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lamp shade

How to Determine the Correct Lampshade Size

Are there any good rules of thumb for choosing the right size shade?

Lampshade Selection Guidelines 

  1. The more basic the shape of the body of the lamp, the more varied styles of shades it can take.
  2. Repeat the shape(s) in the lamp body in the shade shape; i.e., a round lamp on a square base can take a shade with a rounded top and square bottom.
  3. The diameter of the bottom of the shade should not be greater than the height of the lamp body (to the bottom of the socket).
  4. Match lampshade colors to the trim color in your room and the tones in the lamp body. Don’t be afraid of black or color as an accent.
  5. Consider your wattage needs! The lampshade (not the lamp body) determines maximum wattage allowed.
  6. Consider the style of the lamp when selecting a shade. A busy lamp generally calls for a plainer shade.
  7. For DRAMA, break the rules! Try “extreme” shades! Put a deep cone shade on a short round ball base, a glossy white shade on a beige stone vase, a cube shade on a stacked ball lamp, a red or black shade on an Oriental base, etc.

How do you determine shade height?
The height of a table lamp shade should be approximately the height of the base (to bottom of socket) x65% up to 80%.. The height of a floor lamp shade should be approximately the height of the base x47%. Measure shade height along the slant.

What about diameter?
The diameter (width) of a table shade should NEVER exceed the height of the base (to the bottom of the socket) and should be within 2″ of this dimension. Floor lamp shades should clear the widest part of the bulb by at least 3.5″ on each side of the bulb (unless using compact fluorescent bulb). Lampshade size is usually expressed in terms of its diameter (16″ shade has a diameter of 16″).

Are certain shade styles better for certain base styles? If so, do you have any pointers for matching the two?

  • The more basic the shape of the body of the lamp, the more varied styles of shades it can take.
  • Repeat the shape(s) in the lamp body in the shade shape; i.e., a round lamp on a square base can take a shade with a rounded top and square bottom.

Are there any “no-no’s” when it comes to choosing a shade?

  • For every “rule” (see rules), there is a talented designer who can successfully break it with success! Your eye is your best guide.
  • ALWAYS consider your lumens

If you’re debating between two similar shades, is it safe to go bigger or smaller?
Just like outdoor wall lights, it’s better to go larger to allow more wattage (click here for wattage and shade size guide).

Is there a shape of shade that flatters most bases?
Choose a shade with a shape that follows the general contours of the lamp. Square lamps look best with square shades and round lamps look best with round shades. A shapely lamp can take a shapely shade. An interesting alternative is to repeat the shape of the vase stand (as opposed to the vase shape) in the shade. For example, try a square shade on a round ginger jar with a square wood base.

Are there any shade shapes that are particularly hard to get right?
The more slender the body of the lamp, the shallower the shade can be. Extremely-flared shades are sometimes tricky to get right. Often you will need to change the size of the harp on your lamp when you change the lampshade. The more flared the shade, the shorter the harp you need. Lamps with more than one socket need to have wider and shorter shades and you may need a salesperson’s guidance.

Should the shade kiss the top of the lamp’s base? Should we see a little of the harp/hardware part of the lamp?
The bottom of the lampshade should come to the top of the body of the lamp so that no mechanical parts except 1/2 the neck show. The bottom of the shade should also fall at the eye level of the user. Most harps are interchangeable so you may need to purchase a new harp with your new shade. Harps come in regular and heavy (higher end lamps) and are usually imprinted in the top with their size in inches.

©2011 Shades of Light. All Rights Reserved.

Mimosa, the color of hope and reassurance for 2009

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Pantone, the world renowned authority on color, recently selected their color of the year, Mimosa. The invigurating color is popping up everywhere.

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“The color yellow exemplifies the warmth and nurturing quality of the sun, properties we as humans are naturally drawn to for reassurance,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Mimosa also speaks to enlightenment, as it is a hue that sparks imagination and innovation.”

 

 

The Drum Shade, Not Just for Table Lamps Anymore…

The Drum Shade…who knew it could be so versatile and trendy! We’re seeing it used more and more as a pendant or chandelier.

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Convert your favorite lamp shade into a convenient pendant over a study space, casual dining area or even above your bed! No electrician needed! Use a simple cotton drum shade or add a “fun” fabric lampshade.

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Freshen up your home without emptying your wallet!

Looking to freshen your home without emptying your wallet?  Check out these simple ideas to keep costs low and results high.

  • Paint one wall an accent color or a deeper shade of the color you already have. If the room is long & narrow, paint a warm dark color on the short wall. Or paint the ceiling a light cool color. Or just paint the fireplace wall section an accent color. Add new lamps with that accent color.

