Lampshade 101: Made in the Shade

You’ve labored over key items in your space: a classic L-shaped sectional, the meticulously placed vintage rug, and the oh-so-perfect palette to pull it all together. In design, it’s often the details that ultimately make a room feel complete. Being mindful of the light that fills your space is just as important, but is sometimes overlooked. More than natural light, lamps — and their shades — bring function and character to our lived-in rooms. Your room will be made in the shade if you follow these simple do’s and don’ts for lamp light and your décor.

Highlight Amber Waves
To bring the eyes back to the seating area in a large room, place semitransparent amber shades on either side of a neutral sofa. When the overhead and recessed lights are dim, the warm glow of floor lamps highlights the natural elements of your space.

Find Lighting Balance
In an otherwise heavily textured room or living area, a grouping of opaque glass lampshades and light shades offer a lightweight touch. Airy bubble lamps give balance the heavy look of leather seating and wooden accents. Your lamps can each be quite different, but they’ll work as a grouping if they share the same aesthetic: similar shape or color.

Lend New Light
Whether your lamp base is handed down or you score it at the neighborhood flea market, add a modern shade to give it new life. A ceramic urn lamp can benefit from a simple, neutral drum shade. By placing the lamp within arm’s reach, it can transition nicely to a reading light in the evening.

Perfect the Classic Shade
Pleated shades on matching urn lamps bring a classic look to your space. In a room of traditional prints and textures, colorful lamp bases are best paired with lightweight, transparent Empire shades. Don’t overthink it; let the light from your simple shades illuminate the features of your rooms. And if you can’t find exactly what you want in the store, consider making your own lampshade.

Scale It Back
Highlight the natural light in your space with airy and reflective lighting sources. Heavy bases and dark shades can appear bulky. Consider draping a metallic arc lamp over your favorite reading corner. Its reflective shade will catch the light as it bounces throughout the room, but still focus light where you need it.