Works For Me: Paint It Black!

Wfmwheader We recently had the exterior of our house re-painted, and it turned out lovely.  But it meant that the 25-year old light fixtures looked that much more blech.  Thanks to our kitchen remodel, the house budget is a bit strapped, so I needed a creative solution to spruce up the old lights. 

Thanks to some inspiration from an HGTV show, I decided to try painting them black.  I bought some high-gloss paint for metal at Lowe’s, and my light fixtures went from this:


To this:


(And yes, I’ve tried cleaning that glass.  Tried and tried and tried.  Unfortunately that’s 25 years’ worth of dirt and bug juice, and it’s not going anywhere.  I’ve decided to pretend that it’s frosted glass.)

I painted all four exterior light fixtures this way, and it looked so nice that I had to keep going.  I painted our glass door next.  Here’s an old picture for the "before":


…and here’s the "after":


Spurred on by the cheap creativity (and perhaps the paint fumes?) I became obsessed:  what else can I paint black?  I went on to do our decorative lamp pole, mailbox and street number.  They all look great.  As I continued to look frantically for something else to paint black, Hubs stepped in and took the paint away, afraid I might do one of the children next (they do need a little sprucing up…)

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AND, while I have your kind attention, don’t forget about the Fall, Y’all! Bloggy Giveaway over at my other blog.  It’ll be loads of fun!  Be thinking about what you’d like to giveaway, and join us!


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97 thoughts on “Works For Me: Paint It Black!

  1. Heather says:

    Great work. I know that crazy-woman-with -a-paintbrush feeling. We now have painter’s tape blue trim in our hallway and writing over ever door because when I start I can’t seem to stop. There is something beautiful and wonderful about making something over all nice and clean without having to actually find a way to get years of gunk off. πŸ™‚

  2. Kandy says:

    It all looks great!
    Have you tried taking using salt and ice cubes to clean the glass? It always worked great to get set in coffee stains out of our glass coffee pots in the restaurants I managed…it might work on your fixtures too…? Worth a shot at least LOL
    Then too, I like your idea of pretending its frosted glass LOL

  3. Mandy Houk says:

    First, let me apologize for my double linking! I forgot to put what my post was about in my first link. Sorry …
    But I love your black paint! We had a white and bright gold ceiling fan in our old house, while every other metal thing we own is wrought iron. That fan drove me nuts but I couldn’t justify buying a new one just for looks. So I got Rustoleum’s hammered finish (paint and painted over all the brassy stuff and it looked wonderful!
    Now we’re in another sprucer-upper, so I’m glad for the reminder about the magic of black!
    (Honey? Could you hand me that brush?)

  4. Mandy Houk says:

    Okay, I am the Biggest Loser, no matter who the show awards the distinction to this season.
    First, I put up my link with no note about what my post is about. So I had to put up another link.
    And now, I have discovered that I somehow put both of those first links in wrong, so neither link goes to my post!
    So, I have thoroughly littered Shannon’s lovely linky list with yet a third link.
    As if anyone would actually want to take advice from me now!
    I am SO sorry! (Is there any way for you to delete my broken links, Shannon?)

  5. jen says:

    I thought it was frosted glass!
    And I love your improvements. I did much of the same stuff in our old house, only I used matte black – gave it all a wrought iron look that somehow suited that place.

  6. Karen@FamilyBriefs says:

    WOW!!! These look great! Hard to believe it’s the same stuff with just black paint on them! Thanks for sharing – we’re in the process of painting our house (for almost 2 years now :), and I’m sure I could do a lot with a little black paint! Thanks for the tip & for being a great host as usual (even though I didn’t win the Dyson I desperately need πŸ™‚

  7. Ann Kroeker says:

    I love it, you clever girl!
    A few years ago I had a can of paint and was doing the same thing, painting everything in sight–except it was white. Couldn’t stop.

  8. PinkJeweledCat says:

    My WFMW this week is about how easy it is to use most Public Libraries these days. I really think that you did a wonderful job with the paint. Until you said something about the glass, my assumption based only on the pictures and not having seen it in person, was that it was indeed frosted. HeeHee. Ta for now dahling!

