The Art of the Lampshade

Published July 20, 2012

I know it sounds a little boring but choosing the right lampshade for your lamp is very important. With the cost of lamps these days, it’s crucial that the shade you pick is not only complimentary to the lamp but also has the correct proportions for a great match.

Most lighting stores have pre-matched shades with their lamps; however, in many cases the purchaser prefers to match their own shade to their interior decor.

There are a few critical points to keep in mind next time you are out shopping for a lamp.

First of all, keep in mind the lamp’s role in the room. If the lamp is primarily used for task lighting, be sure to purchase a shade that will provide illumination to the work area. Desk lamps and reading lamps are examples of task lighting and a broad shade will direct the light to the assigned area.

If you are looking for more of a general illumination within the room you may want to purchase a lamp that  will provide ambient lighting. Decorative table lamps and wall sconces will provide this type of light and are available in many colours and styles.

Once you have decided on the type of lamp you require be sure to check the correct proportions of the lampshade to the lamp. In order to do this you can turn the lampshade onto its side and ensure that the diameter of the shade is not higher than the height of the base of the lamp. Ideally, it should be approximately 2/3 the height of the base.

In addition, be sure that the lamp’s shade covers the hardware of the lamp, more specifically, the harp and bulb socket. How far the shade falls below this point is up to the purchaser’s discretion.

There are many different types of materials used for lampshades and from an interior design point of view, it’s important to choose an option that best complements the style and theme of the room.

Interior designers tend to favor shade fabrics with weight. Linen and pleated fabrics fall into this category and both are good for general and task lighting.

Silk is another popular choice. It is the most transparent shade material and comes in many different colors and styles. A nice option for a living room or bedroom.

Whatever the choice, be sure to test the color of the shade in the daylight as well as in the evening. The colour may look different at night with the lamp on and be sure to dust your shade regularly with a soft, feather duster or nylon brush. This will ensure a longer-lasting shade over time.


*Did You Know?

Compact fluorescent bulbs use 75% less energy to provide the same amount of light as an incandescent? They also last ten times longer.