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  • Paint a piece of furniture (such as a coffee table or 2 end tables) an accent color. Be sure to use the proper prep (ask the local hardware store for guidance).
  • Rearrange your furniture and add a new rug. Change or recover your throw pillows or try “wrapping” them with your favorite scarf.

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  • Take an existing console or end table and add a storage shelf on the bottom for baskets to hold “stuff”. Paint the shelf an accent color or use antique wood flooring. Or sell an existing piece of furniture at a consignment store and replace it with a storage piece like a mirrored furniture piece that will always go with any look you do.
  • Add inexpensive seating “stools” that can double as end tables. Paint them a fun color or distress them and “paint” with an antique wash.
  • Add accent lighting (plant lights on timers, picture lights, spotlight on sculpture or architectural feature). You will be amazed at how much accent lighting can do for a room at night! Put dimmers on all other lighting in the room.

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  • Add some interest to your walls by taking all pictures down and rearranging them in a new plan on the floor, adding short shelves made from antique molding (for collections of sculpture, colored or clear glass, candles or candlesticks), table clocks and decorative items from the kitchen that can be hung on the wall (platters or plates, containers that can hold trailing greenery, handmade bowls, etc.), and small mirrors hung from decorative chain or interesting ribbon. Try adding an open empty frame (antique ones are great) around a plate or platter (maybe even on the diagonal).
  • Add a “fun” fabric lamp shade on a plain lamp.

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  • New monogrammed towels for your bathroom (Hit the white sales!).
  • Frame your bathroom mirror with antique molding, polyurethane molding painted in an accent color, upholstery braid, or outdoor ribbon.

©Shades of Light 2008

Lampshade Selection “Rules”

  1. The more basic the shape of the body of the lamp, the more varied styles of shades it can take.
  2. Repeat the shape(s) in the lamp body in the shade shape; i.e., a round lamp on a square base can take a shade with a rounded top and square bottom.
  3. Always take the lamp body (not necessarily the shade) to the store to buy a new shade.
  4. Match lampshade colors to the trim color in your room and the tones in the lamp body. Don’t be afraid of black or color as an accent.
  5. Consider your wattage needs! The lampshade (not the lamp body) determines maximum wattage allowed.
  6. Consider the style of the lamp when selecting a shade. A busy lamp generally calls for a plainer shade.
  7. For DRAMA, break the rules! Try “extreme” shades! Put a deep cone shade on a short round ball base, a white shade on a beige vase, a cube shade on a stacked ball lamp, a red or black shade on a boring base shape, etc.

©2005 Ashton Harrison. All Rights Reserved.

Lampshade Basics

A lampshade can have many different fittings to attach it to the lamp.

washer (goes on a harp)
regular clip (clips on to a regular light bulb)
candle clip (clips on a candle bulb)
uno (threaded hole in top that screws onto the socket)
chimney (open hole in top that slides over a glass hurricane)
reflector bowl (shade rests on top of a glass bowl)

Maximum wattage for Lampshades

Distance from widest part of bulb to inside of shade Wattage
1 5/8″ 25 watts
2″ 40 watts
2.5″ 60 watts
2 7/8″ 75 watts
3.5″ 100 watts
4.75″ 150 watts
6″ 200 watts
7.25″ 250 watts

How to measure a shade: diameter across top/ diameter across bottom/ slant along side

©2005 Ashton Harrison. All Rights Reserved.

How to Select the Proper Lampshade

A carefully selected lampshade will make your lamp really special as well as maximize the function of the lamp. You should choose a shade with a shape that follows the general contours of the lamp. Square lamps look best with square shades and round lamps look best with round shades. A shapely lamp can take a shapely shade. An interesting alternative is to repeat the shape of the BOTTOM BASE of the lamp in the shade’s shape. For example, try a square shade on a round ginger jar with a square wood base.

The height of the shade should never exceed the height of the body of the lamp. Generally, the shade is 1/3 the total height of the table lamp. The more slender the body of the lamp, the shallower the shade can be. Often you will need to change the size of the harp on your lamp when you change the lampshade. The more flared the shade, the shorter the harp you need. The bottom of the lampshade should come to the top of the body of the lamp so that no mechanical parts except the neck show. The bottom of the shade should also fall at the eye level of the user.

While shades add the finishing touch to a lamp, they should also be selected to produce the amount of light required. Translucent white and ivory shades give off a gentle overall light while opaque shades focus light down for reading or illuminating objects on a table. Although it’s best to keep all the “white” shades in a room the same color (keep to the tones of the wall or trim color), an occasional colored or black shade can add pizzazz and diversity.

©2005 Ashton Harrison. All Rights Reserved.