Remember the pair of old, tarnished, dirty, brass lamps I found at the Alameda Flea Market and Antiques Fair? I’ve finally had a chance to polish one up, and wow, it looks great!

Brass is quite easy to clean up.  While it looks almost new, the brass takes on a time-worn glow (patina) that you can’t find on new lamps.  Here’s how to do it:

First, make sure that your item is actually brass.  You can do this by testing a magnet on it.  If the magnet does not stick, it is brass.  If your magnet sticks, you may have some brass plated steel. If this is the case, just wash the brass plate with a cloth soaked in warm soapy water.

Next, take some lemon juice (or white vinegar) and mix it with enough salt (or baking soda) to form a paste.  The salt (or baking soda) acts like a scrub.  I have used both, and both work well. Salt will give you a little more scrubbing power though.

Now, put some paste onto a soft cloth and start scrubbing and buffing until the brass is shiny and clean. The more stained and tarnished it is, the more time and amount of elbow grease you will need to complete your project.

Once you are satisfied with how the brass looks, take a damp warm cloth and wipe the paste off of the brass and dry it thoroughly. 

At this point you can slow the tarnishing process by rubbing into the brass a little bit of olive oil with a clean cloth.

Voila! You now have a pair of beautiful brass lamp bases and all you needed was a little elbow grease!

If you want a different look, another option is to paint the lamps. It is not as difficult as it might sound!

First, cover the socket and harp by taping a plastic bag over them. Put the electrical cord into another plastic bag and tape it off.

Then use some Zinsser spray primer and thinly coat each lamp base twice. It is important to wait until the first coat is dry before continuing with the second coat.

Next, choose your final color (let’s say black glossy enamel) and spray over the primer. One coat should do the trick, but you might need two.

Now all you need are some shades. Above is a linen shade from Lamps Plus online for $34.99.

Atlanta Showhouse

This is the look you would get. Nice!

Have a wonderful holiday weekend and remember that The Meadows still has fresh field tulips in. Don't forget to ask for the "large plump heads with the old school charm" to receive your Design Salon Blog subscriber discount ( $1. off your purchase).