Dingy, Dated Lamps to Clean, Modern Lamps

5 Materials
3 Hours

We recently moved and as we've been unpacking, organizing, and rearranging, we decided that our bedside lamps were a better fit in our guest room. That left us without bedside lamps. I honestly wasn't really looking for new lamps when I walked into one of our local Habitat Restores, but I spotted two lamps with great shape for $8 each. They clearly needed some updating but I saw the potential.

Here is what I started with: shiny gold lamps with long, fringed, pleated lampshades. The gold was also starting to wear in some spots so it was a little blotchy.

The first thing I did was remove the lampshades and cover the bulb sockets and cords. I used an automotive primer because I knew it would hold the paint well on the shiny, smooth metal. Fun side note: I was originally going to use the primer and then cover it with a light gray, but after two coats of the primer, I was happy with the primer gray color and didn't end up using any more paint.

While the paint was drying, I started working on the lampshades. Removing the fringe and pleated fabric was a very easy task. I wanted a shorter lampshade, so I cut off a small chunk from the bottom. Before cutting, I measured an inch and a half up from the bottom and marked it all the way around to ensure an even cut.

I picked up one yard of fabric (on clearance!). I rolled the shade on the fabric, using a pencil to create a line for the pattern. You may not be able to see in the photos, but I cut about an inch above the line, to make sure I had enough material to fold over the ends of the shade.

The Gorilla Glue spray adhesive worked great to adhere the fabric to the lampshade. I would spray a small space and then slowly press the fabric into place.

Once the shades were completely covered, I knew I was going to need a bottom trim to give it a more finished look. Instead of buying or making a new trim, I cut off the fringe from the original trim. Using a glue gun, I wrapped the trim around the bottom.

Before and after.

And here they are in their new home.

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Frequently asked questions

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3 of 4 questions
  • David McIntosh David McIntosh on Jan 18, 2019

    Nice Job!

    I would love to see the seam on the back of the fabric... Did you fold under the edges and do a but joint or did you overlap it? I know it is hidden in the back... but was that challenging to accomplish?

  • D D on Jan 18, 2019

    When you wrapped the material around the lamp how did you deal with the extra material on the top of the lamp? The bottom is wider than the top.

  • Doreen Kennedy Doreen Kennedy on Jan 18, 2019

    I’d like to recover a few lamp shades, but I’m having a hard time finding the right kind of fabric to use. Any ideas on what fabric category I should look at such as upholstery, home, polyester or ? Thanks.


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2 of 21 comments
  • Annablue516 Annablue516 on Feb 03, 2019

    nice job!

  • Dana Pearce Dana Pearce on Feb 09, 2019

    Thanks!! I have 3 pair of the brass lamps I use for staging. I haven't used them for a long time because they are so outdated. Now I can paint them and have added 3 new sets to my inventory. Wonderful.