Height: 2/3 the height of the lamp.Width: Twice the width of the lamp.
White or off-white lampshades let the most light through, but colored lampshades are a great way to add an accent to your décor.
Think about the color and style of the room the lamp will be in and decide whether you want it to stand out or blend in with the surroundings. Either way, they should complement each other.
Generally, the height of the shade should be about ¾ the height of the base.The bottom of the shade should be wider than the widest part of the base.
If you ever come home from the antique market with a new lamp base sans lampshade, take heed of this golden rule before rushing out to grab any old covering. For one, lampshades come in a variety of shapes (empire, square, drum, oval) and an overwhelming range of sizes. Thankfully, the golden rule is actually an equation of measurements that will point you to the perfect lampshade to match your newfound lamp. First, measure the base and height of your lamp. The shade should be twice as wide as the lamp base, and one third of the total height of the lamp. So for a 6-inch lamp base, the shade should be at least 12 inches wide. And if the total height of the lamp (including the bulb and harp) is 24 inches, the shade should be 8 inches tall. If you prefer to follow rules with a visual aid, watch this video and never come home with the wrong lampshade again.
The placement of the lamp switch is also an issue. You don’t want to have to get out of bed just to turn your lamp on or off or risk hurting your back – or falling out of bed entirely – just to reach the switch. The ideal height for the lamp’s switch is around the same length as your arm, anywhere between 21 and 28 inches for most people. Of course, most convenient of all is a bedside lamp with the on/off switch right on the cord.
One of the most common bedroom decorating mistakes is choosing the wrong size bedside lamp. Most often, it’s a lamp that is too small for the nightstand. Getting the scale right is a balancing act — the wider your mattress, the wider the nightstand; and the wider the nightstand, the wider the lamp atop it. For a rough rule of thumb, your nightstand should measure between one-third and two-thirds the width of your mattress, and the bedside lamp should be roughly one-third the width of the nightstand when measured at the lamp’s widest point (usually the base of the shade).
The bottom of the shade should just cover the lamp switch so be sure to measure the harp before buying. The harp will tell you the height from the base of the socket to the top of the shade. (You can try using different sized harps while shopping.)
This is the tricky part. Some lamps call for shades of unusual sizes, but there are some general rules you can follow.
So if you’re buying a new lampshade make sure you’re getting the right one for the lamp and the room. Here are some things to consider:
How much light do you need and where should it be focused? Dark shades don’t usually allow light to filter through while light shades do. If it’s a reading lamp you’ll want a fairly wide lampshade base so that you get plenty of light.
If the base is very plain and simple you might want to consider a shade with some decorative embellishments or color.
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As for the shape, drum shades are the current trend, but you can’t go wrong by matching the shape of the lampshade to the shape of the lamp.
Bedside lamps have two basic jobs: providing enough light for comfortable reading and other bedroom activities, and looking great while doing so. Choosing a lamp can be confusing, though; how many do you need? How big should the lampshade be, and how tall the lamp? What style should you choose? Luckily, there are basic decorating rules that answer all of those questions and make choosing the right lamp a snap.
The right size lampshade balances the lamp. Generally, the height of the lampshade should be approximately two-thirds the height of the lamp’s body, measuring from the bottom of the lamp to the base of the light bulb. The width of the lampshade should be approximately twice the width of the widest part of the lamp. If you have a very thin lamp, choose a lampshade that is no wider than the height of the shade. For the best bedtime reading, the base of the lampshade should be roughly level with your eyes while sitting up in bed.
You need to make sure that the shade is big enough to allow a 2″ to 3″ space between the shade and the bulb (so that it doesn’t burn). Also, make sure that the top of the shade is big enough that the heat can escape.
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Decide if you want to call attention to the base or the shade. If the base is unique or bold use a more subdued lampshade.
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Sometimes it’s interesting the things we overlook. Take lamps, for example. Since lampshades and lamp bases are often sold together, we usually don’t give much thought to the shades. Which is odd, when you think about it because the lampshade will inevitably have as much impact on the room as the base. Lampshades are a valuable opportunity to add to the decorating story of your room through the size, shape and even the color or pattern of the shade.
Choosing the right height lamp is especially important if you are a bedtime reader. You don’t want the light to be shining over your head, nor do you want it right in your eyes. Assuming that your nightstand is the same height as your mattress (or within a couple of inches), look for a lamp the same height as your nightstand plus an extra two or three inches.
Even if you have two bedside lamps, don’t count on them for the only source of illumination in the room. If you don’t have a ceiling fixture, you’ll need at least one other lamp, preferably a floor lamp, across the room from your bed.
As a general rule, you need one bedside lamp if you’re the only one sleeping in the bed, and two if you have a partner. If your bedroom is very large or your mattress is a king, two bedside lamps give better balance, regardless of whether you’re the only one using the room or not.
Keep in mind that these are guidelines only. Occasionally you’ll come across a lamp that will call for an overscale shade or even a smaller-than-usual shade. Assess what will look best in your space and then choose the appropriate one. Trust your eye – if it looks funny don’t buy it, but if it looks good even though it doesn’t follow the rules, go for it.
As long as your bedside lamps are in keeping with the rest of your bedroom’s décor, the color and style are up to you. Spice up a contemporary bedroom with a sleek glass or chrome lamp, or pick a traditional ginger jar lamp for a country bedroom. Have some fun with a lamp shaped or decorated in a motif typical for your decorating style: anchor or seashell in a coastal-style room, palm tree in a tropical room, wine or grapes in a Tuscan-themed room, etc. Think of your bedside lamp as a powerful accent in your bedroom, and choose accordingly.
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So if your nightstand is 24 inches high, a lamp that is around 27 inches tall will look best.
5 Steps to Choosing the Right Lampshade Tips for buying the right lampshade to suit your lamp