Sunday, February 23, 2014

Update A Lamp (and a room) With A New Shade

It's amazing how one small thing can update a whole room! That's what I found when I recently got around to buying new lamp shades for the lamps in my family room.

Sometimes it's often the overlooked items in a room that also make a statement.  We tend to forget about one of the most used items in a room. Our lamps! A simple update to a lamp can make such a difference!

I've had these shades for over twenty years. I had replaced the original shades with these on a trip home to New York. At the time, I lived two hours away, so I was able to bring a lamp with me in the car. My mother suggested we visit a lamp shade shop downtown so that they could appropriately fit the shade to the lamp. It doesn't cost anything extra and it is well worth it. Most shops that specialize in lamp shades offer this service and even suggest it. It's so much better than choosing from a limited supply at the big box stores and guessing if the measurements offered will fit your lamp.What's even better is specialty shops usually have an enormous and varied supply on hand.

I knew the time had come to buy new shades when I noticed the inside lining of my lamp shades had started to rip. Over time the material had become brittle and so dried out, that even the slightest touch would start a whole new rip in the shade.

Once I found a shop in my area that specialized in lamps and lamp shades, I was off with my lamp in tow to find a new shade!

The kind sales clerk who helped me, got right to work plugging in my lamp and inserting a new bulb. She quietly scanned the walls of shades and pulled a few, based on the size my lamp would need and the color. She also inquired what room these would be in, giving her a clue as to what style shade would suit best. Was it formal or casual and what else was in the room? Another factor to consider is the size of the room.

My family room is quite large and is two stories with very high ceilings. The lamps need to give off a good amount of light, so that also determines the color of shade. Although, a black shade would look nice, it really isn't practical for my space. (Although that didn't stop us from trying one for fun!)

After trying many shapes, styles, colors and fabrics, I settled on an updated drum shade in a beige linen fabric. We also bumped up the size of the harp from 9" to 10" so that the shade would fit perfectly on the lamp. You don't want to see anything other than the neck of the lamp under the shade. In other words, if you can see the bulb socket than your shade is too short. In my case, the shade was too low. I did have spacers at one time to raise it a little, but when we moved, they got lost and it wasn't at the top of my list to replace.

Anyway, you can see here the shade is just a little to low.

There's a delicate balance between the shade size, harp size and lamp size. Most lamp stores find that balance by using spacers on the screw on top to raise the height of the shade if needed. I bet you didn't know buying a shade could be so technical, huh? Another reason why it is so important to have someone who knows what they're doing! It takes all the guess work out of it. At least for me!

But why stop there? Remember, it's all in the details! I also updated the finial from the old brass to a smooth black marble that coordinates with the black marble base of the lamp.

It was suggested that the wider the top of the shade, the bigger the finial could be. It does make a difference and it adds a little personality!

Bye-bye 90's lamp shade! You served me well, but it's time to move on...

Remember when I said the shade should sit just above the neck? Below, is the perfect example of how a lampshade should fit.

The neck and just a little of the brass fitting is showing, but the bulb socket is not visible.


So there you have it! Adding new shades to your existing lamps can brighten up not only the lamp, but a whole room!

Have you had any bright ideas lately?

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  1. Great post. I think finding just the right shade to compliment the lamp and the room is a very important accessory. It can definitley change the look of a room. Love your new shade and finial. Hugs, Marty

  2. Very pretty, Kathleen! It's like you got a new lamp just by changing out the shade!

    1. ...and you get a lot of bang for your buck if you only do it every 20 years :) Thanks for visiting Kathy!


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