How To DIY – A New Lampshade


I have written before about how changing the lampshade can totally freshen up a corner. And, if you’ve painted a few walls but don’t want/need a new sofa then swapping the cushions about and changing the lampshades will have a huge impact. You can also change lampshades seasonally – paler ones that diffuse light all round in the dark days of winter and more dramatic floral ones that add decor but perhaps don’t allow quite as much light through in summer.

lampshades by the haines collection
lampshade by the haines collection lamp by laurielamps

The top two images show shades that Jules has made for me (I did tell you I was more of a ASETDI – ask someone else to do it) which I swap seasonally. The lamp above, which came from Laurie Lamps has has a dark green shade that I use sometimes and I sometimes I stick on an old burgundy one I have and this is the one I tend to use in winter when I need the light more. The lamp below came with a rattan shade that is currently on a base in my office and this is making a change in the library.

So for advice on how to recover your shades I turned to Jules Haines, founder of The Haines Collection, who runs workshops (you can sign up here) and also sells leftover fabrics and seconds from some of the big name design houses in small amounts so you can buy a little bit for a lampshade and know that you are saving it from landfill as well as, potentially, bringing some high end designer material into your home that might otherwise cost a small fortune. Winning all round.

Jules has a set of instructions on her site and, as with last week’s  DIY post on how to do your own panelling, I’m not going to copy out all the instructions. What I will say is learn from my failures and read the instructions all the way through first to make sure you understand them. I am constantly doing this wrong with recipes and starting to cook something 20 minutes before dinner and then realising that step four is “simmer for an hour”…

lampshades by the haines collection
lampshade by the haines collection lampbase by emma jane palin for kalinko

In addition to having the instructions on her site Jules also sells kits for £45 which includes everything you need to make your own 30cm drum shade with a choice of three fabrics. This might be a good way to start and then you can simply choose from all her fabrics if you want to re-cover another shade that you already own. Or you might want to dive straight in and not need one of her kits. The instructions tell you everything you will need and, of course, it’s great to buy material from here as you are actively saving it from landfill. For those who are new to the site, you can buy from as little as one metre and there are lots of designer fabrics that might otherwise have a minimum length requirement and/or would cost much more to buy.

So get stuck in. Let me know if you are going to give it a go.

Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. Done a lot of lampshades already so been there, done that. Totally a DIY person here 🙂 Have yet to find a skill that youtube can’t teach me…
    I really recommend if you don’t already have a lampshade to use then get them at your local thrift store!!! There are soooo many old lampshades that can be used again! If they are a bit yellow on the inside spray paint works really well to freshen up the color.

  2. Can I also suggest Dannells who sell everything you need and have great video instructions online .
    As I am also struggling to even afford ASETDI, I am doing an Adult Ed class in soft furnishings/upholstery once a week. Take your own project! All the ladies ( and it is all ladies) are working on curtains, headboards, chairs, lampshades. Amazing value for money, fab instruction and very sociable. Suggest this could be a good option for some people!

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