Wednesday, August 8th, 2012
by Benson Littman
When picking out a shade for your lamp, you should always remember that the shade should harmonize or complement the lamp without overpowering the design and shape of the lamp itself.
Typically matching your shade shape with the body of your lamp works out the best for the overall look of the lamp; a square lamp will look good with a square shade and the same goes for a round or oval lamp, you should look for a round shade. Of course, if you would rather have a less modest, more dramatic look, you can mix and match varying shapes and sizes with your shade to add a little pizzazz to your lighting scheme.
As far as size, the rule of thumb tends to say that the shade should be about 2/3 the height of your lamp’s base. Ratio is important, you don’t want a lamp that is out of balance or top heavy. The widest part of your shade should also be about a half inch wider than the widest part of your lamps silhouette.
Some common materials for lamp shades are: linen, cotton, silk, paper or vinyl. There are of course many more varying materials out there but if you are trying to go simple, those are the basics.
Here is some general information about the customary shapes of shades that are seen today:
• Empire Shade – This is the most common type of shade with lightly sloped sides (wider on top than bottom) and can be textured with pleating. These can match a traditional or transitional style décor.
• Bell Shade – Similar to the Empire shade but has more of a wave-like flair at the bottom of the shade.
• Drum Shade – These are very chic in style and can become a contemporary or retro style for your lamp. It has a flatter shape, more round than the Empire or Bell and has the same width on top and bottom and has ample light emission.
• Coolio Shade – Has a sharp, more dramatic slant, as it is small on top and very wide on the bottom. This is a very functional shade for lamps.