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Your Guide to Lamps and Lamp Shades

Photo grey sofa and floor lamp against brick wall in the room

Lamps & Shades

Your Guide to Lamps and Lamp Shades

Lamps make great luminous companions, whether you’re reading a book that’s difficult to put down or providing light for a dim room. Shades spread light emission and add style to your home. Both are made of a variety of materials and come in various designs, shapes, and sizes, giving you plenty of ways to spruce up your humble abode.

Photo pillows on a bed of hotel room upholstered bed with pillows and a red blanket classic table lamp

Variety of Choice

Whether you're purchasing a lamp, a shade, or a combination of both, you'll find a wide variety to choose from to fit your existing decor or change the look of a room completely.

Types of Lamps

There are four different types of lamps: floor, desk, table, and wall-mounted selections. Floor units offer accent lighting as well as ambient illumination. They're especially useful for apartments and small houses since they occupy limited space. Desk lamps also known as task lamps, come in handy primarily for work-related activities carried out at desks or tables. Common features include adjustable necks and shades that face downward. Table models provide ambience and decoration. Many people also refer to them as bedside lamps because they're good additions to nightstands for nighttime reading. Wall-mounted units provide sufficient illumination without the need for additional space. Many feature a swing-arm design that allows you to shine the light in a precise location for personal comfort.

Types of Lamp Shades

Lamp shades add a decorative look to your lights as well as your room's decor. There are many different shapes available, including drum, retro, crystal, pendant, and fabric, to accommodate any style. For instance, if your decor is traditional, a drum or fabric shade adds a fitting, finishing touch. On the other hand, if your interior is modern or contemporary, a crystal or pendant shade complements your furnishings.

Lamp Styles

Lamps come in a broad range of styles, including traditional, modern, industrial, art deco, and vintage. Traditional-style units offer comfort and familiarity with finishing accents that accommodate the new age. Industrial models combine raw and natural metals, like aged iron, and come in almost any shape imaginable. Modern varieties, similar to the industrial look, step outside the traditional style with bold forms and shapes in sleek, creative designs. A vintage choice adds nostalgia and beauty, while the art deco style offers a true depiction of your love for beautiful, colorful pieces.

Lamp Shade Styles

Shades come in three styles: decorative, metal, or textured. Textured selections are available in any colour and a variety of prints. With the light off, this style adds subtle attraction basically providing a cover for the hardware and bulb. However, when you turn the light on, it complements the room with visual interest. A decorative shade includes ornate and heavy accents. Stained glass, Victorian, vintage, and beaded units all fall into this category, adding character to the environment whether the lamp is on or off. Metal varieties are a growing trend amongst homeowners. While they don't allow an abundance of illumination to shine through, they complement nearly any decor.

Photo lamp on night table next to bed cozy living

Things to Consider When Buying a Lamp

There are many factors to consider before purchasing one, like the room's decor, size of the space, and the functionality. For example, if you're looking for a floor lamp, the height should complement the room size. They also come in a variety of design options including console, torchiere, arc, and multiple lights. Make sure you have a location that's adequate with nothing in the way. If you're looking into purchasing a desk lamp, it should be similar to the desk size. You should also select one that has features like adjustable lighting, several watt options, a dimmer switch, and LEDs for safety and to conserve energy.

Table units make a stylish and functional addition to a busy space such as a living room. Just like desk models, it too should match the furniture's height for a cohesive look. Also, take into consideration the primary use. Are you going to use it as a night light or as a reading lamp? If you are adding a wall-mounted unit, make certain that you add it to a beneficial location and that you have enough clearance for comfort, but avoid placing it too high where it doesn't provide enough direct illumination.

Photo vintage floor lamp on a table

Things to Consider When Buying a Lamp Shade

A lamp shade needs to match the base in order to create a complementary look. It should also be shorter than the base so that the design gets exposure, yet is long enough to cover the hardware. The colour also affects the amount of light you receive. For example, a thick or a dark unit provides less illumination. You can match your shade to the colour or your lamp or mismatch them for a glamorous contrast and personalised look.

Photo retro interior home decoration with vibrant colors and antique furniture

Pay Attention to Light Bulbs, Too

Bulbs play a role in the quality and type of light you receive. Things you should take into consideration before purchasing them include the colour, such as white or clear, and the fluorescent temperature, lumens, and wattage. The higher the lumens in a bulb, the brighter the light is. LEDs and CFLs are energy-efficient options, so they use less electricity and last longer. LEDs are also cool to the touch, which is beneficial if you're using them in rooms where they are on for several hours each night. As a general rule, warm, white bulbs work best for living rooms and bedrooms. Bright whites are suitable for kitchens and workspaces, as they project an abundance of natural light, and daylight colour bulbs are ideal for reading and offering illumination for nooks and studies.

Photo table lamp and sofa

Maintenance Tips

In order to keep your lamps and shades looking their best, turn off the lights, and then once they cool, use a damp cloth to remove dust. Bulbs overtime can lose nearly 30 per cent of their brightness, replacing them before they burn out ensures you enjoy a better quality of lighting. 

Lamps and shades add style and functionality to your home's interior. They can tie together your rooms, creating coordinated looks or stand alone and make bold statements. Take into consideration the use, placement, and room decor prior to your purchase. Once you decide on the type and style you desire, shop the many designs to find one that fits your needs.