When we bought our first home last year, I knew I wanted to decorate it with the home’s build date in mind. It’s a 1990s Cape Cod with an open livingroom/dining area and a galley kitchen. You can see a lofted master bedroom from the main living area — and we use that as a playroom for my toddler.

My biggest home makeover peeve is when someone picks a “design style” that completely clashes with the home’s architectural style. As we shopped for a home, many of them were poorly flipped. People splashed light gray paint onto colonial details and wood paneling. Others stapled pallette boards onto contemporary house walls.

This house is actually relatively untouched. The cabinets, lighting and a lot of the design elements are neutral and original to when the home was built.

So, I’m slowly adding in elements that celebrate the home’s 1990s build date — starting with adding brass.

Brass Lamp Cleaned with Barkeeper's Friend

An easy thrift store project

Brass Lamp Cleaned with Barkeeper's Friend

You can easily find brass decor and fixtures at thrift stores and yard sales. Women my mom’s age give me the funniest looks when I excitedly snap up all their old 80s and 90s castoffs. But, I love the way they remind me of the places I grew up in —when things were solid and a little less trendy.

With BarKeeper’s Friend, I polished this lamp quickly. Just mix it up with some water to create a paste. Then, rub it on the surface until you reach the desired shine.

If the cord is old, you can easily rewire it with a kit. I didn’t need to do that for this particular lamp.

Finally, I added a tall shade to accentuate the lamp’s height.

Just last week, I found a row of ten brass lamps (all super solid and shapely) at our local Goodwill store. So, there’s more for the taking if you like this look.