So you’ve finally found the perfect lamp for your living room. Choosing the right lampshade to complement your new lamp is just as important as the lamp itself.
You wouldn’t put on a nice outfit for work in the morning and pair it with sneakers, would you? Well, the same goes for lamps. Choosing the right lampshade completes the look, as do the right pair of shoes:)
Let’s start off with what not to do…
1 Wrong on so many levels
This is the worst of the worst in terms of choosing the right lampshade. Never, ever, ever let the “guts” of the lamp show. Nothing above the neck of the lamp base should be showing when your eyes are level with the bottom of the shade. That means no switch, socket, harp holder, harp, etc. should be visible. This is not Halloween or a horror movie…no guts allowed!
2 Better height but still wrong
Wait, same shade, same lamp…how did the guts go away? We switched the harp (the frame that fits over the bulb to hold the lampshade). With a shorter harp, the lampshade sits closer to the lamp base, hiding all the icky hardware. Unfortunately, this shade still doesn’t work as it’s too petite for such a large lamp. This shade shows so much of the neck (even with a smaller harp) and makes everything look unbalanced.
3 Not quite right
Okay, the size of this shade is great – it’s wider and taller than the previous one, but there’s still something not quite right. In this case, we’re looking at shape and style. The lamp is very classic, with Grecian figures, brass accents, and intricate details, but the shade is very modern, sleek and simple. While the round drum shade does nicely to accentuate the rounded shapes of the lamp, we can definitely find something better. This is just not the right lampshade…
4 Not quite right again
So now let’s try a more interesting shape. This vintage shade is more conical in nature than the previous and even has nice detailed trim on the top and bottom. While these complement the lamp well, the shade feels just a bit too tall. A general guideline is that the height of the right lampshade should be about 2/3 -3/4 the height of the lamp, and while this works most of the time, in the end you must trust your eye. So although this shade fits within the guideline, I look at this lamp and notice the large shade, not the pretty details on the lamp. That’s a problem…
5 This could work
Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. This shade is a great size and shape. It’s neither too big nor too small, and the square shape complements the square base of the lamp very nicely. The silkier texture of the shade also makes it a bit more formal and traditional in feel, perfect for this classic lamp. Almost there! This guy works, but I really want to accentuate a different part of the lamp…
6 The ultimate contender
The slight curve in this shade perfectly mimics the curved shapes in the lamp, making the overall look softer than the square one above. The silk fabric gives it formality and the size is just right. Choosing the right lampshade is a process (and here is a good, inexpensive place to find shades, and here, and believe it or not, here)
And here’s a DIY on getting crafty with some existing lampshades.