How to decorate a plain lamp shade

lamp shade

You can easily add a decorative touch to a plain lampshade. You don’t have to be a designer to make your lamps unique and attractive; you just need an idea and a few materials. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Plain Lampshade
  • Fabric Glue
  • Decorative Touches (any or all of the following: Ribbons, Artificial Flowers, Rhinestones, Stencils, Fabric Paint, Sponges, Tassels, Buttons, Pebbles, Shells, Charms, and Beads)
  • Hole-puncher


  • Remove your lampshade from your lamp. Set up a work space for yourself, like at the kitchen table.

Next, try any of these decorative ideas, or a combination of a few of them:

  • Line the top and bottom rims of the lampshade with glue, then create a border with one of your decorative pieces. You could simply glue colored ribbon smoothly around the circumference of the lamp for a simple border, or you could create a border of tiny seashells, pebbles, or tassels. Rhinestone borders are also an elegant choice.
  • Use a hole-puncher to make shapes in the lampshade for light to filter out of. To make a flower, punch one hole to be the center of the flower, and then punch five holes around that hole as the petals. You could make any shape you want — heart crosses, etc. — OR you could just punch random holes or clusters. Don’t punch too many, though, or you will be defeating the fundamental purpose of a lampshade.
  • Use your hole-puncher to make holes around the top and bottom borders of the lampshade, then thread ribbon through the holes, and tie the ends into bows. You can also stick stem-less artificial flowers into the holes to create a gorgeous floral border, or you could hang charms from the holes on the bottom border so that they dangle when the lampshade is on your lamp. For the holidays, you could hang small ornaments from the holes. This is an easy option for seasonal changes in decor!
  • Use the hole-puncher to form a heart shape on your lampshade, and then fill the holes in with stem-less artificial flowers. The result is a floral heart on your lampshade. Of course, you could do any shape, or just a circle, which ends up looking like a wreath.
  • Using stencils (the shapes of your choice), you can paint designs onto the shade. Tape on the stencil, wherever you want the design to be, and then use a sponge to apply the fabric paint over the stencil. Using a sponge will prevent dripping, and it also creates a textured look.
  • Sew buttons onto the lamp, either scattered or in shape formations. You can buy so many styles of buttons — animals, plain silver buttons, heart-shaped, flowers, etc. This is a great way to make your lamp especially unique. You could also sew them along the border, or you could thread a few buttons together and have them dangling from the end of the lampshade, around its border.

These fantastic ideas are so simple! You could have a fabulous shade finished in less than an hour. They also make phenomenal gifts, and they can be made on a tight budget! You can fit almost any lampshade on almost any lamp, so you don’t need to buy a new lamp — just the shade and the materials that you want to decorate it with. Be creative, and enjoy the project!

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