How To Light Up Boring Lampshades: 12 DIY Ideas

published Aug 17, 2017
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(Image credit: Helena Nord via Apartment Therapy)

Lampshades are one of those household items that always seem shockingly expensive, and that’s just for a plain-but-decent shade! If you want something beautiful and/or unique, prepare to pay a ton—or, better yet, make your own. These 15 projects vary wildly in style and complexity, so there’s sure to be one that perfectly suits your decor and your DIY skill level.

You can never go wrong with a simple felt lampshade makeover like this Helena Nord update made for Apartment Therapy (shown above). It’s as affordable and efficient as it gets, and it’s sure to warm up your space as you get ready for fall.

(Image credit: Fábrica De Imaginación)


Woven Lampshade by Fábrica De Imaginación

Take textile art from the walls to the lights and make a shade that coordinates perfectly with your decor using this clever tutorial. Other than possibly a quick translation—it’s in Spanish, but thank goodness for Google Translate—all you need are two wire lampshades and plenty of embroidery floss in the hues of your choice.


Gold Metallic Glow Lampshade by Little Black Door Designs

A quick spray of paint—this project calls for Rustoleum Specialty Metallic Spray Paint—is all it takes to achieve this understated level of glam.

(Image credit: Craft Thyme)


Gold-Leafed Lampshade by Craft Thyme

If you like the metallic-lined look but want to take things a few steps more luxe, use gold—or silver, of course—leaf rather than spray paint. Your project will be a bit more costly and time-consuming, but the results look totally worth it. Pro tip: a commenter recommended spraying real silver leaf with clear acrylic to prevent it from tarnishing.

(Image credit: Kara Paslay Designs)


Gold Lampshades by Kara Paslay Designs

For a super-reflective metallic look, you can use Chromalux poster board—this blogger found it at Michael’s—wrapped around your existing lamshades.


Fabric-Covered Lampshade by Style By Emily Henderson

You can obviously use any sort of fabric you like, but I love this delicately geometric Nate Berkus cotton now on-sale at JOANN Fabrics. This project’s secret weapons are spray adhesive and a rotary cutter.

(Image credit: Centered By Design)


Fringe Lampshade by Centered By Design

Extra-long fringe makes for a dramatic lampshade makeover, especially if you completely cover the shade, as shown on a planter in this tutorial.


Feather Pendant Lampshade by A Beautiful Mess

Feather trim (did you know this exists?!) and a cheap paper lantern combine to create dramatic, graceful greatness. You’ll also need a glue gun, of course, as all greatness involves a glue gun.

(Image credit: DesignSponge)


Is the wedding blanket trend still going strong? I hope so, since these traditional Moroccan blankets are so beautiful and aren’t just some fad of the month. The great thing about this project is that you can make it as complex, layered, textured, and bejeweled—or as monochromatic and simple—as you like.

(Image credit: A Subtle Revelry)


Tassel Lampshade by A Subtle Revelry

I love the juxtaposition of the long, stark shade and the teeny, playful tassels. This tutorial has you create a shade out of poster board and an embroidery hoop, but you could also just use a pre-made lampshade and focus your crafting energy on the tassel portion.

(Image credit: DesignSponge)


Fish Scale Lamp Shade by DesignSponge

This lamp gets its shimmery look from circles of paper dipped in colorful paraffin wax, but you could get a beautiful, beachy look just by painting the circles with iridescent spray paint. Then just use the same lampshade-covering technique from the tutorial!

(Image credit: Sparkle Meets Pop)


Faux Leather Drum Shade by Sparkle Meets Pop

Achieve a similar look by covering a shade with circles—or any shape—of pleather. Keep things shimmery with a metallic faux leather, or go for drama with oxblood or nearly-black blue circles.

(Image credit: Excelvan via Amazon)


Let’s finish off with the lowest-key DIY on the list: no tools or adhesives necessary, and the whole thing is washable! All you’ll have to do is slot the iridescent pieces together, so you’ll get all the satisfaction of a DIY with neither the mess nor the fuss.

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NYMÖ Lampshade, IKEA, $39.99 Here’s a nice large option (28″ diameter) that works as a bold floor lamp or a graceful pendant. (Image credit: IKEA)

Lampshades for DIYs

If you’re ready to start your own DIY lampshade project, here are seven shades that are sure to suit all of these projects. You might also be able to find lampshades and lampshade frames at thrift stores―just remember to focus on the size and shape while totally ignoring the color and material. It doesn’t matter if you’ll be covering it up!