Décor Illuminator: Shade your Lamps

- Ashmita Rijal

Rooms should look like those who live in them. A well decorated room is a sign of a happy family they say and for that, a mere lampshade can rescue. A small lampshade might barely be noticed in a room but believe me when I say that a lampshade has a huge capacity in making your room look contemporary and well kept. But it isn’t easy, for one must have the knowledge of a variety of materials, shapes and sizes to get the right type of a lampshade for each room. A carefully selected lampshade will make your lamp really special as well as maximize the function of the lamp. You should choose a shade with a shape that follows the general contours of the lamp. Shades add the finishing touch to a lamp but they should also be selected to produce the amount of light required. Translucent white and ivory shades give off a gentle overall light while opaque shades focus light down for reading or illuminating objects on a table. Although it’s best to keep all the white shades in a room the same color, an occasional colored or black shade can add zing and diversity.

According to Interior Designer Arati Joyti, “Table lampshades with automatic touch would be nice in a bedroom next to the bed, which adds a decorative element besides being practical. Pendant shades are good for kitchen islands or working tables because it gives light directly downward as they provide good light over tables for performing tasks. Floor lampshades give direct light up or down and can be placed in the corners of the rooms to bring life to a room with the right ambience.”

When choosing a lampshade, there are a number of factors to consider. A lamp that is meant to provide light for reading or work, for instance, should have a lampshade that directs the light to the work surface. A lamp which is chosen to provide ambient light should direct light upwards or outward. Arati believes, “Having dimmers can help you get control over the brightness and mood”.

Therefore, Chief Interior Designer Deepa Prajapati of Delight Interiors gives some tips on selecting an appropriate lampshade. She suggests that the following should be considered before buying a lampshade:

  • Measure the height of your lamp, shade should be 1/3 to 1/2 the height of the lamp
  • The widest part of the lampshade should be 1/2 inch wider in diameter than the widest part of the lamp base.
  • Complement the lamp base’s shape with the shade’s shape. If the lamp has a round base, then choose a round shade; if its base is square, then choose a lampshade that is more angular.
  • Choose a color that complements your décor.
  • Choose texture that is easy to clean because shades attract dust.

One should also consider the position of the lamp in the room. A ceiling light requires a different style of light than a table lamp, and a floor lamp yet another style of lampshade. Arati Joyti says, “If you are planning to use a lampshade on a side table as a piece of decoration, then it is ideal to go for cloth lamp shades. In addition, there is no risk of heating up or breakage. Glass lamp shades are ideal for wall and ceiling lights as the ceiling lights are not cleaned daily. Moreover, metal lamp shades can be used on a desktop as well as a wall”.

Then there are the types of lampshades one should consider. The most common type of lampshade is made of a wire frame covered with fabric or paper. The shape may be cylindrical, conical or square. Some wire frame lampshades are whimsically shaped or painted. Other glass lampshades may be made of colored glass or painted glass. Ceiling lamps often have opaque glass shades.

However, in the local context where lack of electricity is a major part of everyone’s lives, lampshades and their usefulness might be compromised a little. But, does it matter that those petite beauties cannot be lit most of the time? Experts don’t think so; they can still be an element of visual décor in your room. Arati looks at the matter a little differently, “Lampshades can have aesthetic value as well as be practical to use in Nepal. This is because we can use energy-efficient LED or CFL bulbs to save electricity in lamps shades without exposing the ugly wiring and naked bulbs and fittings. Using dimmers also help to conserve energy and extend the life of the bulb. One can also buy paper lampshades made in Nepal, if you are looking for something more chic.”

Whereas, Deepa has this to say about lampshades and load shedding, “The colors of the lampshades should be bright which emits more light with less consumption of electricity. Glass lampshades are to be opted for because they address many lighting issues and are relatively inexpensive for what you get; all of which is convenient with regard to the electricity crisis in Nepal.”

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