7 Super-Easy Ways to Customize a Basic Lampshade

new-bach-padA bold red shade jazzes up this otherwise neutral room in a Manhattan bachelor pad by Olasky & Sinsteden.

Custom lampshades sure sound like an enticing idea until you see the price tags, so what about customizing them yourself? Start by picking up a standard lamp shade in the dimensions you need—and yes, we’re talking about those super basic white ones you can buy for just a few bucks on Target or Amazon. Unfussy shapes like drums, tapered drums, cylinders, and squares take very well to sprucing up with a little light DIY action, so your next stop is the craft store you pass every day on the way home from work. A spool of ribbon. A few yards of fabric. Maybe a tub of Mod Podge if you don’t have one lurking in a drawer somewhere. Then find your dream lampshade on Pinterest and make it a reality. Here are seven ideas we’re running with.

Paint It

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Designer and blogger Jenny Komenda recommends using screen printing paint to coat the shade and then sanding it afterward to get rid of any paint strokes.

Dye It

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Same move without the sanding step: Buy powdered dye, add some water, brush it on, and let dry.

Cover It in Jute

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Step one: Buy a big ball of jute. Step two: Wrap it tightly around the lampshade until covered; hot glue or tie in a knot to secure.

Cover It in Fabric

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Cut the fabric to cover the shade and then break out your trusty bottle of Mod Podge to make it stick.

Add Trim

This can be as easy as hot-gluing ric rac to the top and bottom portions of the lampshade (and if you’re really feeling crafty, cut out a scalloped edge before adding).

Whipstitch the Edges

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Using ribbon or even leather cord, stitch around the top and base of the lamp in a looping fashion.

Stitch All Over

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Embrace an abstract aesthetic by stitching with thick thread all over the shade—the wackier the better.

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