Recovering a Lampshade

There are two large categories of lampshades – hardback lampshades and silk or soft lampshades.  There are two primary differences between a hardback lampshade and a silk lampshade:  the inside composition of the lampshade and whether the shade is constructed with only a top ring and a bottom ring, or, alternatively, are the top and bottom rings connected by vertical wires thereby creating a 3-dimensional frame.


The distinction between hardback and silk or soft shade is important in determining whether a lampshade can be repaired, or whether the only alternative is a replacement.  In general…..soft or silk shades can be repaired, and hardback lampshades cannot be repaired…… but, there are exceptions!

In either case if the decorative trim at the top or bottom of your lampshade is soiled or compromised, we can work with you to identify another trim and replace the trim on your lampshade.

Silk Lampshade Repairs

We have repaired many silk shades.  There are two primary problems that arise with silk shades. 

  • Inner Lining Damage
  • Outer Fabric Damage

The first is that the inner lining can become very thin over time, and ultimately will tear and fall out.  The solution for this occurrence is to reline the lampshadeRelining a Lampshade  

The second issue that can occur with a silk lampshade is that the outer fabric is damaged.  It may be stained, torn, or has faded over time.  Typically, when there is damage to the outer fabric of a silk lampshade, the inner lining is also compromised.  In this instance, the solution will be to recover the lampshade.  Recovering the lampshade requires multiple steps;  the original shade must be de-constructed, the lampshade frame needs to be cleaned and rehabbed, new patterns must be created for both the outside of the lampshade as well as for the lining; the fabric must be prepared and then cut; the new fabrics are applied to the outside and the inside of the lampshade – either stretched or pleated, and finally, vertical piping and finishing trims are applied to the top and the bottom of the outside of the lampshade.  In some cases, another decorative trim may be applied to the shade as well.   The following are some examples of lampshades that we have recovered for our customers.

The only time we discourage relining or recovering a silk lampshade is when the shade frame is bent or broken.  In the case of a bent or broken lampshade frame, we recommend replacement.  Our lampshade frame manufacturers are adept at creating and matching existing lampshade frames.  At this point, however, it is possible that we have entered the area of a custom lampshade, which, though usually remarkable, are also generally expensive.

Hardback Lampshade Repairs

Whereas most silk lampshades can generally be repaired, the same is not true of hardback lampshades.  Instead, the only repair that is generally possible on a hardback lampshade is to re-attach a top or bottom ring that has come loose or fallen out.  In this case, we can re-insert the original ring, or, we can replace the ring with a new ring and replace the binding tape and the decorative trim.

Similar to the silk lampshades, we are able to recover a hardback lampshade….meaning, we remove the fabric and plastic lining from the top and bottom rings of the hardback lampshade, and we re-create the lampshade.  Generally, we would not go through this procedure for a simple empire or drum lampshade, but at times, we are presented with a unique style and we can use the original wires and create a new lampshade:

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