How to Update and Charm Any Room

Recently, I changed up our family  room.  I did it super thrifty, just adding paint, moving furniture, slipcovering my sofa {with the help of 12 friends}, added striped window mistreatments {just fabric from Mary  Jo’s} to my windows, using a few yard sale pieces and changing the lighting.

These lamps turned out to be the statement pieces of the whole room.  They demand attention when you walk in. They were a splurge for me at $80 a piece.  Luckily, one was a little damaged so I got a discount.  Then, I read what Janell found at Overstock and realized that those were my lamps with different shades for $125–I got a great deal!

I have another pair of shapely lamps in our front room.  Again, they steal the show.   Since that room is full of yard sale, and thrift finds, it would be easy for it to lean too country or too rustic or too thrown together.  A pair of slightly modern lamps with drum shades really helps to balance out the room.

Almost impossible to get a photo with both lamps in it but, still, having a touch of ceramic up to date loveliness helps keep this room looking current.   Getting new lamps is much less expensive than replacing a rug or a sofa.

Next to our sofa, I needed a shorter lamp.  All the lamps I had were too tall and when you sat at the sofa, you could look up straight into a blinding light bulb.  I hate that.  I like this lamp because it adds a pop of a different shade of blue, it’s short and squatty, it’s base is substantial and looks like pottery and, the drum shade helps to balance out my more country pieces and can so easily be recovered if I ever get tired of it.

I’ve got a pair of bird lamps in my office.   Again, I think they are the first thing you look at when you walk in.   Show stealer attention hogs.  Something as simple as a pair of lamps can really add personality and fun into a room.  These lamps started out in my boys rooms, then went in the family room and finally found their rightful throne in the Nesting Place office.  Why’d it take me so long to realize that bird lamps needed to be in my office?

I found this big huge lantern and stuffed it with some oversized plastic lights.  Lighting doesn’t just have to be practical, it can be fun and pretty too.

A pair of turquoise lamps found a home in the guest room.  I love to have a lamp next to the bed.  The better to read with my dear.

This lamp I found at the thrift store lets me add what ever kind of personality I want.  I could fill the base with legos or wrenches or even set a plant under that glass.

Just about every room can benefit from the warm light, added character and style that a lamp brings.  And lamps are such an inexpensive way to instantly change, update, add personality to a room.  You can replace a shade, paint the base, or recover the shade, all quick ways to update the item that can quickly update or change the feel of your space.

The power of lamps is too often overlooked.

More of my lampy ramblings::

Decorating with Lamps

Lamps and Sofa Tables

Using Lamps in Your Home::A Must {oh how it pains me that the comments all disappeared from this post when the blog moved–it was so fun to read how many lamps you all had–I think a few of you had close to 40!}


check out the winners of the Reluctant Entertainer Giveaway


  1. i would dearly love to see you stuff that lamp with legos! (or whatever the young boys are playing with these days… my daughters are into disney fairies, so that would be their lamp filling of choice.)
    happy monday!

  2. LOVE how you put those lights in the lantern…….pretty sneaky idea!

  3. “I love lamp.”

    There are few (if any) good things about Anchorman, but every time I see a picture of your lamps I just sigh “I love lamp.” So this post just made my day. Is there such a thing as lamp overload? Thanks for sharing!

  4. Love those lamps! They add such elegance to your space. So so envious. It’s always an inspiration to see your living area, I have a family room similar with the corner fireplace (love it but when hubby needs his TV in there too it makes furniture placing impossible!!) and also it is a U-shaped room so I’m sort of stuck, but it’s just allowed me to think out of the box more than I normally would! :) Staying positive! haha. Your blog always promises some serious furniture related eye-candy.

  5. I’m finding myself with a severe case of lamp-envy…

  6. I LOVE the lamps! And I love your decorating style. Thank you for sharing this. I seriously need some lamp updates, and just realized it after reading this blog entry.

  7. Loving everything about that room. I posted today on a great flea market find from the weekend – you’ve inspired me to never buy retail prices again! Oh and another great place to find lamps for really good prices (i’ve been looking everywhere for them) is Homegoods.

  8. Love the blue lamps and the turquoise ones! Love the thrift shop one also.

    I like unique lamps and I just realized I don’ t have a single pair of lamps in our house! I’m not matchy-matchy in decorating and apparently I have carried this to lamps. LOL

    I also like having a lamp made from a unique object. Alot of times you can do this yourself – you can buy the lamp kits and it helps to have a handy-dandy hubby too. A friend of mine has a lamp I covet – made from a huge heavy wooden candlestick – beautifully carved and detailed. I am always on the lookout for something similar.

    I also like different shaped shades – different colors, textures, etc.

    I agree that lamps can add alot to a room and can be a big impact for a small $$$.


  9. I love your lamps! And Home Goods…seriously I can walk through their lamp section forever, dreaming up rooms for all the different and fun lamps they have!!

