30+ Upcycling Ideas for Vintage Lamps and Lamp Shades

30+ Upcycling Ideas for Vintage Lamps and Lamp Shades

There are a LOT of old and vintage lamps at thrift stores. And don’t even get me started on the lamp shades! It is positively amazing how many there are to choose from. But the good news is that there are a LOT of upcycling ideas for them both. From antique lamps to old brass lamps…to painting lamp shades, there are any number of ways to revamp them.

And surprise, surprise…I’ve completed a few repurposed projects myself! I’ve upcycled some small lamp shades into hanging baskets for potted herbs

hanging herb baskets from lampshade frames

And turned a brass table lamp into a bird bath for our backyard, just to name a couple.

diy birdbath that was made from a vintage lamp and a glass dish

But my upcycling projects really only scratch the surface, I assure you! So, I gathered some amazing ideas for upcycling old lamps and lamp shades to inspire you on your next thrifting excursion.

There are upcycling ideas for basic lamp makeovers for “ugly lamps” (like this one shown below), as well as ideas for completely repurposing the lamp itself into something new and different. painting a brass lamp

And the same goes for vintage lamp shades. The fabric and metal shades, mind you. Glass shades and globes are handled in this separate blog post!

From painting them, to recovering them with unique materials, and to using the metal frame for something else entirely.

As a note – these are all repurposed projects made from existing lamps and lamp shades. Not to be confused with DIY lamps made by upcycling other items – that’ll be a different blog post later on!

Upcycling Ideas for Vintage Lamps and Lamp Shades

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Did any of these ideas inspire you to take a second look at the lamp shades and lamps available at a thrift store? There is SO much inspiration here, and I’ve actually got a lamp in the garage that is desperate for a makeover.

solar floor lamp for outdoor decor

Plus, I even gave a lamp a flannel makeover in my book, “Crafting with Flannel”!

fabric wrapped lamp from crafting with flannel

And I definitely want to upcycle a larger lamp shade…I just need to think of a fabulous idea first!

If you enjoyed this collection of upcycling ideas for antique lamps, then these repurposed light fixtures and glass globes might be of interest to you, as well!

Upcycling ideas and repurposed projects for vintage light fixtures, glass globes, ceiling fan light covers, and hanging lights compiled by Sadie Seasongoods

Craft on!


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Repurposed Projects and upcycling ideas for antique lamps, vintage floor lamps and vintage lamp shades as compiled by Sadie Seasongoods

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. Karen Benitez says

    I love how many different ideas your mind comes up with! You’re an inspiration, Sarah!

  2. I always cruise by the lamps at the thrift store to see if anything catches my eye. There are so many great projects included here, thank you so much for including my lamp garden totem!


  3. Naomi Shelton says

    I love these ideas! Gotta go to my stash; I know I have some lamps that need re-purposing! Thanks for the ideas.

  4. Love these ideas! I’ve got a pretty terrible lamp begging me for an upgrade… thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Robbie Gregory says

    Out of all the tutorials, etc. Yours is always my favorite!

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