Shady Character – 6 Tips on Choosing the Right Lamp Shade

Besides their visual impact, lamp shades play an important role in defining the room style; they can soften light to create a sense of coziness, provide a glow of color that complements or highlights a particular feature of a room, focus brighter light in a particular area to facilitate activities such as reading or study and even give the illusion of greater space or height to a room.
However little thought is given to lamp shades and the way in which they can enhance a living spacet. Choosing the right lamp shades for your home can help you to create the exact ambience you want and below are 6 tips to help you choose your ideal lamp shades.
1. Match the shape of the shade to the base shape.
A round shade will suit a round lamp base, a square shade will suit a square lamp base and so on. Tall floor lamps generally suit tall barrel (tapered) lamp shades, giving a sense of height.
2. Match the style of the lampshade to the room's decor
If you're recreating that 'Victorian parlor' look then you'll find that a fringed, tasseled or pleated lampshade will fit in best; whilst plain, unfussy and streamlined lampshades suit contemporary styling.
3. Get right size
A lamp shade needs to be enough deep to cover the 'mechanics' of a lamp's base – i.e. the switch, the bulb holder and etc. Generally the shade's height should be around three quarters of the height of the base and slightly wider than the widest part of the base. Judgment by eye is best, particularly for a floor lamp as a disproportionately small or large lamp shade will be conspicuously obvious and attention-grabbing.
4. Decide upon the degree of transparency needed
The more opaque your lamp shade, the more subdued and the smaller the radius of light it produces. Therefore, a lamp for the purposes of reading or for highlighting a feature of a room should be as transparent as possible, whereas a lamp that functions as a feature in its own right can be accentuated with an opaque lampshade.
5. Choosing a suitable color or pattern
Choose colors that complement your existing decor if you wish your lamps to blend in to a room's color scheme. If you wish to add character or make a focal point of your lamp, choose a lampshade with a bold pattern (matching the pattern to the lamp's base works best) or contrasting color.
6. Stay safe with your lampshades
If you're using conventional filament bulbs rather than low-energy light bulbs with your lamp, always follow the manufacturer's instructions as to the maximum acceptable bulb wattage that can be used with the shade. Ensure that the aperture at the top of the lamp shade is wide enough to let heat dissipating and that no part of the shade is closer to the bulb than around five centimeters, otherwise the lamp shade may be scorched. Lamps with particularly large shades should be placed with care where they cannot be accidentally knocked over.
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