With the One Room Challenge in full swing and a kitchen renovation wrapping up, I’ve been in saving mode lately. Home renovation projects require a lot of time and money, which sometimes means getting creative with the budget to achieve a designer look for less. I forgot all about a light fixture hack I tried years ago (in our Ohio home) until recently. When choosing inexpensive light fixtures for our laundry room, it all came back to me and I thought it was definitely worth sharing! Click through to learn my trick for switching the finish of a light fixture…
First of all, if you’re wondering WHY you might want to change the finish of a light fixture… it’s because the high-end finishes (like antique brass or dark bronze) are often more expensive. It’s also easy to find cheap light fixtures that have a decent shape, but the finish is usually terrible. The latter is what I was dealing with this time around.
I found a couple flush mounts that were the perfect size and simple shape for the laundry room, but I really wanted an antique brass finish. Of course, the fixture only came in silver colors, but I bought two anyway, knowing I could easily change them to fit my design plan (and budget). If you’re thinking, “why don’t you just spray paint it?”… I’ll tell you. I’m not really into the spray painted metal look, I feel like it often turns out cheap-looking and the metal loses it’s metallic finish or luster. It’s also a headache to spray something and a LOT more prep.
Instead, I pulled out my Rub ‘N Buff. Yes, it’s a stupid name, but it actually works well. Basically it’s finely ground metallic powder mixed with wax and pigment that covers an existing finish while looking like metal (because that’s what it’s actually composed of).
For $8 and five minutes of your time, you can swap the finish of any metal light fixture. It also comes in a lots of different colors, but this time I was obviously shooting for an antique brass aesthetic.
To start, I wiped the light fixture clean and made sure it was totally dry before applying the product. I then disassembled the light fixture, that way I wouldn’t accidentally get any on the white shade.
I then used my finger (although you can also use a soft cloth) to apply the paste. I feel like I have better control with my finger, but then again- I also apply makeup using my fingers. Ha! Idk.
I did use a Q-Tip to get into the tight spots where the rolled edge meets the side. A little bit goes a LONG way. After it was totally covered, I allowed the fixture to sit for about an hour before buffing it into a shine or luster.
That’s it! There’s really nothing to it. The result is a brass fixture that still looks and feels like metal… rather than metal covered in paint. You can also layer it up to add texture or increase the depth.
The laundry room lights aren’t installed yet because the ceiling still needs to be repaired, primed, and painted, but you can see how it turned out above and below.
You can also get a feel for how I transformed an inexpensive fixture in my old hallway using the same method. As I mentioned previously, depending on how you apply the product, you can achieve different looks. I went for more texture on the hallway light and applied multiple layers.
I still get SO many questions about that light fixture and where it was from. It looked really close to this designer fixture, but the truth was- I bought it at Home Depot for under $50. I actually first discovered Rub ‘N Buff on my friend Kristin’s blog.
Have you guys ever used it? I can’t believe I forgot about it. It’s really a handy thing to have around. I’ve only used it on light fixtures, but I’m sure it would work for other small metal surfaces as well. This post is not sponsored or anything, I just wanted to share a hack that could save you guys some money. I’m a definitely a fan- especially for the ease and cost!