Upholstery Restorations: How To Revive Old Lampshades

Floor and table lamps provide lighting and add style to your home. While lampshades can get dingy and frayed, there is no need to throw them out. Reupholstering old lampshades is a great way to revive them. We have searched several sources to bring you an inclusive listing of ways to revive your old lampshades. 

If you find yourself with a lamp you love but a lampshade that could use some work, don't get rid of it. You can easily spruce up your old lampshade.

From cleaning the fabric to completely changing the material, you can make your old lampshade look new. We will discuss the following ways to restore the upholstery on an old lampshade in further detail:

  1. Re-cover the lampshade with fabric
  2. Paint designs or letters on the existing fabric
  3. Cover the lampshade with wallpaper or decoupage paper
  4. Apply different embellishments to the lampshade
  5. Use the gold leaf to decorate the lampshade
  6. Stenciled pattern
  7. Roping design
  8. Mosaic look
  9. Add embroidery
  10. Sweater shade
  11. Fringe
  12. Washi tape

Deciding how to revive a lamp is one of many issues you may encounter during a decorating project. You may wonder how to clean a lampshade or remove tarnish from the lamp itself. You may ask yourself what materials can be used on a lampshade or which ones remove tarnish. We will answer these questions and discuss other closely related topics, so keep reading!

How To Revive An Old Lampshade

Consider your lampshade a work of art instead of merely a fixture. You can have fun with different colors, patterns, or materials when reviving an old shade.

Note that you should use caution when reviving an old lampshade. Keep in mind that LED or CFL lights won't get as hot as other kinds of lightbulbs, so they won't melt or damage the materials on your lampshade.

Pretty much any material that isn't heat sensitive and won't melt will do when it comes to using fabrics on a lampshade. Remember that synthetic fabrics can become discolored when exposed to long periods of heat. 

You can also replace the backbone of your lampshade with any frame that won't melt or warp from the heat of the light. Household items such as cheese graters or metal colanders can be used. 

Here are some options for redoing an old shade.

1. Re-cover The Shade 

The green fabric lampshade at the magazine. colorful, decorative, electrical, furniture, illumination, lamp, lampshade, style, textile, abstract background, hanging lamp, interior design.

Give your room a customized look by using a unique colored fabric with fun patterns or designs. Find an eye-catching fabric to cover your lampshade with for a lamp with character. 

Attach the fabric to the outside of your lampshade by using spray adhesive. You can mix and match different fabrics on your lampshades for an eclectic look in your space. 

2. Paint Designs Or Letters On The Fabric

Adding a few simple details to your lampshade fabric can make a significant difference. Simple designs like flowers, plants, or letters work well on lampshades. 

Use samples of colored paints to paint letters or designs on the outside of your lampshade. Use stencils for a cleaner look or freehand the design for a more rustic appearance. 

3. Use Wallpaper Or Decoupage Paper

Leftover wallpaper and decoupage paper work well for covering an old lampshade. Use wallpaper that coordinates with your room or use the same wallpaper that you have on your walls for a fun, cohesive look. 

Covering your lampshade with decoupage paper can add an antique look to your lamp. Place the wallpaper or decoupage paper inside the lampshade for a subtle pattern or color. 

4. Apply Different Embellishments 

Embellishments are a fun way to add some life to your old lampshade. A hot glue gun is all you need to add character to the shade. 

Buttons and ribbons can be an inexpensive way to jazz up your lampshade. Have fun placing these embellishments on the shade in different patterns, such as a chevron or stripes. 

5. Gold Leaf Decoration

Abstract torn piece of metal leaf (potal) paper on white background. Gold and bronze color.

Add some glitz and glamour to your space by adding gold leaf to the shade. This thin sheet of gold is sure to give your lamp and room a rich glow. 

Gold leaf is available in rose gold and silver. You can coat the inside of the lampshade with gold leaf to give your lampshade a unique, updated look. 

6. Stenciled Pattern

For a subtle lampshade design, consider adding a stenciled pattern. Use a fun design in a simple color on a lampshade with plain material. 