  10. Mmmm, love all these lamps. They add just the right finishing touches to your beautiful rooms. I LOVE the lantern with the big lights…such a great idea! Have a great week~

  11. The only two (table) lamps we own came from an estate sale in 2004, before we got married. They were functional then. I HATE THEM. I always have. They are very basic, clear and gold (I hate gold) with ugly lampshades.

    The only lamp we have that I like, Meredith from Like Merchant Ships gave me when we were staging our house. It’s a tall lamp, looks antiquey.

    I can’t pay $80 for a lamp. But I do search the thrift stores! Maybe someday I will learn how to use lamps and find some I like.

    • I know, $80 is like more than I pay for an outfit. Or a chair. But I had searched for months and gave up, and now, I’m glad I splurged on them.

      Thrift stores are great, look for lamps with cords that don’t look old. And if you see some drum shades, you can SO easily recover those with pretty fabric.

  12. I have that same lantern and a stray string of outdoor lights around here somewhere. I am so stealing that idea. Do you just leave the little door open when they’re plugged in or did you remove one of the glass panels? And I’m moving up to your side of town – the thrift stores down here never have lamps that good. They’re all just plan yuck.

    • my lantern door has a gap when it’s closed so I can close it and let the cord hang out of it, maybe you can bend yours a little?

  13. So what’s the rule on matching lamps? Should they be on the same table if they are in the same room? Also, how many lamps is too many, because I could really put one on every table in our living room!

    I need a book on the rules of lamp placement, ha! Nester, I LOVE your blog <3

    • Oh I hate rules!
      If I have a long dresser/sideboard I like to put a pair of lamps on it, and I bought the green ones for our bedroom, each side of the bed, but, now I like them downstairs. It would probably be more interesting with two different lamps but, I’m using what I have!

  14. I love posts like this that show multiple rooms. Your house is so cohesive and lovely!

  15. I love the glass lamp. I would love to stuff it with mini chocolate bars, so I could have one whenever I wanted it. hee hee

  16. I always see great older lamps at the thrift store, but always worry it won’t work or the wiring will be off so I always pass them by.

  17. Love the lantern idea….so going to make that one work in my home. It would especially look enchanting at Christmas time.

  18. All of your lamps are just fabulous! I really need to get me some drum shades. They are a great way to update the look of a room. I love the new striped curtains. LOVE THEM!

  19. Love the lantern with the oversized lights!

  20. Lovely lovely lovely!!

    I think the reason I love seeing pics of your home is because you’ve done such a wonderful job of creating a balance with your style. I don’t hate the Country look at all, but I realized that the look I unwittingly created in my home was maybe a little bit too much of my MOM’s Country look and not enough modern thrown in. I think I’d say my ideal style would be a mix between your house and Centsational Girl’s. ;)

    Those lamps are fab and I want to start bringing in more touches like that if I can get my uber traditional husband on board. I have some really, ultra traditional looking lamps that I think could be updated with new shades and new base colors, but I’m not quite sure yet which style to go with….

  21. Great idea with the lantern! You should have a linky party for lighting, I need ideas.. all of my lighting doesn’t match very well and my apartment is poorly lit. *Sigh*

  22. It’s all brilliant I tell ya! LOVE the lamps, the colors, the string lights in the lantern…makes me so want to decorate. I’ll have to wait for more time though. :/

  23. Your lamps are fabulous finds! I’m in the process of changing out some of my shades. Glad to see Tarjay has some updated shapes and colors. Your rooms are so soothing…ahhhhhhhhh.

  24. I’ve read though the comments and I’m not seeing you spill the beans on those gorgeous bird lamps! I’m not above bribery, especially if they were a retail store pickup.

    Great post!

  25. I heart all your shapely show stopping lamps!

    We could use more accent lighting ’round our parts for sure- your updated spaces look simply lovely!

    Now, if only I could get out thrifting on my own, but darn pesky packing for our move is sucking up all my time! :)

  26. Lauren@SimplyLKJ says

    Love the lights inside the lantern! I have two just like that, what a great idea!!

  27. This all looks so beautiful! I LOVE the lamps and the pop of color! So pretty! And the plates on the wall? LOVE!!

    Lou Cinda :)

  28. Jennifer says

    Everything looks beautiful! Love your decorating style – SO MUCH! I may copy you a lot when my new house is done, which will be a couple of weeks! I NEED all of your PAINT colors in your home – PLEASE:) I especially love your foyer? color with the brown curtains, before coming into your office where you recently placed that white table with the chunky legs. Pain colors please:)

    • Jennifer, every paint color I’ve used is listed on this blog at least twice. I just can’t write the paint colors in every post or others will think I lost my mind.

      Search the word “paint” in the sidebar search box.

      One of the posts with the colors is “The Art of Elimination Choosing a Paint Color” or something like that.

