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How to choose the right lampshade February 05, 2015 00:00 1 Comment

Lampshades are often an afterthought when it comes to decorating a room, but they can actually contribute greatly to the design and feel of your room being a flexible way of adding colour and pattern.

Retro lamp shades

There are a number of things to bear in mind when purchasing a lampshade:

Is your shade for a ceiling pendant light fitting, a table lamp or a standing lamp - it is important to make sure the shade you buy is suitable for its purpose as fittings may vary.
Do you need a lampshade with UK standard fittings or are you looking for a shade to fit a base from Ikea or similar which use wider European (ES) fittings?
Most lampshades these days will fit both type of fittings (ours do) but it's still worth checking before purchasing.

If it's for a central ceiling pendant light consider how big your room is, you don't want a tiny shade that will be lost in the space, equally a huge shade will dominate the space.  Don't forget that if you hang it too low some of your taller friends and family may bump their heads! (I had a beautfiul shade that was massive, but I hung it so low my husband used to have to walk around it!). 
For a lamp base, the shade should skim the top of the base with no hardware or sockets visible when you look at your lamp whilst standing in the room.

The cone shaped/empire shapes are becoming less fashionable for ceiling lights being replaced by the more contemporary drum shape, but they still look great for a small beside or table lamp and you can find some super designs online.

Check the maximum wattage of bulb you can use for the lampshade you purchase.  Most lampshades will allow you to use a 100watt equivalent energy saving light bulb - this will give off the most amount of light. Don't opt for a dark coloured shade if you want a lot of light to shine through.

You may wish to purchase a diffuser to sit in the bottom of your ceiling lampshade so you don't see the bulb and get dazzled when you look up. The diffuser is a white circle of PVC in the middle, it sits underneath the shade hiding the bulb and diffusing the light.

Lampshades are not the easiest things to clean and can attract dust.  You can buy 'lampshade cleaners' which are basically a rubber sponge that brush the dust off.  Otherwise a soft bristled paint brush should do the trick and some people even use the upholstery attachment of a vacuum cleaner, but having not tried this myself I would advise that you take care if using this method.