25 Creative Ways To Give Your Old Lampshade A Fresh New Look

If you're DIY savvy and love to thrift, you probably already know the many benefits of upcycling items. While the most compelling reason may be that it can save you money, Future Learn adds that it also has significant environmental benefits, as the fewer items you throw away, the fewer things go to the landfill. Further, you can create some personalized pieces that really reflect your style, which you may not be able to find anywhere else.

One of the easiest items to upcycle is a lampshade and, as demonstrated below, this item can be freshened up by using a number of materials including paint, fabric, wallpaper, dye, ribbon, and other craft supplies. However, when recreating any of the looks below, make sure you follow some safety precautions. For instance, use a bulb with low wattage, per A Lamp And Fixture Corp. You could also add a sheet of adhesive styrene to the inside to ensure it doesn't become a fire hazard.

1. Coat in chalk paint

If you want to completely change the color of your lampshade, chalk paint is a great option. To assist the drying process, you could point a hair dryer at the surface from a safe distance.  

2. Simply use spray paint

Or, you could also coat the surface with spray paint. When doing this, cover the inside of the lampshade, wear gloves, and work in light layers. 

3. Get creative with watercolors

Those who want a more abstract look could use multiple colors of watercolor paints. To recreate the above design, spray the lampshade with water, then apply the darkest color to the top and allow it to drip down. Finally, add two lighter colors beneath the top shade.  

4. Apply acrylic paint with a sponge

An easy way to completely change the color of a white lampshade is by applying watered-down acrylic paints to the surface with a sponge. 

5. Add gold to the inside

While most decorate the outside of their lampshade, painting the inside can also make a massive difference in the lamp's appearance. The above look was created by applying liquid gold leaf with a foam brush.  

6. Utilize painter's tape

To create stripes or another geometric design, attach painter's tape to the lampshade before using acrylic paints. If you want the stripes to all be the same size, make sure to measure before attaching the tape.

7. Use a stencil

Those who desire a more intricate design could use a stencil. If you're working with a dark-colored lampshade, you may want to first apply a coat of metallic paint, followed by your color of choice. 

8. Create a personalized look

Or, if you're confident in your freehanding abilities, use acrylic paints and create any design you desire. To cover the whole surface, start with a lighter background, followed by your more intricate design in a darker color.

9. Paint on glitter

For an extra glam look, spray paint the lampshade a silver tone and cover the panels in glitter mixed with mod podge. To finish off the design, border it in a sparkly material.

10. Attach a placemat

While this lampshade looks like it was store-bought, it's actually a white shade with a placemat attached to it. To achieve this look, cut off the border of your placemat, spray paint it silver, and attach it with glue. Then, you'll attach the border around the top and bottom. 

11. Envelop in fabric

To completely redesign the whole lampshade, cover it in any fabric you choose and attach it with spray adhesive.

12. Cover in cutout flowers

If you have a fabric with lots of flowers, you could cut out your favorites and create an appliqué appearance. This could be a great way to both upcycle an old lampshade and use a scrap piece of fabric. 

13. Glue down pleats

To add more texture, pleat the fabric by folding it over itself all the way around the lampshade, and attach each pleat with hot glue. Finally, add skinny strips of folded fabric, also called bias tape, along the border. 

14. Glam up with sequins

If you want an easier alternative to painting on glitter, purchase a piece of sequined fabric and attach it with spray adhesive.

15. Lean into rustic vibes with burlap

For a rustic or farmhouse look, attach a burlap fabric with spray adhesive, then hot glue jute onto the top and bottom. 

16. Play into subtlety with dip-dye

If you're going for a subtle look, you could create an ombré effect using a light color of dye. To do this, dip the top of the lampshade in a mixture of hot water, dye, and dish soap, then bring the dye further down the shade using a foam brush. 

17. Easily cover with wallpaper

If you have extra peel-and-stick wallpaper lying around from another project, cover the surface of your lampshades with it.

18. Focus on the inside

Similarly, you could choose to place wallpaper only on the inside of the lampshade. This would be a great way to subtly bring a loud print into your space. 

19. Thread two ribbon colors

To recreate the above look, weave two different colors of ribbon over and under one another. These ribbons can be adhered to the inside of the shade with a dab of hot glue. 

20. Wrap in ribbon

Those going for a boho look may want to wrap their lampshade in thin ribbon vertically along the inside and outside, attaching it with hot glue. 

21. Place cutouts on the inside

By simply gluing pieces of punched-out paper onto the inside of a lampshade, you can create shadows of those shapes. 

22. Go maximalist with pom poms

To bring softness into your space, completely cover the lampshade in pom poms by attaching them with hot glue. For a maximalist look, choose many different colors. 

23. Border the bottom

On the other hand, you could simply border the bottom of the lampshade with a piece of ribbon or pom poms. This could also easily be attached with a few dots of hot glue. 

24. Make the design 3D

Adding any textured, 3D element to the outside of your lampshade, such as beads or paper flowers, will add lots of character. 

25. Trail faux ivy down rope

To recreate this look, hot glue rope down the entire lampshade and tuck pieces of faux ivy in a trailing diagonal pattern.