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Ikea Wall Light Hack

How to customize Ikea’s inexpensive plug in wall lights and give them an antique brass finish.
Navy and white master bedroom with layers for fall.
Mark and I both love to read at night, and I had a vision of wall mounted sconces on either side of the bed.
L/Number Four Eleven, R/Gwyneth Paltrow’s apartment in the Huffington Post
I love these wall sconces with metal shades from Shades of Light. They would be perfect if I wanted to spend $600 (yep, $295 each!) on reading lights. Since we all know those funds are badly needed for the eradication of the kitchen’s bologna countertops, clearly they weren’t even an option.
Enter Ikea’s Arstid wall lights – $19.99 each. 

The gooseneck of the Arstid is similar to the Shades of Light sconce, and I thought the lampshade that came with it could possibly be reworked. At the time I did this project the Arstid only came in this silver finish but now Ikea also sells the same light in a brass finish so all you need to do is revamp the shade! 

Here is what I ended up with after hacking Ikea’s Arstid wall lights.
Total price per light, including supplies, less than $23.


(don’t forget to buy the coordinating lightbulb!)
Goo Gone or adhesive remover
paper towels
plastic cord cover (see below)


Start by removing the fabric from the shade. Work carefully so you don’t dent the plastic shade base.

Some of tape that holds the fabric on at the top and bottom is stitched at the seam – after clipping the stitches it’s easy to remove the fabric tape and material. The plastic shade base is attached to the inner metal frame with stitches also, so be careful not to clip those stitches.

After removing the fabric from the shade base, a bit of adhesive residue remains at the top, and a lot at the bottom. Goo Gone on a paper towel will take off the bit at the top, but is impossible to remove entirely from the bottom of the shade. The photo on the left below shows how apparent the adhesive is after being spray painted, so I went to plan B – cover up the adhesive at the bottom of the shade with painter’s tape.

Place a long piece of painter’s tape on your work surface and slice in half with a utility blade so the strip of tape is only about 1/2″ wide, then place it over the adhesive and wrap it over the edge of the shade. Use your thumb nail to smooth out any wrinkles. This gives the edge of the shade a more finished look when painted.


Next, spray paint. If you didn’t score Ikea’s brass Arstid and are painting the body of the light, cover the lightbulb socket with painter’s tape before spraying all the components with several light coats. Make sure to spray your shade’s inside as well as out. Hold your shade over a lightbulb to see if you have given it good all over coverage, otherwise when you turn on the light you will see imperfections.

Good riddance cheap looking white plastic parts!


“Antique” the gold finish.  After everything was dry, I gave all the pieces an antique brass finish like I did on the ping pong ball curtain rods.  A tiny bit of black acrylic paint is all you need to tone down the bright gold of the spray paint (right) and give it a little more dimension (left).

To apply the black paint, wet a paper towel and ring it out so it is just a bit damp, then dab the paint on it. The dampness gives you more time to rub the paint on and then off the piece. This is especially useful for applying acrylic paint onto a painted metal surface (like the wall lamp base). On metal too much water makes the paint sit on the surface of metal in little droplets, so jump a slightly damp paper towel is all you need to make the paint easier to work with but not so thin that it won’t stick to the surface.

Wipe the paint onto the piece, and then wipe off to leave a sheer residue of the black over the gold spray paint.
Note:  the paint really clung to the tape at the bottom of the shade, and was near impossible to remove. I ended up respraying one shade, letting it dry, and then went VERY LIGHTLY on the tape.

The 3 little stitches that hold the plastic lampshade base to the metal frame at the top are still visible after painting the shades. I thought this, along with the visible tape at the bottom of the shade, would bother me, but once the lights are mounted to the wall those imperfections are barely noticeable.



Install the cord cover. I used an inexpensive plastic cord cover with an adhesive back that I spraypainted along with the light components. For an upgrade you could use a real brass cord cover.

I kept the plastic cord cover in one piece until I mounted the lights on the wall, then I used scissors to cut pieces to the desired width, tucking the end of the cover behind my headboard.
They are a similar finish to the ping pong ball curtain rods.
DIY curtain rods with wood dowels and ping pong balls!
While I still love the inspiration sconces and their real metal shades, I’m really happy with how the knockoff version came out – and not just because my version is a whopping $272 less!

What do you think?

If you like this Ikea hack, don’t miss how I used these same wall lights along with metal planters to make these lights for my daughter’s room!


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Ikea Wall Light Hack With Antique Brass Finish

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Sunday 15th of May 2016

IKEA now sell the lamp in a brass color - the shade still needs work but the base color is similar to yours.

I actually went to Ikea to buy the lights and copy your hack and was so relieved to find them in brass.


Monday 16th of May 2016

That is so great to know - thank you for sharing about the new brass version Alyson!!


Monday 9th of May 2016

Hi! so clever! What brand/color of gold spray paint did you use?? Golds can be so different :(


Monday 16th of May 2016

Stephanie I can't recall the exact one I used but it was most likely either a Rustoleum or Krylon. They are my go-to spray paints. Another reader shared that Ikea just came out with a gold version of the Arstid light by the way!

Wednesday 8th of April 2015

so clever! what can't gold spray paint do?!? these look fantastic, especially against you dark wall.


Sunday 5th of April 2015

Really BEAUTIFUL job. Was referred to you by May Richer Fuller Be and will be back. While I don't have a need for these - I found myself WANTING to make these and make the need. I'm also thinking I could do this project for above the fireplace as it has plugs for scones, but none. I think I'll spray them silver.Thanks again for the idea and inspiration!TAF

Summer Hogan

Sunday 5th of April 2015

Love, love, love this DIY! Great hack friend!