Creative Ways to Reinvent a Lampshade

painted ombre lampshade with white base green
Give ordinary lampshades a lift with easy add-ons that take less than an hour. Our roundup of DIY lampshade ideas has something for every style.

Lovely Design

Create a custom lampshade using your favorite fabric and decoupage! This beautiful watercolor drum was made by cutting floral designs from spare fabric. Decoupage medium and bias tape create the polished design. Don't be afraid to mix patterns or overlap large cutouts for a garden-fresh collage look.  

Related: How to Decorate With Florals

Golden Glow

To make this sleek black and gold DIY lampshade, start with a plain white drum shade. Cover the top and bottom edges of the shade with painters tape. Then, carefully spray the inside of the shade with two coats of gold spray paint. Once dry, remove the tape and paint the outside of the shade with several coats of black fabric paint. Let dry and pair with a contemporary lamp base, such as this industrial bubble design.

Ombre Effect

Ombre designs aren't going away any time soon, and we're embracing the trend with this DIY ombre lampshade. To make the design, paint the outside fabric with paint colors ranging from light to dark. As you add the colors from the top down, wet your foam brush with water to blend the colors. Work quickly as you paint, because once it's dry, it's difficult to blend further. 

Coastal Charm

Make a subtle change to a plain white lampshade by dressing up the inside. For this project, we added fun bright wallpaper to the shade's interior. Measure the wallpaper to fit the interior of the shade and cut to size. (It's always best to cut it slightly larger and go back to trim precisely.) Insert the wallpaper into the shade and use Mod Podge or glue to secure at the seams. 

Know the Ropes

Style ahead! Make over a linen-covered lampshade with a nod to nautical style by adding cord to the bottom edge. Get the look by wrapping .28-inch-diameter cord around the base, hot-gluing as you go. Switch colors after a few passes to create alternating bands of cream, white, and gold.

The Perfect Fit

Give an old T-shirt dress new life on a lampshade. Wrap the hem around the bottom of the shade and hot-glue it in place. Work the rest of the dress down around the shade, scrunching it to create folds. When you reach the desired look, trim the dress 1 inch above the top edge and hot-glue the cut edge to the inside of the shade. 

Editor's Tip: A stretchy dress in a small size works best for this project.

Related: How to Dress Up a Lamp Base

Thread and Needle

Embroidery floss is made for more than just friendship bracelets. Use it to dress up everyday items around the house! Find a plain lampshade and use the floss and a needle to make trendy geometric patterns. Make sure all tied ends stay on the inside of the lampshade. These contrasting colors pop against the white fabric, and the freshly painted lamp base looks sharp.

Deeply Felt

Strips of felt add color and texture to a boring lampshade. To get the look, trim 2-inch-wide strips of felt that are 1 inch longer than the height of your shade. Fold the strips in half lengthwise. Hot-glue the strips to the lampshade, letting them extend 1/2 inch above and below the rim. Glue strips close together, switching colors every now and then to create a striped pattern. 

Transform a plain lampshade into a pretty focal point in minutes. Trust us, it's even easier than it looks!

Fabric-Covered Lampshade

See how easy it is to roll a swatch of your favorite fabric onto a lampshade. Bonus points if you can use extra fabric from a curtain or linens used elsewhere in the room! This project requires no prior sewing skills. See more here.  

To Dye For

Use fabric dye to add color to basic accessories easily and quickly. For a dip-dyed lampshade, mix powdered dye in a large container. Dip all but a few inches of the shade in the mix, holding for three to four minutes. Lift out a few inches of the shade, then hold again to create a darker hue. Repeat to create a gradually darker hue. Let dry before using. 

Dainty Dots

From far away, this lampshade looks like it's covered in embroidered French knots. But once you take a peek up close, you'll see that those aren't knots at all. They're paint dots made with the same dimensional fabric paint you used to collect for decorating shirts! This lampshade is easy for any skill level.

Use our pattern to make marks on the shade where the dots go. With these steps, this quick project is foolproof.

Strike Up the Band

We found the perfect solution for a piece of pretty scrap fabric—add it to a lampshade! Measure the height of the shade and subtract two inches. Then measure the circumference of the shade, 1 inch from both the top and bottom edges, and add 2 inches to each measurement. Cut the fabric to size, and gently pull strings on the long edge to create fringe. Wrap the band around the edge, and hot-glue to secure. Embellish as desired—we used a strip of fabric with long, raw edges and adhesive pearls to cover our overlap. 

Like a Diamond

Unique texture gives this DIY lampshade a memorable look. Use dimensional paint and a harlequin stencil for this all-white drum. Don't bother painting with contrasting colors; the texture does all the talking in this project.

Spray Way

Lampshade makeovers don't get any simpler than this spray-paint hack. Use painters tape to mark off a geometric pattern on the shade, wrapping the tape ends around the top and bottom edges. In a well-ventilated area, use a wide, sweeping motion to spray-paint the shade. Paint until desired coverage is achieved. Let dry. Peel off tape and use a gold paint pen to glam up the edges. 

In the Shade

This luxe lampshade doesn't cost nearly as much as it looks. With inexpensive copper foil tape, you can stay on trend without even buying a new shade! Although the change may be small, it will elevate your space with chic metallic sparkle.

Apply the foil as easily as you would apply stickers to a piece of paper, using your finger to smooth out any air bubbles or wrinkles.

Branch Out

Think inside the lampshade with this clever silhouette hack. Attach a stencil (ours was designed like a cherry branch) to the inside of a lampshade with stencil adhesive. Let dry. Then dab black paint into the stencil openings with a small brush. Remove stencil and let dry. Reposition and repeat until the stencil covers as much of the shade as desired. 

All Glitzed Up

Dress your lampshade to the nines with this chandelier-inspired design. A black screen-print image is striking against a crisp white shade. Add extra drama with adhesive rhinestones placed delicately on the image. This project is perfect for a teenage girl's room!

When screen-printing on a a round surface, such as a lampshade, be sure the stencil is smoothed down and secured well with tape around the edges.

Button Up

Lost, loose, or purchased from a fabric store—your button collection can finally be put to use! Hot-glue buttons of various shapes, sizes, and finishes to a lampshade. Start along the bottom edge, then gradually work your way up. We opted for a white, cream, light gray, and gold color scheme, but you can tailor button colors to match your decor. 

Playing the Blues

From a distance, you'd never guess that this ombre lampshade is adorned with paper. Punch hexagons (or other desired geometric shapes) from light and dark shades of solid blue cardstock. Then cut five lengths of cotton cord to fit around the shade, with room for overlapping. Hot-glue each cord 2 to 2-1/2 inches apart. Fold each hexagon in half from point to point. Place a dot of hot glue at the center of the fold, and adhere to the cord with the fold vertical. Continue adding hexagons, spacing them so their ends touch when unfolded. Arrange rows with paper staggering from light to dark for an ombre effect. 

Editor's Tip: In lieu of cardstock, use paint chips collected from a hardware store. 

Room to Bloom

Bring the garden indoors with this chic shade. Punch out 1-inch and 1-1/2-inch scalloped circles from several hues of pastel cardstock. Draw wavy stems and branches onto the lampshade with a paint pen, then hot-glue the punched papers to the ends of the branches. 

Editor's Tip: If you're hesitant to draw freehand, make a pattern and tape it to the inside of the shade to trace. 

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