Lamp shades may seem like one of the simpler interior design decisions you’ll have to make. But the lighting arrangement you select for a room can make or break the ambience you’re trying to achieve and lampshades are a key part of this. It’s important to ensure the shade fits its base – in more ways than one.
Consider the function
Before you begin to shop for lamp shades, it’s important to consider the purpose of the lamp you’re buying a shade for. Is it a grand statement of a standing lamp? Should it blend seamlessly into the background to create the right mood? Do you need the light for a task, such as reading or craftwork? Or is the light’s purpose simply to show off a particular feature of a room? Once you’ve answered these questions, there are a few other points worth thinking about before you make your final selection.
Size is everything
Leaving the lamp’s switch visible, by opting for a shade that’s too small, is a serious faux pas and can easily ruin the beautiful effect you’re trying to achieve. The last thing your dinner guests want is to stare up into the harsh light of your dining table lamp’s bare bulb. Equally, if you select an oversized lamp shade, you’re in danger of overwhelming the light source or even hiding parts of your beautiful base. Proportions are key.
Select a shape
One general rule of thumb concerns the shape of your lamp shade. Ideally, it should mimic the shape of its base. However, also think about the room in which you are placing the shade. A living space may benefit from a wide cylindrical shade to cast light over the whole room, whereas a workspace or dining room might be better off with smaller, more directional shades. There are also many unique and unusual designs nowadays that make a focal feature of your light, from abstract sculptural forms to printed globes.
Whether you’re looking for a drum, sloping, hexagonal or square lamp shade, it’s a good idea to take the base with you, to try on the shade when you go shopping. If this just isn’t practical, try doing a proportion drawing to take along with you.
With so many stylish options to choose from these days, choosing the right lamp shade for your room can prove a tad overwhelming. So if you’re really stuck, why not follow an easy online tutorial and make your own using material that blends in with – or stands out from – the rest of your décor?