Updating an Old Lamp

Category Reusing
Often times an old lamp just needs some refurbishing to give it a new life. This page is about updating an old lamp.


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After redoing my guest room, my lamp did not match the decor. Instead of purchasing a new one, I simply covered an existing one with fabric to match the room. This is a great way to recycle an outdated lamp.

Approximate Time Less than 30 minutes



  1. First, remove the shade from the lamp.
  2. Center lamp base on piece of fabric large enough to cover all sides of the base to just below the socket.
  3. Using a craft knife, cut a small "x" near the base where the cord is located. Thread the cord through the cut. (You can apply Fray Chek around the slit if fabric frays easily.)
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  5. Gather fabric loosely around base. Arrange fabric so that the folds and gathers are evenly spaced around the lamp.
  6. Secure with a rubber band at the neck of the lamp just below the socket.
  7. Fold raw edges of fabric to the wrong side (in towards lamp, and tuck under the rubber band.
  8. Tie ribbon or cord around neck of lamp to cover the rubber band.
  9. Reattach the lamp shade.

By Momof1 from Wilkesboro, NC

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It's easy (and cheap) to give new life to a boring ceramic lamp.

I purchased the ceramic lamp on sale for $4.99. I used a sponge (cut into a square and rectangle with a utility knife) and a foam stencil brush, some acrylic paint, and some spray gloss.


Dip the sponge stencil and foam brush in the acrylic paint to make a simple design. When dry, spray with a light coat of gloss.

By Laura from Long Beach, CA

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August 27, 2005

Lamps are so expensive now, so reinventing an old lamp with a new look saves a lot of money.

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February 20, 2008

Let's bring life back to an old lamp. Spray entire lamp, the base and the shade. Let dry. Take ribbon and tie around the base or tie around the shade. Glue one flower or two onto the shade.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

Can anyone give me suggestions on how to change the look of my bathroom vanity light without having to call in an electrician? It's an ugly ceiling mount over my sink. The lighting itself is good because it hangs down near the walls on each side. It is flush mounted lighting that is not good over a vanity because of the shadows it puts on your face.


Also all the ceiling fixtures I've seen are not for vanities. Have you seen any pretty fixtures that hang this way? I've checked the home improvement stores and looked online and haven't seen anything. Any way to change this look? I don't see how, but my ThriftyFun friends have came up with other solutions that I'd have never thought of.

By weinerdog41 from Ft. Worth,


February 28, 20140 found this helpful

Perhaps you could cover (wrap around) the chain with things such as garland, ribbons, bows, flowers, etc. That would hide the chain and make it look pretty. You could even do seasonal themes like Christmas, Valentines Day, etc. Good luck!

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February 13, 20170 found this helpful

I would love to have such light in my bath. Been looking for something like this for months.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

January 4, 2010

I took a lamp I've had since the early 70's that was out of style color-wise, so this is what I did to reinvent a more fashionable lamp with a pearled finish.

I bought some wrapping paper with a neutral background that had sparkles. I tore the paper into small pieces and used Plaid Decoupage Glue in glossy finish. I started to paint glue onto the gold colored glass globe base, piece by piece until I covered it.

During this first process, I let some of the glued pieces dry a bit before pasting a new batch of pieces of paper overlapping the others. Continue, pasting until you are happy with the results, then give the covered globe several coats of the Plaid Decoupage gloss finish glue, let dry between coats.

The added bonus, the defused light in the base showed through some of the glued pieces.

The photo shows the before and after!

By Syd from Dunkirk, MD


Updating an Old Lamp

That looks great! Thanks for sharing. (06/07/2007)

By Sara C

Updating an Old Lamp

Call me crazy, but I actually love the original lamp. Another way to update it would be to get a more contemporary shade, maybe a shorter triangular one.


You did a great job though. Easy and clear directions, and the pearl one looks very professionally done. (06/07/2007)

By Jess (TF Editor)

Updating an Old Lamp

I'm impressed! I would change the shade though. (06/07/2007)

By Beth

Updating an Old Lamp

That really does look updated! Nice work, you have an eye for current style. (06/07/2007)

By Kim Ch

Updating an Old Lamp

This is just the idea I need! I have a lamp close to that style, only smaller. The shade is a dusty rose color and the glass is an awful gold! Ewww! My mom bought it at a garage sale for 50 cents. Thanks for the directions. (06/07/2007)

By Laurie

Updating an Old Lamp

This is Syd. Thanks for all the positive comments.

It's hard trying to find a shade that's reasonable. I looked at a few in a lighting decorator shop...Wow! This lamp sits on a marble coffee type table in front of a bow window, so a taller type shade is needed. Maybe I'll find one at a yard sale! The best part is that I still have an old gold one as well as the updated one, in case I want to change things around. (06/08/2007)

By Syd

Updating an Old Lamp

Love this idea! Looks really nice! (06/08/2007)

By Heather

Updating an Old Lamp

Suggestion; replace the electric cord. If it's from the 70s, then it's plumb worn out. Your lamp conversion is truly inspired. (06/09/2007)

By Holly

Updating an Old Lamp

What a great idea! I have thought of covering different things with paper or cloth in the past, but have never gotten around to it. I see this type of lamp at the thrift stores sometimes, and I love the light in the base, but never the color of the glass. Next time I come across a pair cheap enough, I might just give your idea a try. Thanks for the inspiration.

By roxanne

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