An old metal lamp purchased at a secondhand store or rescued from a forgotten corner of your attic can be given new life with a quick coat of paint. Specialty paints for metal surfaces are available at home improvement stores--although their effectiveness will depend on how well you clean the surface of the lamp. Dirt and greasy residue that may have built up on the lamp will prevent the paint from properly bonding to the metal.
Things You'll Need
Clean the lamp with white vinegar diluted in an equal amount of water. This will remove any dirt or greasy residue from the lamp so that paint will adhere properly.
Apply a metal primer to the lamp with a paint brush. Metal primer is also available in spray cans for easier application.
Sand the lamp with a 400-grit sandpaper to create a smooth finish.
Paint the lamp with a metal-safe paint in the color of your choice. Allow the first coat to dry completely, and then add a second coat.
Apply a clear coat to the dry painted metal lamp. Clear coats are available in high gloss, semi gloss, satin and flat varieties, so choose the level of sheen appropriate for your home decor.