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Happy Hour : Limitless Lampshades

Every been in a restaurant when it turns "Happy Hour?" You notice the mood instantly changes as everyone is ready for fun. Whenever I'm having a Bad Hair Day, my cure is always a personal Happy Hour. Of course, I'm hopeless addicted to interiors; so for me, this hour is all about decorating. In this series, we'll look at some quick and happy mood changers for our very own Happy Hour. Each should take about an hour - a mere 60 minutes - to perk up our minds and our rooms. Let's get the party started.

For this Happy Hour, first published in 2019, how about taking a look at the lampshades in our rooms? The lampshade above would be easy for any dabbler in watercoloring. I'd imagine using a waterproof marker for the black fine edges would make the project earlier. If you already have the right size shade, how about trying one of these quick ideas to update your existing lamp shade? All could easily be done in under an hour and I promise your room will have a whole new look.


Before we get to easy lampshade decor, let's look at a wild lampshade. Sometimes, the lamp speaks for itself and the lampshade is just along for the ride. Other times, a $20 basic lamp is more than passable - what gives it away as generic is the lampshade. This spectacular earthy shade is the perfect size for the lamp. The right lampshade is a little oversized and covers almost all the lamp hardware. While an unconventional material, don't you love the combination of willow and old metal?

PAINT. For a solid finish, paint using broad strokes. With one coat, your brush marks will reveal a pattern when the lamp is turned on. Two or three coats make the shade opaque and glowing. Spray paint makes another pattern. Don't forget to paint the inside using horizontal strokes. Once you have a solid background, consider painting a picture. A mountain scene is very site specific but wouldn't it be perfect in a woodsy room, filled with grey linen slipcovered furniture and mossy green pillows? The possibilities are endless.

PAINT A PATTERN. Classic Italian half shades are a favorite and this one is done in Fortuny paper. For an inexpensive option, how about painting a pattern on a plain shade? You can draw or trace with a pencil and then "paint by numbers."

Or try a stencil for a stunning result.


TRIM. Trim can be a simple as gluing a band of color to as detailed as expensive fringe. Since you probably need less than a yard, a sumptuous trim won't break the bank and there are a zillion beautiful trims available. Trim can also be fun - how about jumbo rickrack in a child's room?

WRITE. Using a Sharpie, write out the words - a favorite song lyric, a love letter, quotes from a movie - there are limitless ideas.

EMBRODIERY. This lampshade sings! (Alex Holtz)

MAKE A SHADE. Using the wire framing from an old shade, sew up your own shades. These in linen are amazingly dramatic.

pinterest (birmingham,alamba)

EMBRACE A SIMPLE SHADE. A lampshade can also be a perfect accent piece. For example, every room needs a bit of black. Think of it as a perfectly made up face needing a swipe of black eyeliner. For a more formal look, try a glossy black lampshade with a gold interior to reflect ambient light.

Have you found a shade that could use a new look? Have fun and let me know how this Happy Hour goes. A simple refresh will recharge your room. Promise.

top photo : pinterest


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