  9. Melissa says:

    I love the frosted glass and the black paint! It looks fantastic! I redid our bathroom a few years ago. I painted it to look like we were sitting in the ocean. The bottom of the walls is a blue green, with waves at the top of the water, then the next part of the walls is sky blue. Well, it looked so good, I decided to paint the ceiling sky blue too! Then put on pasty clouds and pasty fish. I love being in that room! So do all of our guests! Good thing I ran out of paint though….hard to tell what I would have painted next!

  10. Amy says:

    I thought it was frosted glass too! Of course we can’t see bug remains from here.
    Love the after’s. My husband groans when he sees me looking intently at something. I must get a ‘must paint now’ look on my face.

  11. Crystal Wilson says:

    I so need to do that around my house. I just need to budget the paint. I hate all the brass around the house. I can’t wait to put a powder black paint over everything!

  12. Laura says:

    LOL! I thought it WAS frosted glass, you shouldn’t have told your secret!
    BTW, have you tried Bar Keeper’s Friend? It gets rid of everything without scratching, so if you really don’t like the frosted look, you might give it a try – look for it around where they sell the Ajax.
    But, hey, the frosted looks works for me! πŸ™‚

  13. Capturing Today says:

    Sometimes you can soak glass in an ammonia water mixture and it will erode away a lot of “film” that has built up. I’ve also tried water and oxi powder with good results!
    The changes look fabulous!

  14. Katie says:

    I used the hammered metallic spray paint on our outdoor light fixtures and lamp post. It was great! I know the feeling of looking around for what else you can paint.

  15. Deb - Mom of 3 Girls says:

    Wow, those look awesome! And I thought it WAS frosted glass until you said something, LOL. Amazing what a simple can of paint can do – I think I’ll have to try that around here! πŸ™‚

  16. Jerri says:

    Isn’t it wonderful what a bit a black paint can do. I ALWAYS keep at least 2 cans of black spray paint in my garage. You know, Just incase! πŸ™‚

  17. Princess Leia says:

    That reminds me of the time I was helping my mom to de-clutter. I was in the bathroom helping to make better use of the space and had added this black shelving unit I’d found second-hand. It was in good shape except for a few scratches. A couple of minutes with a black Sharpie later, and you couldn’t see a single bad spot. But I couldn’t put the Sharpie down. Every time I go into their bathroom now, I look for spots that I can Sharpie.

  18. Trixie says:

    Hello Shannon,
    Great ideas on the black paint. I am just itching to do this at my house.
    Will you please delete my first link? (#75) I accidentally linked back to your WFMW post.

  19. Ornery's Wife says:

    Love the new look. Your house looks lovely with the wreath on the door, too. As for the glass, my niece who lives in NYC asked about how to get the scum and grime off her windows and her mother suggested engine degreaser. Don’t know if it works, but if the other stuff doesn’t get the glass clean, you might give it a try!

  20. Scott says:

    We have the done the exact same thing with the black paint. Did the shutters on the windwos too.
    Then we discovered black-colored mulch as well for our landscaping. Love it.

  21. Jenny says:

    Have you tried liquid sugar soap on the glass? If you can take the glass out at all, try soaking it, otherwise, just wipe it on straight, leave it for a tad, and then wipe off with a wet cloth. Should do the trick.

  22. Sarah @ Real Life says:

    Oh, yeah! I love me some black paint! We had these dated coffee tables that were off-white iron with glass tops. We painted the iron black, and replaced the glass tops with plywood upholstered with leather. The look really cool!

  23. Christie says:

    I can’t believe a little black paint makes such a huge difference! Great Job!
    First time participant but have loved your WFMW tips for a while.
    Thanks for hosting!

  24. Liz C says:

    Oooh… I have to send my friend T over here… she’s in a funk about her house, and I’m of the opinion that paint can fix just about anything. She needs to see this Astonishing Transformation. πŸ™‚
    My husband knows the Joys of Black Paint. He took a green welcome sign, painted it black, traced out the ornamentation in gold, and Voila! Brand New Welcome Sign.
    And then he painted the stair rails black. And painted the mailbox black. And the flag pole. And he was eyeballing the front door, and talking about getting new brass fixtures for that, but I took the paint away at that point.

