Author Archives: Elizabeth Arnold

4 Creative Ways to Do a Lampshade Makeover

Why live with a dull-looking lampshade when you can so easily make it more exciting through DIY magic?

DIY Lampshades


If there is a room in your house suffering from the presence of an ugly old lampshade, take heart: You can transform that eyesore into a boutique-inspired beauty without having to spend loads of time or tons of dough.

Related: Trending Now: Pendant Lighting

Whether you’ve owned the lampshade for ten years or ten minutes—after all, thrift stores and yard sales so often sell vintage shades—the first step is to strip away unwanted fabric until you have a “blank canvas,” so to speak. Or start fresh with an inexpensive paper shade from your local home improvement center.

Then it’s time to get creative with things like paint, ribbon, and miscellaneous ornaments (e.g., sea glass or antique buttons). Don’t let your sense of style linger in the dark; bring your personality to light with one of these crafty DIY lampshades!



DIY Lampshades - Fabric Covered

Janell Beals Fabric-Covered Lampshade. Photo:

To give your lampshade a touch of class, cover it with paper or fabric in a toile pattern or a delicate floral print. Simply cut the material to fit, smooth it out, then adhere it to the surface of your shade with a strong and flexible adhesive (I recommend E-6000 craft glue). Trim the excess material, folding the edges over the top and bottom. (Apply trim or ribbon to conceal the edges, if you choose.) Short on time? Save yourself a step by using self-stick masking paper or wallpaper.



DIY Lampshades - Painted Stripes

Painted Lampshade. Photo:

Express your inner artist by painting the lampshade. Use spray paint for a one-tone look or combine a brush, tape, sponge and stencils to create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. The design shown above was achieved with only a one-inch foam brush, painter’s tape, and two selections of Valspar Signature paint. If you have a fabric medium, opt for acrylic, diluted latex, or specialized fabric paint. Interested in stenciling? Look for a pattern that complements your decorating scheme.



decorated lamp shade


Take a cue from Chica and Jo and glamorize your plain-Jane lampshade with eye-catching embellishments, such as flower appliques and feather trim. This whimsical approach works especially well in the casual context of a girl’s bedroom, but with a little hot glue and imagination, the possibilities are truly endless. Avoid burning your fingers with the hot glue by utilizing tweezers to set small items in place. Or skip the glue altogether in favor of vinyl-coated die-cut stickers.



DIY Lampshades - No Sew Ribbon Wrapped

No-Sew Ribbon-Wrapped Lampshade. Photo: Midwest Living

Achieve a designer look—but skip the designer price tag—with a chic ribbon-wrapped lampshade like this one from Midwest Living. Start by attaching the loose end of an eight-yard spool of ribbon to the top, inside portion of the shade. Tightly wrap the ribbon lengthwise around the shade, overlapping the edges as you go in order to create a pleated effect. Complete the project by affixing the opposite end of the ribbon to the inside of the shade (use fabric tape or a spot of glue). Want to take this approach to another level? Crisscross ribbons of different colors into a lively basket-weave pattern.

Green and Blue: Denim Is Eco-Friendly Insulation

Denim Insulation - Jeans


Next time you pull on a pair of jeans, consider this: You can use denim to keep your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Though it costs nearly twice as much as fiberglass, denim insulation (also known as cotton fiber) offers significant advantages over traditional insulation materials.

Blue and Green. If sustainability is a priority in your project, you may appreciate that denim insulation is made from post-consumer recycled natural fibers in a low carbon-footprint process. Companies collect old blue jeans and resell the loose fibers to insulation manufacturers. In this way, Bonded Logic, one of the first and largest manufacturers of denim insulation, diverts an estimated 300 tons of the material away from landfills every month.

Breathe Easier. Denim can help improve indoor air quality, because it contains no VOCs (volatile organic compounds)—chemicals that may emit polluting gases that contribute to asthma and allergies.

