CHIC By Claire Livingston "Freshen up your Lampshades"

Claire’s Home Ideas Center
By Claire Livingston

When you want to freshen up your décor, one of the easiest things to do is change those old, worn, dirty, or dated lampshades.
When possible, take your lamp with you when shopping for a new shade. If you can’t, take a picture of the lamp and write down the dimensions.
Here are some general guidelines for buying a lamp shade. The width of the shade for a table lamp should be 1½ to 2 times the width of the lamp—never narrower than the lamp.
The height of a shade should be about ¾ the height of the lamp.
Changing the size of the harp may make your shade fit better. Measure the distance from the washer at the top of the shade to the bottom of the shade. The number you get—8”, 10”, or 12”—is the size harp you need.
Make sure the shade completely covers the bulb and the metal socket. Your shade should just barely cover the switch. Try different sized harps or add a shade riser to fine-tune your shade fit.
Or you can take the shades you already have and personalize them with your own touches. Here is a great look from my friend and interior designer, Tippi McMichael.
For these lamps, she used a burlap bag in which coffee beans are imported. She cut sections of the bag the width of the shades. Then she sprayed the burlap with spray adhesive and carefully glued it to the shade. Another pair of hands might come in handy at this point.
For the trim, she took scraps of cloth, twisted them together, and hot-glued them onto the top and bottom edges of the shade.
Most any type of fabric would work for this project. And you can use ribbon or fringe as the trim. As always, I’d love to see what you create so email your pictures to me.
Claire Livingston is an interior designer, public speaker, and workshop facilitator. Send your ideas and comments to her at

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