Architectural columns abound at salvage shops, but we never really thought they could have any other use...until we saw this genius project by our friends at Southern Living.
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.
Left, Babs Perkins; Right: Miki Duisterhof
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.
2 hollow columns
handheld electric sander or sponge sanding block
primer (shellac-based stain blocker)
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.
For the full how-to complete with step-by-step photos, visit Southern Living
And don't miss these great stories...
Make The Most Out Of Kitchen Storage
18 Real-Life Room Makeovers
Instant Furniture Makeovers