columns such as these at flea markets or salvage yards for around $100 and up.
- Eddie's flea market shopping tips.
- 2 hollow columns
- 2 lampshades
- handheld electric sander or sponge sanding block
- primer (shellac-based stain blocker)
- white paint
- cordless drill or screwdriver
- 2 electrical lamp kits
- 2 fence post caps
- 8 leg mounting kits
- 8 - 2.5” round bun furniture feet
- 16 -1” finishing nails
Step 1: Add Height
Using a cordless drill or screwdriver, attach one mounting plate to each of the four bottom corners of the columns. Secure the feet into the plates with the nails included in the leg mounting kit.
Step 2: Prep and Paint
Sand and prime your columns before painting to ensure a smooth and lasting finish. Begin by using a handheld electric sander or sponge sanding box to remove any loose paint. Then, use a damp cloth to remove any remaining dust or dirt. Apply one coat of primer to the columns, fence post caps, and feet. Allow them to dry. Next, apply two coats of paint, allowing each coat to dry between applications.
Step 3: Wire for Electricity
Drill three separate holes, all in alignment, to thread the wiring throughout the body of the hollow column: 1-starting at the center of the fence post cap, drill a hole. 2-move to the center of the column top and repeat another hole. 3-turn the column over and drill the last hole directly through the center of the column base. With the three holes completed, follow the directions included in the lamp kit.
Tip: Depending on the height of your column, you may need a longer length of cord than the one provided in the kit. To see how much cord you may need, measure the height of the column. Add the distance between the lamp and plug. Then give yourself two extra feet. For a pair of lamps, double the overall length. If you do need to purchase more cord, be sure to pick up two quick-connecting flat-cord plugs as well.
Step 4: Cap It Off
Once the columns are wired, attach the fence post cap to the top and secure with finishing nails. Complete the lamp by attaching a socket, harp (included in your lamp kit) and shade.
Step 5: Porch Perfect Shade
Since Eddie’s lamps are for the porch, he had a friend create custom, porch-appropriate shades using outdoor fabric, water-resistant adhesive, and vellum plastic frames. If your lamps are well protected from the elements, store bought shades will work just as well.
Tip: Eddie had his friend Susan Scheinder of Shandells railroad the fabric (apply it horizontally) to echo the column’s fluting.
- Rug: St. John striped Indoor/Outdoor rug by Dash and AlbertWoven furniture: Outdoor King Collection, all-weather wicker through Hayneedle
- Column paint: Cincinnatian Hotel Hannaford (3007-10C) by Valspar through Lowes
- Lampshade fabric: Alan Campbell’s Zig Zag in Jungle Green (AC302-32SUN) by Quadrille
- Custom shades: fabricated by Shandell’s
- Napkin pillow fabric (Napkins made into pillows): Las Palmas Napkins in Aqua/Green through World Market
- Tray tables: for a similar look try, Tray top accent table from Target
- Tray table paint: Jalapeno jelly (6005-6A) by Valspar through Lowes
- Lantern: 14-inch Hex Iron Lantern (painted white) from Jamali Garden
- Candles: Classic pillar from Creative Candles