Well, to be perfectly honest, my first ugly lamp came from a church garage sale in Minnesota. It was huge, poop brown, and kind of looked like a pineapple. My husband thought I was crazy. My family thought I was nuts. The church ladies peeked out from the church kitchen to see who on earth would buy the monstrosity with a five-dollar price tag in the corner. I left the garage sale carrying my purchase with pride, ignoring the stares as I belted the lamp into the backseat like it was precious cargo. The poop pineapple lamp was calling to me and I wasn't about to leave it behind.
The original ugly lamp was transformed into a turquoise conversation piece that others have actually asked to buy (take that, doubters). Other lamps followed from thrift stores around Kansas City, their call for survival just as strong as their poop-colored comrade. My love for ugly lamps reached an unhealthy level, my need to rescue and make them over almost fiery in its passion.
Maybe you're a thrift store regular, someone who swings by if you're looking for something in particular, or someone who avoid thrifts stores at all cost. Wherever you may fall, let me tell you something – there are treasures to be found. Treasures. Stop by on the right day and you'll find vintage furniture, lamps, and other accessories that are sold for peanuts because they're stuck in time. You've got to look beyond it. Look beyond the ugly exterior and you'll see the treasure beneath. Trust me. Some tips:
• When it comes to lamps, look for the shape and style. Don't worry about whether it works; it's easy to rewire a lamp and make it new again. The best finds will be lamps from the 60's and 70's, the heavy glass bases in shades of gold and green impossible to find these days. You'll almost always have to toss the shade, but that's okay; new shades are relatively inexpensive and can transform the entire piece. New shade. Spray paint. A little elbow grease. Easy breezy.
• Before you drop hundreds of dollars on an end table from a major retailer, swing by your neighborhood thrift store because there always seems to be an abundance of tables and other furnishings. Don't get distracted by the cheap varnish finish or ugly color; again, this is an easy fix. Look at the piece's lines and overall shape. Furniture was made better back in the day, so why not spend a fraction of the price for something that has already stood the test of time?
• Don't listen to the little voice that's saying, “But, it won't match anything.” Who cares? Personal style is exactly that – personal. You want your home to reflect your personality, not page 65 of a Spring/Summer catalog. If you fill your home with things that you love, they all find a way to go together. They just do.
You're not like everyone else, so decorate accordingly. Be unique. Be original. Be you. Go ahead, embrace your inner ugly lamp and let that beautiful light shine through.