Read these 13 Lamp Shades Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Lighting tips and hundreds of other topics.
The right floor lamp shade depends in part on the purpose of your floor lamp.
For task lighting, choose a shade that directs most of the light downward toward your work. For ambient lighting, choose a shade with a pleasant color that will filter the ambient light into the room.
Many people favor gentle tones of cream, amber and pink for this purpose. Blue and green shades have a distressing tendency to make the people in the room look unwell.
If you want a replacement lamp shade to take the place of one that's ugly or out of style, don't throw the old one away! You can learn how to cover a lamp shade yourself, whether you reuse an old frame or get fresh lamp shade materials from a craft store.
If you're using an old shade, start by carefully removing the old fabric. If you're careful and cut along the seams, you can use the old fabric as a pattern for the new shade, so it's worth taking some time on this.
Lay out your replacement lamp shade fabric with the inside up. If you're using a pattern, trace it lightly on the new fabric with pencil or disappearing-ink marker. Otherwise, roll the lamp shade frame along the fabric, marking its top and bottom as you go.
Cut out your shade around the outside of the pattern you marked. (It's easier to trim away a little excess fabric than to make up for a shade that comes up short.) If there are corners, cut a small V at the top of each corner to keep the fabric from bunching up.
Use fusible webbing and an iron to attach the fabric to the frame. Do the sides first, then the top, then the bottom.
Trim away any excess fabric or webbing, and be sure all fabric is at least three inches away from the light bulb when the shade is in place.
Lamp Shade Guide: Shabby chic's one thing. Shabby lampshades that the Fire Department has condemned are another. But suppose your linen, cotton, bamboo or fringed lampshade isn't falling apart. How do you know when you need replacement lampshades? You may need to replace the lampshade simply because it doesn't flatter the lamp base. You wouldn't pair a square, mission-style base with a fringed curvy Victorian fringed shade. Rectangular shades look better with square bases.
You may also need replacement lampshades if you painted your den jungle colors. A frilly pink lampshade will clash with the Tarzan theme. Glass lamp shades, rattan/bamboo lampshades, or even better, leopard print lampshades--yes, even chandelier lamp shades that Siegfried and Roy would like--welcome you to the jungle. Fabric lampshades do experience wear and tear from heat, dusting, and handling. Too-hot light bulbs too close to the shade can cause the fabric to crumble.
Not So Shady Tip: Be sure that there is at least three inches of space between the lampshade and the light bulb. If you're a fan of vintage decor, a slightly shabby lampshade creates a 1950s effect when you turn on the light. Light passing through slightly tarnished, dusty lampshades creates a charming veneer of advanced age. So when people say about your lampshade, "Not too shabby," you can either reply, "Thank you" or "I can do better."
Lamp Shade Guide: You want metal lamp shades but worry that there might be a medieval Black Knight effect. After all, it was usually dark in those castles. One of the biggest considerations in choosing a lampshade is how it will direct the light. This is doubly true for chandelier lamp shades.
Fortunately, chandelier lampshades are completely tailored to chandeliers just as candelabra bulbs are. Still, you think, dark metal shades restrict light and cast too much of a pall. Dark metal shades look too heavy. Not so. Kathy Ireland's ACafe Country Tuscany Square Chandelier matches copper finish metal chandelier lamp shades with European-style antique gold and copper finish on the base and sockets.
For added illumination in metal chandelier lamp shades, try pinhole trim on the top and base of metal lampshades, which you'll find on the Metal Shade Island Chandelier. Dark metal-framed glass lamp shades for your chandelier are an alternative if you're into heavy metal (shades, that is) but dislike lampshades with more armor than "Camelot."
Lampshade Guide: You're blindingly brilliant...on second thought, that may just be your white glass or clear crystal/glass lamp shades coupled with too-high-intensity light bulbs. You know, of course, that too-transparent chandelier lamp shades don't go together with high-wattage candelabra bulbs.
