Experimenting with lamp shades in new fabrics, shapes and colours are a great way to instantly update your home’s style. The perfect lamp and lampshade combination can transform a forgotten corner into a cozy nook or an entryway into a work of art.
While sometimes you get lucky and your ideal lamp and lampshade duo appear to you, the quest for the perfect table lamp isn’t always simple. So, how do you choose the right lamp shade?
While choice is personal, the DIYgirls recommend you should keep the three S’s in mind when choosing a lampshade: Shape, Size and Surface.
Getting the SHAPE right
Before you get into color, pattern, material, or even size, it helps to identify what shape lampshade will best suit your lamp base. Take a look at your lamp. What’s the general shape?
Here’s how to identify, and make the best of, the most prevalent styles.
Getting the SIZE right
If there’s a situation when you could be sure that size really does matter, it’s when choosing a lampshade. Proportion is the key to ensure a balanced lamp – too small and you have yourself a bottom-heavy situation, too big and you really are throwing shade.
There are three golden rules to remember when it comes to choosing a lampshade for table lamps:
- The width of the lampshade should be twice as wide as your base
- The height of the lampshade should be two thirds of the height of the lamp base (For your floor lamp, measure the height of the lamp base from the bottom to the top of the bulb rod, then divide the figure by four. This measurement is the ideal approximate height for the lampshade.)
- Hide the lamp neck, harp and all other hardware underneath the shade, without encroaching on the lamp base itself - the hardware should never show at eye-level
If your lamp is in-between lampshade sizes, we recommend choosing the largest shade that the space will allow - the larger the shade, the more light is distributed. Even in smaller rooms, oversized designs will (counter to expectations) will create the illusion of space.
Getting the SURFACE right
Your choice of the material in which the shade is made should be based on both function and room decor. The more light you need, the more transparent the material (and larger) the shade should be. The Sheer Black Shade is the perfect example of a shade that will allow ample light through. If, on the contrary, the purpose of the lamp is to provide ambience lighting or a diffused effect, a dark-colored shade of a dense material is ideal because it will project light from the top and bottom but not through the shade itself.
Other than functional constraints, there are no hard and fast rules governing what materials work best for which shades. Generally, you want to match furniture finishes, wall color, window treatments or floor coverings. But, as surface choice will always subjective, we recommend you pick something that matches your taste - the lamp shade you like will always be the correct one.
Combine your shape know-how with the size estimate and surface choice and you have a good starting point for selecting your new shade.