above

When you can’t find the table lamp you want, you improvise

After all the back and forth and option-weighing, I decided the desk in the studio will stay as originally planned. We’ll adjust the chairs to raise them up a bit and call it good.

I actually feel very happy with the decision and can continue on with putting the studio together …

Next up is adding in more ambient light in the form of table lamps. The light of table lamps is nice to work by and will also anchor either side of the desk.

In my initial design board, I planned on using these white textured lamps from Target. I liked the simple shape, but when I went to order, there was only one available (what?!).

As a second option, I came across this handsome ceramic lamp from West Elm, which I also really liked. I just couldn’t justify spending $300 on lamps for my office.

While out shopping the other day, I saw a pair of these column table lamps on clearance in the kid section and snatched up both of them for $45.

The shape is great, I love the wood base, the color was definitely not right for my studio, but I had an idea of how to fix that.

Enter the good ole days of DIY-Emily.

(Side note: I have not done a DIY project in almost a year. Crazy for a crafty girl who loves a DIY project! I’m glad to be back, friends. Glad to be back).

By altering these lamps, I hoped to create a hybrid of the two inspiration lamps – combining the shape of the first with the chalky gray color of the second. And because I didn’t spend much, I figured it was worth the DIY risk.

After taping off the base and neck, I painted on two coats of basic black chalk paint.

As chalk paint does, it dried a nice matte gray-black.

I could have left the paint as is, but went with the next step of ‘seasoning’ the chalk surface.

Typically, you season a freshly painted chalkboard to cure the surface and allow for full erasing once you start writing on it. These lamps won’t function as writable chalk surfaces, but I still wanted that pretty mottled look that seasoning creates.

After rubbing chalk all over the lamp, I wiped it in with a dry cloth and blew off the remaining dust.

The finished color is just the chalky black I was hoping for.

The lamps are now flanking the desk and look so nice!

Even though I initially wanted a pair of white lamps, these lamps remind me that bringing a touch of black into a room is always a good idea.

This was about as simple of a DIY as could be and I’m happy to be back in the crafty game.

Have you created anything lately that you’re particularly proud of? I’d love to hear!

32 Responses to When you can’t find the table lamp you want, you improvise

  1. Robyn March 6, 2017 at 11:22 am #

    Hi Emily
    I LOVE your office, everything is perfect.
    Did you already share how the tops work? I looked at the dresser which was 3.5 feet wide
    and the top which are 8 (I think so I am not sure how you got the tops across the dressers
    with room to spare.

    I want to put 2 dressers with the top to make my desk but having a hard time figuring out how to go about that!!

    Thanks!

  2. Estelle February 7, 2017 at 5:03 pm #

    I was skeptical of how these would turn out when I saw that you used black chalk paint, and then when you seasoned them I was sure I wouldn’t like the final outcome, but the end result is PERFECT! Great Job!

  3. Laurie February 7, 2017 at 11:22 am #

    Like it MUCH better than the West Elm ones (too mid-century-ish). Great job!

  4. Danielle Hart February 7, 2017 at 7:08 am #

    customized ambient/task lighting at an affordable price: what’s not to love?

  5. Marie-Maguelone February 7, 2017 at 12:59 am #

    Congratulations also for the DIY, it’s great! I love the idea and the ease of realization. Just get started!
    I also love the result, I have trouble with black and I will have to get there !! I created a new album on Pinterest and I think putting touches of black at home will be done because I am ready !! Thank you !!
    Carole as Marie-Maguelone
    http://mariemaguelonecreations.com

  6. Marie-Maguelone February 7, 2017 at 12:56 am #

    Congratulations for having kept the initial plan of the office, I liked and I still love! Maybe with cushions, the seats will be good for you!
    The DIY is excellent and I like this ease of transforming things! I do not start fast enough because I have a husband who brakes me a little, not in my creativity but in action, in the fact of getting there and doing! When I want to tinker I like to do it with him and he has to be available and he wants to do what I want or what I need! I’m talking about putting a shelf for example that requires the drill …! But the other day, I recovered the office of our son to develop my creative workshop. And it was missing a piece of red veneer. I tried with felts to give color but it did not work and my husband said “you should paint” but I think he said it like that! He did not think I would do it! Well if I caught the tubes of paint, the one I use in creative painting! And I painted in 5 minutes the piece of “wood”! Your reactivity has transformed your new home gave me wings! I’ve always been creating but I sometimes take too long to do things. Either because I always tinkered with my dad then with my husband and we do lots of things together and I love it. But sometimes it takes too long and for some time I want it to go faster !!
    Thank you Emily
    Carole as Marie-Maguelone http://mariemaguelonecreations.com

  7. Sherry February 6, 2017 at 10:51 pm #

    Awesome job. Way to kick that creativity gene into gear.

  8. Ginny February 6, 2017 at 7:15 pm #

    Nice lamps!
    I love that you kept your original idea
    it looks sleek and stylish.
    You could also add some type of pillow
    to sit on to lift you up on the chairs.

  9. Fiona February 6, 2017 at 5:04 pm #

    You are SO clever! Love them!!

