How to Decorate Lighting

Ugly or outdated lighting fixtures can sap a room's decorative flair. Unfortunately, there may be reasons why you can't replace your existing fixtures. If you are a renter, you may not be allowed to make substantive changes to light fixtures or other hardwired elements. If you have a very low budget, you may not be able to afford to update your ugly light fixtures with newer, more attractive models. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to decorate lighting and improve the appearance of your existing fixtures without spending much money or time.


  1. Image titled Decorate Lighting Step 1
    Replace the lamp shade. Shaded fixtures are easy to update by simply fitting them with a new shade. A clean, classic drum pendant shade in white or beige will quickly modernize your ugly light fixture's appearance, while a quirky vintage shade can help you establish an eclectic look.
  2. Image titled Decorate Lighting Step 2
    Decorate the existing shade. A cheaper solution than buying a new shade is decorating your existing shade. Ribbon or lace can be glued onto the edges for an elegant, feminine update. For a more playful update, you can add beads, embroidery, or even seashells to the lamp shade.
  3. Image titled Decorate Lighting Step 3
    Paint the light fixture's hardware. Another inexpensive way to update the look of a light fixture is by painting its metal hardware a new color. A light fixture with attractive lines but an ugly brass finish, for instance, can be improved using a coat of your favorite spray paint. Use a metal primer before painting the metal to ensure that the paint will not chip or blister.
  4. Image titled Decorate Lighting Step 4
    Add an attractive bulb to your light fixture. If the bulbs of your light fixture are visible, you can replace them with designer bulbs that are intended to be exposed. Several manufacturers produce "Edison" style bulbs that mimic the soft glow of early 20th-century light bulbs. A company called Plumen produces compact fluorescent bulbs in attractive, unique shapes.
  5. Image titled Decorate Lighting Step 5
    Wrap a chain cover around the existing chain. If you have a chandelier or pedant lamp with an unattractive chain supporting its cord, you can hide the chain using a decorative chain cover. These covers are made from bunched fabric such as silk, and can quickly update the look of your ceiling light fixture. These covers can also be used to hide bare cords running along ceilings.
  6. Image titled Decorate Lighting Step 6
    Affix new hardware to the light fixture. A very inexpensive way to improve a dated fixture is by adding new hardware. Pull chains, decorative cords, and new bulb covers can all be purchased at the hardware store for less money than replacing the fixture altogether.


  • If you want to replace a light fixture inexpensively, you can search thrift stores and flea markets for secondhand finds. Vintage d├ęcor stores will also carry attractive used lighting fixtures, but will charge more for them.
  • Note that if you paint or otherwise decorate a lamp shade with colored materials, the light cast by the fixture will be tinted accordingly.

Things You'll Need

  • Lamp shade
  • Ribbon or lace
  • Metal primer
  • Spray paint
  • Edison bulb
  • Chain cover
  • Pull chain

Article Info

Categories: Home Decorating