How to Makeover a Lamp

Brighten up an old lamp with this easy makeover idea.

Makeover Lamp

Brighten up an old lamp by covering the shade with fabric (choose a pretty pattern or a bold solid).


  • Measuring tape
  • Drum lampshade (the columnar shape is easy to work with, and you can place the fabric seam in back so it’s hidden)
  • 1 yard of fabric (lightweight cotton is a good choice; avoid heavy materials that will block out too much light)
  • Scissors
  • Hot-glue gun

Step 1: Measure the height and circumference of the lampshade. Add 2 inches to each measurement and cut the fabric to that size. (If the fabric has a pattern, be careful to keep the material straight as you cut.) You will end up with a rectangle that’s slightly larger than the shade.

Step 2: Place one of the short ends of the fabric rectangle vertically down the shade’s back seam. Secure with hot glue (one long line should be enough).

Step 3: Pull the fabric tightly around the shade. (Note: It helps to have two people on hand for this step.) Fold the end over by about ½ inch to create an attractive finished edge. Meanwhile, have your helper place a line of hot glue along the end you glued in the previous step (or do so yourself as you hold the fabric in place with your other hand).

Step 4: Press the folded edge into the line of glue so the fabric is held firmly around the shade. The pattern might not match up perfectly, but that’s OK because the seam will be in back.

Step 5: Fold over the excess fabric at the top and bottom of the shade and glue it along the inside lip. (Again, it might be helpful to have someone handle the glue gun while you press the fabric into the line of glue as it’s applied, making your way around the shade. You might need to use scissors to cut small slits in the fabric so you can fold it around the metal arms of the shade.)

  • Tip: Wide fabric shades are typically a fair distance away from the bulb, so there’s no need to worry about the glue melting when you turn on the light.


Excerpted from Young House Love by Sherry and John Petersik (Artisan Books, 2012)