  10. Anita February 6, 2017 at 4:39 pm #

    Would you share information about your desk, or have you already? I’m hoping to get a desk for a new ” craft” space I want to create. I think mine would be more of a hobby table. Do you or any of your readers know about one to recommend? I will be standing more than sitting as I work on projects. An adjustable one would be so nice to have. Any recommendations? I thank you in advance, and your studio is developing beautifully. So glad you share the details with us!

  11. JaneEllen February 6, 2017 at 4:35 pm #

    I bought a lamp with mostly brass at Goodwill, $3.50) couple years ago. Hubs sanded it some then spray painted it white,. I wanted it to be glossy so in few months he sprayed it again with better high gloss paint, turned out great and I sure got my money’s worth.
    Love shape of your lamp, looks pretty snazzy with grayish black. I thought the red would be pretty in your room for a contrast.
    Envy you the room you have and your desks, will be wonderful place to get work done or just surfing net. Will your kids do homework there? Sounds like I must have missed couple, at least, posts.
    Was going to ask you about your fern but perusing comments noticed somebody else asked. Love it in basket.
    I have few plants which were facing west. They did ok but not as well as they are now on bathroom stand facing South, so happy with them. Will look up to see how to care for maidenhair fern. Yours is so gorgeous and healthy looking.
    Enjoy your week

  12. Emily February 6, 2017 at 3:47 pm #

    They look wonderful and I’ve always wondered if you could really paint a ceramic lamp. Now I know and will be doing so soon! Thank you from another Emily. :)

  13. Kim R February 6, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

    I love the look of a dark matte finish lamp! You are inspired!

  14. Jill February 6, 2017 at 2:29 pm #

    I like crafty, DIY Emily! These are so cute – what a great idea!

  15. Rebecca B February 6, 2017 at 2:13 pm #

    Agreed! I like a bit of black in every room too…especially in a room with a lot of white. I never thought the right end not going to the wall was an issue…then it would be lopsided relative to the center window. I’ve learned that these things we believe are huge eye sores quickly go away once the space is furnished and decorated. You could possibly even tuck a rolling cart in there! It looks beautiful! Glad you were able to move on! 👍🏻

  16. Cory Dugan February 6, 2017 at 2:13 pm #

    I might have missed it in an earlier post, but are you willing to share your source for the desk chairs? Love them!!

    • emily February 6, 2017 at 4:20 pm #

      Of course! They are from West Elm. Called the Helvetica chair.

  17. Terri February 6, 2017 at 2:10 pm #

    Maybe under the desk you can install some type of slim profile pullout/adjustable shelf (like the little keyboard supports of old) where you can rest your laptop or sketchpad at a more comfortable height when working. It could be slid away out of sight when not in use. I believe you won’t be happy or comfortable if your chair isn’t at a proper/comfortable/”healthy” height relative to the desk when it comes to actually putting in productive work time.

  18. Lora February 6, 2017 at 2:10 pm #

    -Great idea! I never knew about seasoning chalk paint.. Thanks for the how-to!

  19. Colleen February 6, 2017 at 2:10 pm #

    May I ask what you will do to adjust the height of the chairs? I thought you said in a previous post that even extended to their full height they weren’t high enough. I’m trying to imagine how you will fix that. Surely it won’t involve sitting on telephone books, right?😉

    • emily February 6, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

      We are going to unscrew the bottom piece, add a 3″ block and screw the bottom back on. It should not be noticeable and will raise the height to more than high enough.

      • Colleen February 6, 2017 at 6:21 pm #

        What a great solution!

  20. Barb Perry February 6, 2017 at 2:06 pm #

    YAY!!! Love that you bit the bullet, so to speak, and stayed with your original studio plan… and the DIY lamps are perfect! Love them!

  21. Lynn February 6, 2017 at 1:45 pm #

    Love the lamps. And I, too, love a bit of black in a room. So glad you are keeping the desk as is.

  22. Abbie February 6, 2017 at 1:44 pm #

    So, how did you adjust the chairs?!

    • emily February 6, 2017 at 4:22 pm #

      We have not fixed the height of the chairs yet … but hopefully soon :) We will add a small block of wood to the base of the seat and screw the bottom portion back in. This should raise up the chair just fine.

  23. Casey February 6, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

    What type of fern is that? It’s so dainty!

    • emily February 6, 2017 at 1:17 pm #

      It is my favorite! Called a Maidenhair Fern.

  24. Tina February 6, 2017 at 7:33 am #

    Love how those lamps turned out! Why yes, I have created something with chalk paint recently that I am proud of and also chalk paint is ADDICTIVE!!! Am I right?!? We recently moved into our new home and it took me a while to decide what color I wanted to paint the frames of the mirrors in our master bathroom (bought at a hotel re-sale store for $15 each). I finally landed on a chalky grey finish and I LOVE how they turned out – http://www.buildinghousemakinghome.com I found myself scanning the house to see what else I could tackle with the paint once I was done. ;-) Thanks for the inspiration as we are hoping to do something similar in our dining room/office area soon to get our household information center corralled and organized. Love the drawers and desktop combo you went with – very chic ;-)

  25. Nicole February 6, 2017 at 7:31 am #

    love this idea, great job

  26. Lori February 6, 2017 at 6:35 am #

    I really like them. They turned out great, Emily!

Leave a Reply