The Right Lampshade For Every Lamp #1: A Few Considerations Selecting the right lampshade is most likely not up there in your top ten most pressing design issues…


But the wrong lampshade, even on the lamp that’s otherwise perfect for its location, pops out like the proverbial sore thumb.

It will look silly, which is probably not the effect you are looking for.

A good scout, etc. Have some familiarity with the topic at hand before venturing out on your quest for the perfect lampshade…

One of the most basic principles of good design is relatedness. Lampshades are no exception. Think of the lamp base and shade as one complimentary unit. Ergo, a clean lined shade partners well with a clean lined lamp. A lamp base with an Asian motif looks great when paired with a Pagoda style shade.

IF elegance can be defined as making the largest possible statement  by using the fewest possible gestures,

THEN be careful to avoid overkill by using a highly detailed shade with a highly detailed lamp. If the lamp is ornate, use a simple shade. If the lamp is plain, a more decorated shade can be used. Balance is key.

Paper or fabric in a variety of textures and finishes can be used to construct a shade. Each material and finish lends its own personality. Just remember that lampshades are dust collectors and some textures are harder to keep clean than others. Obviously the color you choose should work with the style of the lamp as well as the room it will live in.

  • A shade lined in gold paper will give a golden glow to the light it emits.
  • A shade lined in pale pink creates light that everyone looks good in.

Another decision is the amount of translucency that will work best for your purposes. Opaque shades are a good choice only when the lamp is to be used as an accent lamp and not needed for general illumination or for use as a task light. Otherwise, if you need the lamp for reading or ambient lighting, use a translucent shade.

As a general rule, pleated shades suggest traditional styling and are most at home in rooms furnished with antiques. The same is true of those shades that have a lot of pattern and detailing. More modern décor calls for an un-pleated shade. However, a box-pleated shade can work well in a contemporary setting.

Ask A Professional. If you are buying a new lampshade, it’s best to take the lamp to a reputable lighting store. This is especially true of multiple socket lamps. An experienced lighting professional will walk you through the best options without missteps.

Next Time: The Right Lampshade For Every Lamp #2 – Specifics about shape and size

Related Posts

(The Right Lampshade For Every Lamp Two Part Series)

The Right Lampshade For Every Lamp #2: Specifics About Size & Shape



The original version of this article was published on It’s represented here as a foundation for further topic discussion and updates.