We have lived in our home for sixteen months now, and still lampshades are languishing somewhere on an endless to-do list. I realised the other week that actually, having bare bulbs dangling from the ceiling is not exactly the best form of interior decor. The problem I’ve always found with lampshades though is that once you put them up, they… well, they shade the lamp, don’t they! So you don’t get the full benefit of the light, and that can be inconvenient. 

Because I’m a bit funny about these things, I’ve spent a lot of time lately researching lighting and lampshades – to make sure I don’t waste my money on something I’ll end up hating. Here then are my five top tips for choosing lampshades for your home:

  1. Consider where it will be. If you need good light in a room, it’s probably better to go for a wire structure that doesn’t actually shade the bulb too much. For bedrooms, I’m a firm believer that the overhead light should never be too bright – so here is where I use a “normal” lampshade. If you’re looking for something in between, a plain white shade can do a great job whilst still allowing a fair amount of light.
  2. Remember you don’t have to fit the colour scheme exactly! You could drive yourself insane trying to find the exact shade of green to match your curtains. I’d say if you want it to match exactly, you’re better off buying it from a matching range with the same company (lots of websites and shops do a range that includes lampshades, curtains, rugs, cushions etc). If you’re not into having your accessories looking like a page in a catalogue, then just go for a “theme” of colours rather than having everything the same. You could have greens or pinks, or go for a couple of different colours. 
  3. Think outside the box. It’s easy to head for your nearest outlet of a well known chain, or to go to the first entry when you Google “lampshades” – but I have a real thing about not wanting to have the same as everyone else. I hate the idea of someone walking into my house and saying “oh, I have that rug/cushion/lampshade”  or worse – their gran has it! I prefer to look at sites like UCI Lighting, where you can find something a little different that will really make your space unique.
  4. Decide whether to have your lampshades make a statement or blend in. There’s no rule that says you have to have a boring lampshade that blends into the background of your room; it doesn’t even need to match your existing colour scheme. Go a bit off-piste with something bold and vibrant, and see what a difference it can make to the whole room!
  5. Make your own. Ok, full disclosure: I am probably never going to do this – but Pinterest is one of those sites that often makes you think you could be capable of such things! I love to have unique things, and the best way to do that is to make something yourself. I found this tutorial which makes it look fairly simple to try.

Vicky Charles

Vicky is a single mother, writer and card reader.


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