Lampshades are the unsung heroes of the interior design process, and choosing the right lampshade can make a huge difference! What other design element offers as much versatility? From size, color, material/texture and opacity, the right lampshade can warm, soften or energize a room, complement your color scheme and dynamically highlight your other architectural, design and decorating choices.
Start with the lamp
The more basic the lamp, the more varied the lampshades can be
Visual synergy is important: if the body of your lamp is tall and cylindrical, a tall drum lampshade may be best; if the lamp has a square base and a round body, a lampshade with a square base and round top may be a good fit. A shapely lamp can take a shapely shade - your goal is to match the mood of the base.
A good rule of thumb is to choose a lamp shade that's two-thirds the height of the base. That proportion assures that the lamp won't look top- or bottom-heavy. You also want to be sure that the lamp shade doesn't expose any of the hardware underneath.
Consider the room’s color palette and textures
Match lampshade colors to the colors in your room. Your lampshade can accent a primary color scheme or highlight a subtler tone, including the colors in the lamp base.
Lampshades come in a variety of fabrics and materials, including silk, burlap, paper, leather, strings, sticks, and more! If your furniture is leather, a smoother texture may be best, while softer textures look great with more traditional fabrics.
Determine your luminosity needs
Luminosity is just a fancy word for brightness – the amount of light that emanates from the lamp. Is the lamp/lampshade purely decorative? Will it be used for reading? Is it in a room that requires bright light or subtler mood lighting? Choose the lampshade material and opacity accordingly - reading lamps need a wider shade to provide plenty of light.
Consider the bulb - be sure you have 2-3 inches of separation from the bulb to shade, especially for higher wattage bulbs. Also be sure the top opening is wide enough to vent the heat. Compact fluorescent bulbs are great for most lamps because they burn cooler.
Sometimes breaking the “rules” results in unexpected surprises! Trust your eye and individualize your lampshade experience to reflect your distinct aesthetic style.