Ideas on How to Decorate an Old Lamp Shade

Updated February 21, 2017

Don't discard an old lamp shade just because it's dingy or torn. Refurbish the shade and decorate it to fit in with your design style. An old lamp shade can date a room, but you can change the look and the feel of your space with bit of creative crafting.

Fabric Cover

Cover an old lamp shade with new fabric to completely transform its appearance. Cut the fabric to fit on the outside of the shade with a 1/2-inch overlapping seam on the top and the bottom. Attach the fabric to the shade with spray adhesive or hot glue.

Beaded Fringe

Decorate a plain old lamp shade with strips of beaded fringe around the top and around the bottom. Purchase beaded fringe at craft, fabric and discount stores. The beads are attached to a thin ribbon strip that you can hot glue directly to the lamp shade.

Dotted Beads

Create a whimsical room decoration from an old lamp shade by dotting flat-backed beads and rhinestones over the surface. Glue the beads and rhinestones onto the lamp shade with hot glue or viscous craft glue.

Striped Ribbons

Give new life to an old lamp shade with stripes of decorative ribbons. Use alternating colours, widths and patterns of ribbons, or use one style to create the stripes. Cut the ribbons to fit vertically from the top to the bottom of the lamp shade, allowing for a 1/2-inch overlap on each end to attach the ribbons to the shade. Glue the top 1/2-inch of the ribbon strips to the inside of the lamp shade, fold the ribbons over to cover the outside of the shade and glue the bottom 1/2-inch to the inside of the bottom of the shade. Overlap the ribbons strips or space them as you like.

Decorative Paint

Fabric paint can also completely transform an old lamp shade. Cover the shade with a base colour, and then use stencils, templates or other decorative acrylic painting techniques to add design interest. Fabric paint is available in a variety of colours to suit any room decor.

Découpage Collage

Découpage the outside of an old lamp shade with decorative fabric strips to create an eclectic collage. Découpage medium is both glue and protective coating. Spread a thin layer onto the lamp shade, press strips or swatches of fabric into the glue and then smooth over the surface of the fabric with more découpage medium.

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About the Author

Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.