Denim Insulation - Batts

Ultra Touch Denim Insulation at Lowe's

Peace and Quiet. Thanks to an acoustic rating that is 30 percent higher than fiberglass, denim insulation contributes to a quieter home environment.

Lower Energy Bills. Denim insulation is available in R-values of R-13, R-19, R-21 and R-30, which means that it insulates no less well than cellulose or fiberglass insulation.

Hardwearing. Denim insulation is mold-, mildew-, and fungi-resistant. In addition, the product, typically treated with a non-toxic borate solution, boasts a Class A fire rating.

Convenience. Though it cannot be blown in, denim insulation comes in perforated batts that are as easily to install, being sized to fit between standard studs and joists.

For more on insulation, consider:

Insulation 101
Superior Insulation—for Less
Quick Tip: Proper Insulation Is Key

How To: Rewire a Lamp

How to Rewire a Lamp


You bought a beautiful antique lamp but upon closer inspection, you notice there is damage to the sheathing, the plastic cover that protects the wires. (Over time, normal wear and tear causes a plastic cord to crack or fray, exposing the wires inside.) Don’t give up on your vintage find! Instead, rewire the lamp so that it shines like new. You only need a few basic tools and a lamp rewiring kit (containing cord, plug, and socket) to restore the fixture to working order.

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Bamboo Flooring 101

Exotic in look yet inexpensive to buy, sustainably harvested bamboo flooring continues to grow in popularity as an alternative to hardwoods.

Bamboo Flooring Pros and Cons

Photo: Morning Star Bamboo

If you’re looking to install new hardwood floors, why not consider today’s eco-friendly alternative, bamboo?

Considered a renewable resource because it grows so quickly, a freshly harvested bamboo plant only takes about seven years to reach maturity again. Of course, hardwood trees like oak, ash, and maple regenerate also, but it takes them considerably longer, at least 40 or 50 years.

Related: Eco-Friendly Flooring: 5 Ways to Go Green from the Bottom Up

There’s no denying that bamboo flooring can look as beautiful as hardwood. It can even offer a comparable level of durability. But its looks and longevity depend on the variety chosen. On the one hand, there’s natural bamboo, light in color (almost blonde), which boasts twice the stability of red oak (America’s most popular flooring). On the other hand, there’s carbonized bamboo, a darker and softer, less resilient material.

Tiger Strand Bambooflooring MorningstarbambooThough comparatively few color variations are to be found in bamboo, a range of design options are available, from edge-grain planks to exotic, striped “tiger” designs. Note that solid bamboo is stronger than engineered, which consists of multiple layers. If intent on the latter, choose a product featuring a 1/4-inch-thick top layer for best results.

Coming in between $5 and $8 per square foot (before installation), bamboo flooring is on par with, or less costly, than traditional hardwoods. If you’re handy, you can install bamboo flooring by nailing or gluing it directly onto the subfloor. If you opt to have a professional install the floor, expect to pay between $3 and $5.50 per square foot.

Bamboo Flooring Pros:
• High-quality bamboo wears as well and lasts as long as traditional hardwood.
• Bamboo flooring lends a clean, modern appearance to any room.
• Bamboo is more sustainable than traditional hardwoods.
• You can easily clean bamboo flooring with a mop and mild soap; no special treatments are required.

Bamboo Flooring Cons:
• Inexpensive bamboo may be prone to dents and scratches.
• Bamboo flooring from China may contain high levels of urea formaldehyde, a toxic chemical; make sure the flooring you buy is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
• The contemporary look of bamboo may not fit in with a vintage- or antique-inspired home decor scheme.

How To: Choose Carpeting

How to Choose Carpeting

Shaw's Sneak Away Polyester Carpeting

Whether you’re remodeling the whole house or freshening up only a few rooms, new floor coverings can revive spaces that have seen better days. Usually, more expensive carpeting retains its color and pile for a longer period of time than cheaper offerings.

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