Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Selecting a Lamp Shade - Tips From a Professional Interior Designer

Selecting a Lamp Shade - Tips From a Professional Interior Designer

A fashionable new lampshade breathes new life into an old lamp. Once upon a time, the choices were very limited to bell shapes in cream or white. These days you have a rainbow of colors, patterns and shapes at your fingertips: square, oval, drum-shaped, striped, silk or sage-colored. There is something sure to delight the most particular decorator.

Some will have you believe that choosing the right lamp shade requires calculations achievable only by a NASA engineer, but that is simply not so. Here are a few tricks and tips for finding the right topper for your lamp:


  • Make sure the bottom edge of the shade will cover the hardware or socket of the lamp.
  • Wider shades will cast more light in the area for reading or other tasks.
  • Choose a shade that is approximately 2/3 the height of the lamp base. For example: if your lamp base is 21″, then your lamp shade should be about 14″ high.


  • Drum and bell-shaped style shades are timeless and classic.
  • Unusual shapes such as squares and ovals add a modern look to your design.
  • Do not be afraid to pair a modern shade with a classic base.


  • White or cream shades allow the most light to shine through. If the lamp shade is dark, most of your light will be directed downward.
  • Consider whether you want the lamp to stand out as an accent piece or coordinate with other lamps in the room.
  • Several lamps in a room with similar lampshades create a more serene feeling.
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