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On Adding Quirk – The Case For Fun Sconce Shades In Our Farmhouse Living Room – Emily Henderson


I’m not super proud of how risk-averse I was/am in this house when renovating it, but y’all I’m comfortable with the choices (and myself LOL) because I don’t want to redo any of the hard fixtures in a house, like EVER. So with a lot of the choices, I simply asked myself what was beautiful, functional, appropriate for a farmhouse, and relatively timeless/classic (as much as you can predict that). For the living room, I chose the best lighting for the room since it was dark and we didn’t have overhead recessed lights. I went with a classic shaped sconce with a fabric shade that would be dimmable and therefore provide the exact type of lighting that I like to experience in a room (even but not bright and totally adjustable). GREAT. I love these sconces – the shape is elegant and they work well with all the lighting in the kitchen, sunroom, etc. But as I am now adding another layer of quirk that is to say, more temporary and still me, I fantasized about changing the shades on these sconces from white to well, something more interesting – whether it’s shape, color, fabric, or texture.

I blame my 4-H years for this fantasy. Sadly, I don’t have any photos but I recovered MANY a lampshade in calico fabric (mostly Victorian shades which are so time-consuming, but many drum shades, too). So it’s easy for me to access the possibilities.

So on a Saturday morning, while the kids are watching their precious Mr. Beast (our approved YouTube channel that doesn’t make me want to pull the TV off the wall and burn it), I set to fantasizing about what these shades could be. And let me be clear, the white shades that come with the sconces are GREAT and I def plan on keeping them, but I’m curious if there is a way to switch them out for a while that will do something interesting to the room. Me thinks yes.

Custom Scallop Shades?

Linen Scalloped Lampshade | Raffia Scalloped Lampshade

These are an easy “yes” – so cute, fun, yet this shape has been around forever (the scallop is classic in my book, the squiggle is not – no offense to any squiggles reading this). But my team was lukewarm to these – perhaps they are actually too expected at this point? This Etsy maker can make most colors and sizes, and I was most drawn to the black. But after my team’s reaction, I thought maybe these are too predictable right now?

Custom Rounded Pleated Shades?

Handmade Scallop Shades | Elongated Scallop Shades

I like these a TON. They are sweet, cool, and classic. Great. I’m specifically drawn to the more elongated ones in the mossy green (similar to our sofas). Shall we? Now something to remember is that we have 8 sconces in our living room so these would be quite the investment. Because this is my job I can write it off and justify it, but let’s be clear 8 of these are not nothing.

DIY Painted Or Hand Drawn Shades?

Emily Henderson Fun Mini Lampshades Handpainted
gretchen mocked up this very cute idea!

I mean, YES. How incredible would this be if done right? Now if we didn’t need 8 in a room that already has a lot going on I might consider this more, but I’m nervous about doing anything too artistic on 8 sconces. However, a tiny stripe could be ok, but I don’t know…I fear that it will look like exactly what it is – like some amateur who wanted to make their lampshades more quirky so they DIY’d a paint job that looked kinda dumb in this house, in this room, on these particular more serious sconces. I think this could work so well on a differently shaped sconce, in a room that felt more wacky and fun. But y’all should definitely try this.

Added A Striped Trim With Fabric Tape Or Ribbon?

Emily Henderson Fun Mini Lampshades Ribbon Tape

Gretchen threw out this idea and I LOVE IT. Obviously, we’d love to use the lampshades as-is so we are going to shop for a trim – either fabric tape (I’m totally blanking on the name but the ones that are already finished on both edges and you fold it over and iron it) or a patterned or grosgrain ribbon.

Recover in Patterned Fabric?

Emily Henderson Fun Mini Lampshades New Fabric
just some pretty ideas fyi, not official options:)

Top Left Clockwise: Trail | Raindrops | Market Stripe | Mini Check

I am so not opposed to it (although a more permanent change, for sure). Now, we do need to really use these sconces for light so the fabric couldn’t be too thick like velvet (would indeed be pretty), and I don’t want anything too country or sweet like a ticking stripe. We also have enough plaid in here so unless I found a perfect floral (which is SO HARD TO FIND) I don’t know if I could do this. But now that I think about it, Kelly Ventura or Rebecca Atwood might have a print that could work???!!!

I really miss living in New York in times like these. I would go to the fabric and ribbon district and just shop for hours scouring for the perfect ribbon and M&J trimmings for these shades. While you can do a lot online, fabrics are one of the few things that you really have to touch and see in person (IMHO).

Anyway, I’m not in a crazy rush and we have a big shoot here in March that I want to have them white for so if we alter the original shades I’ll wait til after then. But you can definitely expect to follow along on the process and weigh in kindly in the comments. xx

Opening Image Credits: Photo by Kaitlin Green | From: Farmhouse Living Room Reveal



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