A New Life for Lamps & Lampshades Alike

When I look at a plain vanilla lampshade it’s like looking at a blank canvas. My mind starts whirling with the possibilities. Now, I’m got my share of vanilla lampshades but in the back of my mind, I’m always wondering what I could do to liven them up a bit. I know, it’s an illness.
The lampshade above, that my friend Tricia created, is the perfect example of how you can give a new life to a tired old lampshade.
The lampshades in my living room and are still favorites of mine. Even though one lamp sits a bit wonky from when I knocked it off the table while dusting.  
I recently found this next lamp at the thrift store for $4.99. The shade, which is a cool oval shape, is probably not original to this lamp but it’s in great condition.  
What I like most about this lamp…it’s nice and big.
What I like least about this lamp…it’s quite ugly! 
But ugly is easily remedied with a bit a paint.
Taped and bagged and ready for the primer. 
Here’s where I started thinking maybe I wanted to go gray. 
But I already had my heart set on turquoise so I resisted. The color I wanted was a bluish turquoise. Since I couldn’t find the exact shade I wanted, I took Aqua and Medium Gray craft paints and mixed them together until I got the color I wanted.
I then used a fairly dark glaze and started the wipe on/wipe off process.
For now, the shade is still vanilla but that’s ok. It let’s the turquoise hold center stage.
This next lampshade project involves another thrift store lamp that I toted all the way home from North Carolina this past summer. I liked the lamp base, it was in good condition, the shade was another story! 
The shade consisted of strips of a yucky plastic like fabric wrapped around the metal frame.
After cutting all the yuckiness off, this is what remained. Using a remnant I’d picked up months ago, I made a new fabric shade. I lined the inside of the shade and added a 2″ ruffle of scrim along the bottom edge.
When I recovered this lampshade I had my bedroom in mind, but it just didn’t work.
So for the time being it’s home is the counter in my bathroom. I’m thinking the base is probably safe from being painted for the moment…but only the moment.
So, whether you have a lamp and/or lampshade needing a simple makeover or an extreme makeover I hope this inspires you to take the challenge and give it a new life!
Sharing with:

Mod Vintage Life

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Show & Tell Friday from My Romantic Home
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48 Responses to A New Life for Lamps & Lampshades Alike

  1. So pretty Sonya! I love the new color too. I always look at lampshades in a new lights as well…

  2. What a great color you created for the lamp base. Nice lampshades.
    - Joy

  3. Dara Lynn says:

    I SOOOO enjoy a lamp refresher!!!!! I recently looked for a new lamp for an end table in the family room…..I went into sticker shock! Thanks Ms S for reminding me of the many ways I can save $$ and probably make em look even better! :)

  4. Lori says:

    Wow, the last shad it my favorite. Great transformations all!

  5. Sooo pretty! Love your transformations.

  6. Susan says:

    Sonja, I love the turquoise lamp! So very pretty!

  7. Great lamp makeovers. I love that last shade.

  8. L says:

    Ohhh…LOVE the turquoise base. It looks so much better. Totally updated the look to be more modern and refreshed. The last shade is wonderful. How do you get the fabric to stay on the frame nice and tight? Hot glue or some other method of glue?

  9. Stacy says:

    I really love the turquoise base…you have the amazing ability to see the possibilities in just about any piece of furniture or accessory, not matter how ugly.

    I also really like your living room lamps. If you’ll just stop dusting (like me) all your worries about knocking things over will be eliminated.

    ps – smiling that you said you “toted” the lamp home from NC. You sound like Aunt Nita. :)

  10. As soon as I find the time, I have a plain white lampshade I want to redo for my sewing/craft room, Sonya! I pretty much know the fabric I’m going to use on it, too. Just need to get some trim. I could probably fix up a couple of others around here since I think I’ve used every lamp I own in this new condo!

  11. Karen says:

    I love your turquoise lamp AND the shade you recovered–what a way to make lemonade out of lemons! They both look lovely. Can you share how you redid the lamp shade?

  12. Your lamp redos look great. I’ve still not changed any of my lampshades from “plain vanilla,” how embarrassing! I’ll just enjoy yours for the time being.

  13. Love the ugly lamp turned into a pretty turquoise one. And that last lampshade is great. I love covering old lampshades too.

  14. Pamela says:

    Sonya these r great! I am on the hunt for new lamps to go in the guest room.

  15. I just redid an equally ugly lamp in the exact same colors, go check it out!
    And I love that fabric that you covered that shade in, so pretty, just saw the same thing on Southern Hospitality. Where did you find that?

  16. Becolorful says:

    Okay I am swooning for these lamp shades. Have you done posts on how to do the new shade. i see that blank metal shade frame and go ??? How did she do that. These are so cool and I am thinking options options options. Love them. I am hoping you linked these up.