You can make a stencil out of plastic or purchase the design of your choice at your local craft supply store. For a fun touch, stencil the design onto the inside of your lampshade. 

7. Roping Design

Table lamp with wood and rope detail in different design

To create a rustic boho accent for your room, all you need is a long section of rope or macrame cord and a hot glue gun. Cover the lampshade as much or as little as you want to achieve the desired results. 

You can change the direction of your roping for a unique, eye-catching look. You can also hang a rope from the edge of the lampshade to create a stylish fringe. 

8. Mosaic Look

Add a modern urban feel to your home with a mosaic tile lampshade. You can use hot glue to secure mosaic glass tiles to the shade. 

Instead of grout, consider using small beads in the gaps between the tile for some added bling. Mosaic glass tile can also be used to accent other lampshade designs. 

9. Add Embroidery

cozy embroidered lampshades with lamps and soft light hang in the house

For a classic, fun look, embroider a design straight onto your fabric lampshade. You can be as creative as you want with your embroidered design. 

This look is colorful and simple and can add tons of character to your space. Create cohesion by using a design that already exists in your room for your embroidery project. 

10. Sweater Shade

Don't throw out that old sweater that accidentally shrunk in the dryer. Put it to good use. You can wrap your lampshade in the sweater for a cozy, classic look. 

You can cut the sweater straight across under the arms and glue the body of the sweater to the existing lampshade. You will need to trim off any excess material for clean results. 

11. Fringe

isolated close up shot of a classic cut corner bell shaped burgundy deep red lampshade with a beaded fringe on a white background

Adding fringe to the edge of your lampshade can bring style to your home. You can line your lampshade edges with a thin rope fringe or beaded fringe for extra pizzazz.

You can revive the shade with a fresh pop of bright color or tone down a loud design with some neutral-colored fringe. Leave a longer fringe on a standing lamp and a shorter fringe on a table lamp. 

12. Washi Tape

Washi tape rolls for handcrafts.

Washi tape is a colorful Japanese tape that comes in bold colors and patterns for a fun look. You can add tape around the lampshade to create a striped pattern. 

Try mixing and matching Washi tape colors and patterns to create a fun, eclectic lampshade. Washi tape can also be used to accent a wallpapered or decoupaged lampshade for a stylish, detailed look. 

How Do You Clean An Old Fabric Lampshade?

After unplugging your lamp, inspect the lampshade to see if it is secured with stitching or glue. Glued lampshades should not be immersed in water. 

For white lampshades, fill a bathtub with warm water and a few drops of detergent and baking soda. Gently scrub the lampshade with a rag before rinsing the soap from it. 

How Do You Remove Tarnish From A Brass Lamp?

Retro style copper, brass or bronze luminaire on red brick vaulted ceiling. Horizontal orientation, selective focus. - Upholstery Restorations: How To Revive Old Lampshades

To make a natural remedy for removing tarnish on a brass lamp, just combine some lemon juice and baking soda. Use the juice from half of a lemon and a spoonful of baking soda to form a paste. 

For heavy tarnish, coat the lamp with the paste and let it sit for 30 minutes. Remove the paste with warm water and repeat if needed. 

Does Aluminum Foil Remove Tarnish?

Aluminum foil is great at removing tarnish from silver. Simply line a container with foil and add baking soda with boiling water to cover silver items. 

Abrasive cleansers can remove silver along with the tarnish. Use caution with this method so that your silver pieces do not touch each other when cleaning.

Final Thoughts

Lamps are so much more than fixtures that bring light to a room. With so many ways to restore worn, tattered lampshades, choosing the right method can be difficult. 

Whether you choose to completely recover a shade or simply apply some extra bling, there is a method for you. We hope that the above listing of restoration ideas will help with your decorative project. 

Before you go, here are some other articles that may be of help:

Does Gorilla Glue Work On Metal

Wood Glue Vs. Super Glue: What Are The Differences?

25 Types Of Crafts You Can Try – The Ultimate List

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