  25. GP says:

    Having remodeled our inn (can you say “gutted it”) .. your transformation.. is great.. Nice work!
    gp in montana

  26. Jamie says:

    That looks awesome! Our house is almost 40 years old (as am I!) and I am constantly looking ways to spruce it up on a budget. πŸ™‚
    Hmmm…I may have to buy some black paint this weekend. Watch out! πŸ˜‰

  27. Jill from Omaha says:

    Do you think I could do this to my outdoor lights that are bronze? We too just painted the house; grey with black shutters and I would love new fixtures, but the old would do with a facelift.
    Just wondering if the original has to be painted a certain color etc.
    Jill from Omaha

  28. Angela Pridgen says:

    First of all, sorry about linking directly to my front page last week! It was my first week and I am just learning this stuff! πŸ™‚ Anyway, I LOVE the black…it really changed that front door too! Great job!

  29. JCK says:

    You know you really could have convinced us it is frosted glass….we would never have known. But, who cares anyway as your light fixtures look FAB! Isn’t it amazing how a little fresh paint can do wonders and make you feel so good? Thanks for sharing!

  30. Jamie says:

    I’m getting me some black paint….and if you hadn’t said anything, I’d thought that the light fixture WAS frosted glass. Great tip!!!

  31. edj says:

    I see a white door and I want to paint it black; no colours anywhere I want them to turn black…oh sorry. Your post just got that song THOROUGHLY stuck in my head πŸ™‚
    Or is it just me?
    It does look fantastic, though! How’s the kitchen coming?

  32. Rebecca says:

    I accidentally left two links. Sorry. This is my first time and I wasn’t sure how to do it. Thanks for your site. I look forward to reading it every day!!

  33. Jeni says:

    Your improvements look great! Did you know that Lowe’s also has a high-temperature black paint that’s good for perking up older fireplaces? It’s meant for grills, but it sure made my living room gas fireplace look great!

  34. Adena (cre82learn) says:

    Looks great. I know what you mean about not being able to stop. I have bookcases that the wood no longer matches what we are doing so I painted them. Even got my daughter addicted to it. She just painted the shadow boxes and a 3 shelf bookcase for her new room…dark purple. She’s 18.

  35. Anna says:

    The light fixtures do look great! I too am a bit obsessed with black paint–it does wonders.
    (PS-For the glass, try woodstove glass cleaner. Kind of a specialty cleaner but it works!!)

  36. Mama Duck says:

    ROTFL painting the children ;). Great idea and they look WONDERFUL! I’ve been known to paint a whole set of shabby dining chairs & the table black – stick on red cushions & placemats and it works ;).

  37. Courtney says:

    Black paint is one of my best friends. I didn’t stay outside when I went on my painting frenzy though. I did our kitchen table and chairs, the family room coffee table, the end tables, the cupboards in the mud room. I COULDN’T STOP, Y’ALL!! Lucky for me it all turned out terrific or my husband would have had a stroke!

  38. Andrea says:

    Thanks for clarifying high gloss paint for metal! This is exactly what I am needing to do to our outdoor lights – my husband thanks you for saving him money! πŸ™‚

  39. GiBee says:

    When we bought the home we live in, I had a very limited budget to work with and many, MANY light fixtures to replace… so I bought cheap construction grade lights, spray paint, and went to town. They look lovely! Some I bronzed, some I painted black like wrought iron, some I silver leafed… they all look amazing and so different than the tacky brassy finish they had!!!

  40. Emily says:

    Oh wow, your light fixtures look brand new! And for what it’s worth, if you hadn’t said anything I would have just assumed the glass was frosted. πŸ™‚

  41. Shelia says:

    I love a girl willing to take a risk with paint! I have kept DIY and paint in the ol’ bag of tricks for several different things now. It looks awesome! Way to go!

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