  17. What beautiful makeovers…love that last one!! Hop over today and see who WON my giveaway…by the way…I need you to mail me your full name and address…CONGRATS!!!



  18. Comeca Jones says:

    I love those shades great job!

  19. Traci says:

    I love the turquoise! I have a shade I need to do something with. Of course I’ve been saying that for awhile now. I need to make myself do it!

  20. Oh my, what gorgeous make overs! I’m so inspired to take on the challenge, but afraid to take the plunge! Okay, maybe I’ll give it a shot!

  21. Betsy (BB) says:

    Sonya, I love your lamps and shades! The transformations is amazing on the lamp you painted! Wow! I love the shades you made too! You are so talented!

  22. janet says:

    Oh my..How beautiful..

  23. How neat…I will never look at the lamps at the thrift store the same. They all turned out really great.
    I am your newest follower. Love your blog.

  24. Traci says:

    I love this shade. Simply gorgeous. How about a tutorial?

  25. They are both 1000 times better! Lamps are one of my favorite things to pick up at thrift stores, too. Can’t hardly stand to buy one at a “real” store anymore. I would love to see a tutorial on how you did the shade that you took down to the bare wire. That’s something I’ve never attempted before. Good job!

  26. Gypsy Heart says:

    Love both of these! I need the turquoise for my bedroom. :-) You know, when I’m looking at lamps and shades, my mind is always in gear as to how I can change them. I love putting a personal touch on them! I haven’t tried making a shade from “scratch” like you did ~ it’s just gorgeous, as all your creations are.


  27. Very pretty, Sonya. I love the turquoise color and the shade on the second one is beautiful! I just sent you an email about being featured. Hope to hear from you soon.

  28. I believe you are the lamp/pillow queen. I love all of those lamps and I guess I need to start looking more closely at lamps that aren’t quite right. Your talent is amazing.

  29. Kathy says:

    I just love your idea to redo the shades it can make a world of difference. There are always tons of lamps in thrift stores. The last crewel piece is my favorite. Thanks for sharing.

  30. Audrey says:

    Love the shade…very elegant, much prettier than the before yuckiness! I have the same illness. Life is just too short for plain jane vanilla lampshades!

  31. Sherry says:

    I am inspired, now to grab a little time. I love the two lamps in your livingroom and that last lamp shade is amazing. It is so fun to see your creative transformations.

  32. Love the chenille lampshades–very pretty!

  33. Jennelise says:

    Gorgeous! I will definitely have to try my hand at making a few shades!

  34. I really like your lamp makeover and the shades are so pretty! What amazing changes can come from a can of spray paint and a remnant of fabric!

    Thank you, Sonya, for linking to Potpourri Friday! I appreciate your participation!

  35. I really like your lamp makeover and the shades are so pretty! What amazing changes can come from a can of spray paint and a remnant of fabric!

    Thank you, Sonya, for linking to Potpourri Friday! I appreciate your participation!

  36. WHAT e Great job :)
    and do not miss…..




    WELCOME :)
    Håkan ( The Roseman)

  37. tendrplace says:

    You are so talented. They’re all beautiful. I have a hanging lamp and a bedroom lamp that could use your touch. :)

  38. I’ve got to tell you that you have one of the neatest headers on blogland. I just love it and the colors. The lamp makeover is really nice and so are the shades, it really made a difference. If you would, I’d love it if you would post on my 1st Sunday’s Best Party. You need to share!

  39. Becolorful says:

    Just wanted to stop by and let you know I featured you tonight on Motivated Monday

  40. bj says:

    My goodness, woman…you do have a way with lamps and their *hats*…:) Very pretty and that second photo made me drool…love it…just pinned it.:)
    Come over for a great giveaway…think you will like it.
    xo bj

  41. Meg says:

    What beautiful shades! I love what you have done. The current shade has beautiful fabric and I love the shades that had different panels of fabric as well. So gorgeous!

  42. Love your beautiful lamps and the shade you re-vamped is gorgeous!! Great job!

  43. They are fabulous!! I adore the blue one, they truly look like brand new lamps! Thank you so much for sharing them with us at Inspiration Friday, we featured them on our Facebook page. :)


  44. Cindy says:

    I love the fabric you used to remake your shade and with the ruffle…it is sooo pretty!
    I have a few lamp shades that I need to redo…thanks for the inspriation!

  45. So fantastic Sonya~ what gorgeous lamps and shades!! LOVE the blue!!! Thanks for sharing at FNF ! :)

  46. Chris says:

    Hi Sonya, what a wonderful job you did with the lamps. I especially love the turquoise one. Great work. I found and am following through My Romantic Home and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you could visit me also. I would love that. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  47. scarlettpruett says:

    I need to attempt lamp-shading… :)