Table lamps and floor lamps are no different. In the case of desk lamps, the shade isn't as important as the brightness of the bulb, but you still don't want glare interfering with your work. Most clear glass lamp shades are designed with a particular wattage in mind to eliminate glare.
For example, a Waterford Crystal table lamp comes with standard 60-watt bulbs. The Alexander-John Torchiere Table Lamp takes a frosted candelabra bulb. Show off your brilliance and choose the correct bulb for your crystal/glass lamp shades.
Lampshade Guide: Your torchiere lampshade is so large it's hitting your head as you try to read. Ideally, torchiere fabric replacement lamp shades should be the size of the lampshades the lamp originally came with. For example, the Viennese-inspired John-Richard Torchiere lampshade is 12 inches high, 7 inches across the base and 7 inches at the top. The lamp itself measures 68 inches high.
Lamp Shade Guide: Spider. Uno. They both sound like card games, bands, viruses, software, Web sites...until you add clip-on. All guesses are off. Spider, uno, and clip-on are the three lampshade fittings that fasten the lampshade to the bulb. Whether you use fabric, metal, crystal, or glass lamp shades, you'll be buying one of the three fittings as part of the package. And one fitting does not fit all! There are marked differences in the three.
While you can't put a square lampshade in a round hole, you can have fun mixing and matching lampshades and bases. Some suggestions before we leave you to your imagination:
Lamp Shade Guide: Tired of bottle green glass lampshades for bankers' lamps or metal lampshades that overheat when you turn on your desk lamp? You do have options. An attractive Tiffany-style desk lamp with a wooden base and stained glass lampshade brightens up even the most dismal dorm room or tiny home office.
Swingarm desk lamps can have soft fabric lampshades. For piano players, the Tiffany glass lamp shades on piano desk lamps add classical inspiration. How about opting for funky halogen desk lamps with blue bubble glass lamp shades? Plus there's Italianate bases with fabric lampshades, warm inviting mica lampshades...your desk can have pizzazz, and who knows, you might just get more work done all thanks to new or replacement lamp shades! And you thought only Starbucks could motivate you to work smarter on your taxes...
Your antique Belgian glass lamp needs a lampshade that's roughly 3/4 the height of the lamp base. The shade should be 2 to 3 inches shorter than the base, so set your prospective shade next to the base. When you test the shade on the base, make sure the shade covers the bulb--you want the antique Belgian glass to shine the most!
Make sure you know the measurements of the shade:
1) top diameter
2) bottom diameter
4) drop, or how the shade fits on the lamp base
It's usually best to take your lamp to a lighting store to compare lampshade heights. What looks ideal online may be too small for your antique Belgian glass treasure once you try it on for size. Don't forget to ask the lighting experts in the lighting store for advice. Also, antiques experts may have some helpful hints.
Tired of the same old white and cream cloth shades? Try unusual lampshades material to shed a different light on your room!
So, you finally bit the bullet and decided to redecorate. Those gaudy, velvet-trimmed lampshades are cramping your style so it's time to drop those lamps off at Goodwill, right? Wrong! A shade doesn't make a lamp, it's actually the other way around. Just because those 70s style shades clash with your new modern and minimalistic look doesn't mean that the entire lamp is unsalvagable.
Try buying some sleek new shades to accent those perfectly good bases. You can change the entire look of your lamps by swapping out shades and you will be saving yourself a bit of cash in the meantime. So, break out the lampshade guide and pick one that's right for your new decor.
Lampshade Guide: Sorry to say, birchbark lampshades are a little too reminiscent of summer camp arts and crafts. If you like the rustic homemade look, try a natural or wrapped rattan lampshade. Even chandelier lamp shades can go homemade-looking—this is ideal for a kitchen chandelier.
Try a woven raffia clip-on shade. Bamboo is also a terrific choice to position before bay windows in that oceanfront house or lake cottage. If you still want to bring out that birchbark lamp you made while drinking bug juice, do so at your own risk.