InDIY & Home Improvement, Home Projects

Two Innovative Ways To Update Wall Sconces

You can update old wall sconces in your home with just the cost of spray-paint!

Bold statement maybe, but it is totally true. That is what I did in our sons’ rooms! Our 1970’s home had all of its original wall sconces; most of them outdated. I could not possibly replace them all at once; the cost would have been too much! But some had beautiful lines, and I did not want to part with them in any case, they just needed a bit of love.

How to Decide Whether or not to Update or Replace Outdated Wall Sconces

Before |

I loved the shape and lines of these wall sconces. The only thing that bothered me was the yellowish lamp shades. Typical of the 1970’s, they needed to go! I liked the wood tone as well, but had something fun in mind for my sons’ rooms.

If you have a similar situation, remove the bits (if possible) that you do not like, in my case the glass shades. Then look at the lamp and determine if you like the shape or not. If yes, can you come up with a solution to replace the parts you don’t like? Maybe search at a thrift store for replacement lamp shades, or spray-paint them.

Before |

I had trouble enough to find two matching lamp shades to replace the yellow ones with, and I needed three for each room. Each room has a double lamp and one single lamp. So I explored other options, and the result cost me two cans of spray-paint to update four wall sconces.

Be sure to also look at my previous lighting update I did for our Master Bedroom and Family room here.

Option 1: Using the Existing Glass Lamp Shades

Supplies used:

  • Paint in the colour of your choice. I would advise not to use craft pint, but a good quality interior wall- / enamel paint. I had a sample pot of Plascon Double Velvet in the colour Windblown from my Tree Mural project, so that is what I used. If you use a good quality paint, it will last longer and not fade with cleaning and sunlight.
  • Craft paint brush
  • Newspaper and painters tape
  • Rust-oleum Frosted Glass Spray-paint

We took the sconces down from the walls. I disassembled the glass lamp shades and cleaned all the parts well. Then I covered all electrical components with newspaper and painters tape and painted the wood with two light coats of the blue paint.

Option 1 Wall Sconce Update |

I sprayed the glass lampshades with the Frosted Glass spray-paint, to soften the yellow. They turned out beautifully! When everything is dry, you can assemble it again.

Painted blue lamp |

Option 2: Creating New Lamp Shades

We had about two of the yellow lamp shades where the glass had cracked, and I did not want to risk putting them back up. As mentioned above, I could not find three matching shades anywhere, so I made my own.

Supplies used:

  • Paint in the colour of your choice. We had some Plascon Double Velvet in the colour Aqua Pura left from the accent wall in our Master Bedroom, that I used.
  • Craft paint brush
  • Newspaper and painters tape
  • Plastic Fruit Juice Bottles. I used Sir Juice as I liked the cylindrical form of the bottles – they will become your lamp shade
  • Cooking oil, paper towel, a utility knife and we used a hacksaw too
  • Rust-oleum Frosted Glass Spray-paint
Supplies for new lamp shade |

When the juice bottle is empty, remove the label. To get rid of the sticky residue, rub the bottle with a paper towel soaked in cooking oil. Then clean the bottle properly with regular dish soap. Marinus cut off the cap part with a hacksaw, and I cut off the bottom with a utility knife to get the shape we needed.

After cleaning the plastic bottle again, I sprayed it with the Frosted Glass spray paint. I followed the same steps as above for painting the wood. I love these lamps, they turned out great too, and give off a soft, diffused light.

Aqua wall sconce update |

Important to note. I tested the plastic bottle first to make sure that the light bulb will not melt it. Never use incandescent light bulbs so close to plastic, it gives off too much heat. I use Compact Fluorescent bulbs in these lamps and haven’t had trouble as they generate almost no heat. LED bulbs might also be suitable. But please always test the products and put your safety first. You can read my full disclaimer here.

Painted and new shade |


As you see, it is possible, and easy too, to update outdated wall sconces without spending too much. My final tips are:

  • Decide first if the lamps are worth saving and if you can come up with a solution
  • When painting use a good quality paint to ensure durability, you don’t want to re-paint them every year
  • Frosted Glass spray-paint can do wonders to update lamp shades

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Update Your Outdated Wall Sconces
Junette |

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  • Michelle Leslie

    YESSSSSSS!!!!! You are brilliant. I love how you made a plan with empty plastic bottles to create a new shade. That is just soooooooo cool.

    June 12, 2019 at 1:09 pm Reply
    • Junette

      Thank Michelle, lighting update and recycling in one step! I was so determined to get a solution and so happy that I did!

      June 13, 2019 at 8:42 am Reply

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