  29. I get sooooooooo envious of the white dresser in your family room every time you post a photo of it. I looked forever for one like that for my daughter’s bedroom. The only one I found was one by Kent Coffey in a little boutique in Savannah for $700. I seriously contemplated on how we were going to drive back home from our trip, rent a truck & then go back to Savannah & pick it up. I came to mt senses though because it was out of the budget!

  30. Love all your lamps! I was going to say the bird ones were my favorite but I love your aqua ones, too {plus they look so good in that room}. I would buy lamps like I buy throw pillows, if I could!

  31. I love all your lamps! I am definitely addicted to lamps. I have 11 in my house and seriously could add several more if I could figure out a way for my husband to not notice. Home Goods is my favorite place to score amazing but cheap lamps. Thanks for the post!

  32. Your photos are gorgeous Nester Girl. Maybe even enough to buy a lamp.

    Melissa always teases me that I don’t own a lamp.

    You guys make it look so pretty. I’m afraid I have no interior design skills. What I really need is for you guys to fly to Des Moines and save me from myself.

    Maybe get a sponsor and to show off my before and afters to prove their products can make even my bare and sparse home look homey. I would never tackle such a task on my own.

    Your home is gorgeous.

  33. Great lamps! I have my eye on a gray one just like the ones in your first photo for our family room. Lamps really can bring life to a room. I love the lantern with the string lights – such a great idea!

    Mandy @ This Girl’s LIfe

  34. i LOVE that bird lamp! i’ve never seen one like it before. beautiful!!

  35. Oh too funny, your gorgeous ivory gourd lamps inspired my hunt for similar ones. When I couldn’t justify the $125. at Overstock I ended up finding a great pair at Home Goods, which I sprayed to resemble yours! This blogging thing is pretty crazy, the inspiration just flows from one person to another! Janell

    p.s. Thanks for the shout out!! :)

  36. I love lamps. I love, love, love lamps. Something about overhead light really drives me crazy, unless it’s in the kitchen. When I first got married, my husband didn’t have any lamps, and I only had enough for an apartment so we have collected some cool ones over the years. My favorites are in my bedroom and are the stacked glass spheres with a rod running through them. A nice little sparkle next to my bed.

  37. Nester – you have no idea how jealous I am that you are close to Mary Jo’s. I grew up not far from there and LOVED going there with my grandmother and mom! Now I live to far away to get there on any regular basis!

    • I know, it’s such an old, I mean vintage? been around awhile store. My husband remembers going there with his mom as a child and I went there with his mom to pick out the fabric for my wedding gown.

  38. I love how you’ve added a bit of mod to your home recently and moved that little parsons table into your family room, too. :) I’ve just tried to cajole husband into rearranging the living room with me tonight but instead he is putting together some IKEA junk for me–no complaints here.

  39. Your lamps are so beautiful! I need to focus more on sprucing up my rooms with lamps. They do make a huge difference. I did buy new ones for my master bedroom makeover that I absolutely adore.
    Thanks for sharing all the inspirational photos.

  40. Nester,
    I just have to ask. . .do you use CFL’s in your lamps or regular bulbs? I hate the hashness of the CFL’s so haven’t been using them. Please don’t tell Mr. Gore!

  41. Totally want a lego lamp now. Except it would turn out to be a broken lego lamp within 33 seconds. The dream was nice while it lasted.

  42. Beautiful makeover simply done. I’m mid painting everything in my house white, and although it’s taking an age it’ll be worth it in the end! Thanks for the inspiration to carry on x

  43. I love searching for treasures hidden in the shelves of Homegoods..the fun is you never know what you will find!

  44. Jackie Rader says

    I love shopping at Home Goods! I always find the neatest treasures. My husband and I have a collection of Roden’s Kiss sculpture, it’s “our thing” that we like to find for one another when we are at antique shops or out of town. I have found several different representations of the “Kiss” sculpture that I have given my husband for our wedding anniversaries. Maybe if I win I can find us a lamp with a couple kissing as the base!! ;) Thanks for your great and inspiring blog!

  45. I am totally IN LOVE with your window “mistreatments”. Who makes that horizontal striped fabric? You have inspired me!

  46. Kelli Baker says

    I am with Karen B. just above me…….I LURVE those striped panels. They add so much to your room….a really unique level of sophistication. Please don’t tell me that you hand painted the stripes on painters drop cloth or anything wickedly clever like that!! Have a wonderful wonderful weekend….thank you for inspiring us to make our houses a HOME. : )

  47. Sigh- I’ve read this post 5 times….and am trying to figure out how to make the switch from my 15 potentially fuddy duddy lamps to something fun & fabulous! Oh, why did I marry for love instead of money????

    Thanks for the inspiration, I just love coming here to visit.

  48. I absolutely love the lantern idea. I have a large red one that I usually only bring out for Christmas and stuff star shaped twinkle lights inside. You’ve made me think I could have it out all year but just change the lights! I love the lights you used!

  49. Has anyone ever contemplated painting these drapes? I mean painting the color on some linen or something? I’m strongly considering doing that.

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