How to Hack a Modern Euro-style Lamp Shade for an Antique Lamp
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There once was a hideous lampshade on a beautiful, classic lamp. This was a DIY project from my first apartment my freshman year of college. I’ve come a long way! Yep, I thought this looked really cool 13 years ago. My 3 year old thought it was fabulous, but I think she was being nice (and wanted to use the butterflies for her own project).
It was a bit rough from storage. You know, like something weird happened to the old glue and the plastic inside was crumbling. Plus there was the damage caused from everyone moving things around it – and not so carefully because “it’s just an ugly old lamp”.
That ugly old lamp is an antique brass floor lamp in a style that works great with our house. I pictured it in our living room which will have a “mixed metals” theme. Clearly, this lampshade wasn’t salvageable so off I went for a replacement.
At the actual, fancy lampshade store, a replacement would be $50+. I had no interest in spending that on a lamp shade for a free lamp, so I headed to Target instead where lampshades were on sale. I found one I loved, but there was one major problem.
The antique lampshade attaches on the top and side inside a glass piece that holds it in place with bends in the metal. See those little “U-shaped” bits? These can still be purchased in a limited selection for $$$ at specialty stores, but not on sale at a big box store.
Modern lampshades are designed for modern, euro-style lamps where the lampshade is attached under the light bulb. So… the metal bits go way down into the base of the lampshade which won’t work for most antique lamps.
After much Googling, I found that no one had bothered with converting a modern, inexpensive lamp shade for an antique lamp – at least not publicly. REALLY? Well, stubborn ole’ me was determined that this had to be simple. And it was. Truly simple. 5 minutes simple.
I removed the top metal ring from the old lampshade with a box cutter and a little elbow grease. A little of the original material was super stuff on so I left it, just making sure that nothing was hanging off.
Then, I snipped the metal bits out of the Target lampshade with a bolt cutter. I left 1/4″ to 1/2″ hanging down for the old ring to sit in. I left the plastic wrap on the lampshade to protect it while I was manhandling it.
Then, I flipped the new lampshade over and slipped the old ring into it, letting it rest on the upper ring that I just snipped the hangy-down part off of. If I wanted to be fancy, I could bother to bend the little bits down around the ring from the original shade, but it really didn’t matter since the new lampshade would sit on the old ring once installed.
Then I put the new lampshade with the the ring from the old lampshade onto the old lamp. The tip ring from the old lampshade is essentially an adapter for the new lampshade.
I got the selection of new lampshades for the price of a Target sale and now my old, antique brass floor lamp has a modern, mixed metal look with a white and silver shade. It goes where the Christmas tree is so for now, they are just hanging out together while I re-situate the room.
And that’s my hack to adapt a new IKEA, Target, or other budget, modern lampshade to an antique floor lamp. This should work with most lamps including those using finals.