A Shade Above the Rest: Choosing the Correct Lampshade

Published July 19, 2012

It may sound a little dull but choosing the right light fixtures in your home is very important when it comes to good design. Most interior designers would agree that lighting plays a crucial role in the overall look of a space.

These days’ pot lights are very popular with homeowners. When renovating or building a home its important to have proper lighting in workspaces such as kitchens and offices but you can get a way with some lovely table and floor lamps in your living room, bedroom and dining area. The old-fashioned way of lighting can be both effective and decorative.

Halogen lights give off a sharp, white light so they are best used for task and accent lighting. You can ask your electrician to install a dimmer switch to soften them down a little as well. If a softer, warmer look is what you are after then you may want to look at the new, energy-efficient incandescent bulbs. These standard clear or frosted bulbs produce a soft, white light that is suitable for table and floor lamps as well as many other applications. These bulbs are the best for ambient lighting. The higher the voltage the brighter your space will be.

It’s also a good idea to take some time and choose the right lampshade for your base. Correct proportions are key to getting the right match between lamp and shade. As a general rule of thumb you should turn your lampshade on its side and ensure that the diameter of the shade is approximately the same height as the base or at least ¾ of its height. The shade should never be higher than the base otherwise your lamp will appear top-heavy.

Be sure that the lamp’s shade covers the entire harp and bulb socket. You don’t want to see the mechanics of the lamp when you are entering the room.

Shopping for the right shade material is also a key factor. There are many different types on retail shelves such as silk, kraft paper and pleated fabrics. Each has it’s own advantages and disadvantages. Depending on the look, each fabric offers it’s own appeal. Silk is lovely in living rooms for it’s thin, transparent feel while parchment has a wonderful soft, rustic glow. It’s best to experiment with 2 or 3 different shades to get the one you really want.