Light and Alive — Making a Difference to Your Home With Lampshades

This is a guest post.



Many people see choosing lamp shades as somewhat of an afterthought when it comes to decorating — a finishing touch that’s not really planned until the paint or wallpaper is long dry. In fact, to maximize the benefits of light in your new scheme, you should think about lamp shades right at the outset.

The size of your lamp shade is the starting point. If you’re starting your scheme from scratch, you might be buying lamp and shade together, but if you’re simply updating the shade to complement a new scheme, you must consider the size. Too big, and the shade will not only cover a lot of the lamp but also limit the distribution of light. Too small, and the lamp will dominate making the shade look out of place.

When it comes to choosing the style, look to the rest of the scheme in your room. A traditional pleated design might not fit with the ultramodern trends that are popular at the moment. Equally, a contemporary chrome design won’t sit well with a country cottage inspired room. Materials will make a big difference and there are products made in everything from leather or metal to cotton or even silk.


If you’re just decorating, make the light dimmer than the other sources in the room so that it doesn’t upset the balance. If the lamp is primarily used for lighting the room, it will need to be as bright as other sources of light — perhaps a pair (or more) of matching lights. Think, too, about the heights of your light sources. Task lighting must also be bright, but the shade will have to focus the beam more specifically, often as a down-light or on an angle-poise lamp.



The type of shade you choose will directly affect the way the beam of light shines. Up lighters, down lighters, or up and down lighters, refer to where the holes are in the shades. Where down-lighters are usually used for tasks, and light “spills” out of the bottom, up-lighters are more usually designed to light a room. There are also shades that diffuse light rather than direct a beam. They’re translucent, so light surrounds the bulb and also pushes ambient light in all directions.



You’ll find that the lighting in your room really does make a difference to the overall look and feel, so do make sure to give it due thought when planning the redecoration.


It’s important to consider the look of the lamp when it’s not switched on, effectively just as a piece of furniture, and also how it will look when it’s plugged in, which might be very different. Think about what the lamp will be used for — decorating the room, illuminating it, or for task lighting such as for reading.



Photo credits: Designer: Courtney Lake / Photography: Photo by Adza


I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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  1. That’s something I definitely need to do sometime soon. My lamps are so outdated!!!

  2. We need to replace our lamps! I tend to veer on the side of plain when it comes to decorating. I hope to venture away from that when we find our forever home. Though I will still stay simple. 🙂

  3. We need to get some new lamps for our new apartment when we move.

  4. Never really thought about lampshades in decorating. I love that colorful one you have.

  5. I never thought to get creative with lamp shades! It really does add something in that pic.

  6. I need two new lampshades for my living room… it can update a room for sure.

  7. Honestly, I don’t usually think about these things when choosing a lamp. That’s probably why I’m not usually happy with how they look in the house.

  8. We will be moving in the fall and I am already thinking of ways I will decorate our new house. Lighting is extremely important and a great way to highlight any room.

  9. My favorite lamp has a clear base. Because the room it’s in is smaller, it feels like it takes up less room. But because the bottom is open, I stuff ornaments in it at Christmas or orange tinsel at Halloween. So much fun! Lamps really do make a difference.

  10. These are great tips! It is amazing how much difference something as simple as a lampshade can make.

  11. My lamp right now is pretty plain, it needs a good update!

  12. I agree that a lampshade can really change the dynamics and decor of a room. We bought some new lamps last year and it took me a long time to pick the perfect lampshades for them.

  13. We don’t have any lamps but I’ve been really thinking about getting a few.