Lampshades can't be this expensive, can they?
January 17, 2017 3:13 PM   Subscribe

Hola mefi!, The ladybro and I signed a lease on the apartment of our dreams. Then we went back at night to get the keys and... Oh no. The lighting is, shall we say, juvenile penitentiary chic. Thankfully, it seems fixable with some LED bulbs and some new shades for the flush mounts. So, I hop online and lamp shades are apparently the hot new investment commodity because the market is on fire- I can barely find something below $100.

This can't be the case, can it? My current plan is to hit Target, buy a lamp and chuck the lamp portion. Why are individual shades so expensive? Its got me thinking that there must be a Zenni Optical of home decor. Is there? I'm way out of my depth on this subject and appreciate any hot tips you might have!
posted by GilloD to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ikea? I'm not sure what type of lampshade you're looking for but their "build your own lamp" section lets you buy shades on their own.
posted by btfreek at 3:17 PM on January 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

You don't have to chuck the lamps to get the shades. Just buy shades. You can get them at Target. IKEA has them for like 10 bucks, too.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:18 PM on January 17, 2017 [4 favorites]

Well... I just go on Amazon and look around until I find something I like? Certainly nowhere near $100.

I am obviously extremely lucky, because my local thrift store is a pipeline for Tiffany-style lamps and when I went in there before Xmas I found even more lamps, which I couldn't buy because I had no more places to put lamps.

Then I realized! I didn't have to use the lamp! Just the shade! So I went back, and of course there was only one lamp left and it didn't have the kind of shade you can fit to a ceiling fitting. But it might have.

So try your thrift store, maybe you will find some nice lamps there and you could just use the shades.
posted by tel3path at 3:21 PM on January 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

Can you post photos? I feel like you're getting recommendations for the types of cone-shaped shades you see on table lamps when you're looking for something that mounts on a ceiling.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:24 PM on January 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

Flush-mount shades will be different from table/standing lamp shades. Posting pics would really help narrow down what you're looking for. Depending on the style you're chasing, it could be less expensive to buy and install a new flush-mount fixture rather than just getting a replacement shade that fits the fixture that you already have.
posted by quince at 3:29 PM on January 17, 2017

Home Depot seems to have lots of flush mounted fixtures for pretty cheap. My parents have one like this in the living room, which I find more attractive than the frosted bulb kind.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:30 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

They're the infamous "boob lights" that come pretty stock standard in every apartment. I am looking for a drum or barrel style shade.
posted by GilloD at 3:32 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

How about this one?
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:33 PM on January 17, 2017

Go to your nearest big box hardware store and there will be a few shelves of replacement glass shades. They may not be shown online, but they have a bunch in stock.
posted by 26.2 at 3:33 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Vintage? My wife sells shades on Etsy. Thrift shop. IKEA. Target.
posted by fixedgear at 4:01 PM on January 17, 2017

IKEA is having a huge clearance sale right now.
posted by jbenben at 5:33 PM on January 17, 2017

Try Marshalls or Home Goods type stores. I've had good luck at thrift stores/garage sales for lamp shades and have attempted something like this.
posted by hooray at 7:04 PM on January 17, 2017

I'd proceed with caution. Flush mount lamps are not as standard/interchangeable as lamp shades where you can just buy a new shade and expect it to mate with the existing lamp base. There are actually multiple different dome mounting mechanisms: external thumb screws, slotted rims where the dome slips in and then you turn it a quarter turn or so to lock in place, domes that fit onto a center rod and are held in place with a decorative finial...all with different size openings, depths, etc. Flush mount fixtures are generally sold as kits, not as mix-and-match parts. Individual shades may be expensive because there's little market for them, unlike table/floor lamp shades.

Does "boob lamp" imply something like this (a pretty standard builder's grade fixture, but doesn't look like juvenile penitentiary chic to me so idk). If that's what you've got it seems unlikely that you'd be able to find a drum shade that will mate with it "out of the box" because it's a fundamentally different type of mount from what is used with a ceiling-mount lamp with a drum type shade.
That said, there are various tutorials around showing how to fit a drum shade intended for a table/floor lamp onto a ceiling-mount dome fixture base. But there's a certain amount of DIY'ing involved.
posted by drlith at 7:12 PM on January 17, 2017 [9 favorites]

Retrofitting a boob light to a drum shade does not always look great. Consider replacing the whole fixture with something like the Lamps plus one linked above or a school house light. I've used this super cheap model (they can easily be $300 this one is $30) and been thrilled with the result.
posted by saradarlin at 8:45 PM on January 17, 2017

Is there a reason you can't ask the landlord to replace them?
posted by Nyx at 11:58 PM on January 17, 2017

This apartment therapy article has some good jumping-off points for ideas as to how to DIY a disguise for that style of light.
posted by desuetude at 8:35 AM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Fwiw, I just came back from Target and the shades were all surprisingly nice, and not one was over $30.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:53 AM on January 18, 2017

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