Couponing for the Rest of Us

DIY Oil-Rubbed Bronze

DIY Oil-Rubbed Bronze

This is one of the oldest DIY tricks in the book, updating brass or gold fixtures to oil-rubbed bronze. You won’t believe how easy it is! Face it, we all have them….ugly brass or gold light fixtures, door handles, bathroom knobs, brass lamps, etc. Most anything could easily be updated to a beautiful oil-rubbed bronze in a matter of minutes.

In my case we have these:


Rust-Oleum Universal All Surface Spray Paint, Oil Rubbed Bronze Metallic

Retailing for approx $8-$10, this is pure magic in a can!

Carefully take down the light fixture.  If you are unfamiliar with electrical wiring, call in help!  Have an expert or someone you know that understands how electricity works take down the fixture for you. In my case, that would be my dear husband. If you purchase the paint in the image above, Rust-Oleum Universal All Surface Spray Paint, Oil Rubbed Bronze Metallic there is no need to prime.  One coat should cover just fine, in fact I spray everything with this! (We even painted our ugly brass chandeliers at church!) I’ve even seen images of exterior door handles and door knockers on pinterest that have been transformed from faded ugly brass to a sleek oil rubbed bronze using the same paint I’ve used here.

I would suggest leaving your old light bulbs in, or stuffing the light sockets with tissue paper or old newspaper to keep paint from getting inside the sockets.


In a solid sweeping motion begin to spray paint the fixture.

Make sure to allow enough drying time before reinstalling./


Our finished product, although the dome is still covered with etched flowers it’s much easier on the eyes and up to date. This is a great example of an inexpensive way to spruce up your home one step at a time! Next time, try your gold kitchen knobs, or that brass lamp in the corner.  Check out other DIY projects here.


I’m Amber Anderson, I am a pastors wife, mom of 2 lovely boys, and an avid DIY’er. I post regularly about DIY projects, crafts and family life on, and you can find me and all my projects over here!


  1. I did my light fixtures as you did, and a chandelier, and my doorknobs, and my hinges, and even bath fixtures.

  2. Love this idea. We have silver fixtures everywhere in my house, and It just doesn’t go with the warm feel I’m trying to create. Would this work for silver chandeliers? Wall sconces?

  3. Hello i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anywhere, when i read this article i thought i could also make comment
    due to this good article.

  4. Kristin says:

    I’ve seen a few projects like this and they always use the oil-rubbed bronze. I’d like to do it with the “nickel” colored rustoleum. But I’ve never seen it done. Is there a reason why the bronze is better for projects like this versus the nickel?

    • Jennifer says:

      I have done this in brushed nickel it tends to show drips easier but I used it on a ceiling fan and I have 10 foot ceilings so you really can’t see the drips. Our house was remodeled in the mid 90′s so there was gold and shiny brass EVERYWHERE! I did this and saved us $1000′s of dollars.

  5. Can you use this on brushed nickel doorknobs, hinges, and faucets?

  6. Jessica C says:

    Hi! I’m wondering if you have any tips on doing this for the edges of GIANT mirrored closet doors. These are so big, I wouldn’t dare try taking them off the tracks, but this would obviously pose a problem. Is there a way to paint the trim of the doors with this stuff rather than spray paint?

    • There are wonderful things at Lowes, Home Depot etc. that look like wide mini blinds. they will slip into the edge and protect your mirror. They are wonderful for trim work, as well. The best part is that they are washable and fairly inexpensive.

  7. When your done has anyone added a clear coat with strong hardener? this might prolong the finish. you can also get it Flat/semi gloss and gloss

    you can also get home powder coating machine for 149.99 and you can use that kit for any metal and finish wont chip. another good point is you can use this for any metal projects.

  8. Why not just buy a new light for $14 from Lowes that looks almost the same as the finished product? Unless they don’t have the color you are wanting…

    • Probably because you can cover multiple “ugly” fixtures for $4-$6 cheaper than buying ONE new light… at least that would be the case for my house (so much ugly gold – all over the place… *shudder).

      • not to mention updating your current and fully functional fixtures is better than buying new which is a waste of money and tossing the old ones which just adds to landfill waste. Why would you rather buy new when you can make what you’ve got better?

  9. Clean with white vinegar before spraying, finish will hold up longer.

  10. Thanks for this post. Will be getting this for my kitchen.

  11. I tried this with my bathroom faucet. It looked wonderful in the beginning but chipped. Be cautious.

  12. Just tried this today. I did 2 light fixtures and some drawer knobs. Still have plenty of paint left and plan to do more next weekend. BIG difference. Looks great! Thank you tor the idea.

  13. Thanks so much. Thanks to you, I did all 5 of our ceiling lights and there is still paint in the can. I learned how to turn off the power and took them down with minimal help from hubby. I didn’t leave the light bulbs in but instead wrapped the sockets with tinfoil. Huge difference. Good bye brass!

  14. Is chipping an issue – especially on the knobs that get touched alot. I once painted some kitchen knobs and they started chipping within a few weeks – of course that was not with this particular paint.

  15. Thank you so much. We have 1980 brass hinges and I can’t find new ones to match current drill holes. Too much work to fill holes and drill new just to update, will use your idea for all my brass hinges. Thanks!

  16. I wish I had thought of this before we went out last month and bought all next ceiling fixtures!! Well now I know, and I will get all the door knobs instead :)

  17. I’m so going to do this to my brass headboard! Thanks!!

  18. just did all the door handles around the house and they look great!

  19. I can not wait to try this! Thanks for posting!

  20. Michelle I says:

    I did this 2 years ago in my kitchen. Painted the hinges & the knobs to all the cabinets. Super easy to do & looks wonderful!! So much cheaper than buying new.

    • Tracey Pickering says:

      I want to do this to my cabinet knobs and hidges, did u have to take them off or is there a way to do it without taking them off? Thanks!!

  21. want to paint soem brass lamps.what other colors can you use?

  22. Exactly what I was looking for to cover our brass light fixtures – I hate them! Thanks!

  23. Kathleen Fletcher says:

    I can’t wait to try this! I am wondering about the door knobs….will it stick and stay?

  24. I am going to try to find this spray. I tried Brown spray on my old brass lamps and am not happy with the look. This is the look I want THANKS

  25. We did the same thing to our bathroom light and our floor vents…made a HUGE difference for under $10!

  26. Lynn Chapman says:

    I just finished this project throughout my home. Hinges, knobs, tub, shower and light fixtures. Looks amazing and seems to be wearing very well. I primed each item with a car primer from Pep Boys to insure wear-ability. I love the updated look. I’m about to tackle the shower doors. Wish me luck!!

  27. Great idea! We did this with the door handle and dead bolt on our French doors. The price of a new handle and lock was in the $45-$50 range. We bought the silver spray to match the handles in our kitchen and it turned out great.

  28. Sheannon says:

    Awesome idea…Thanks!

  29. I needed this right now!!! Awesome idea!!! THANK YOU!!!!


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