I found a vintage pair of lamps for our bedroom without lampshades, and that’s what started the ball rolling. After purchasing them, I have finally gotten around to ordering shades for them. (had to wait to find the perfect nightstands first!)
I needed to find the right lampshade for these wonderful vintage lamps!
Figuring out what was going to be the right lampshades for those lamps got me going on fixing a few other mismatched lamps and shades around the house too.
Some of these were so ridiculously mis-sized, it’s comical how bad they looked… and how long I lived with them that way! I guess I just got used to it… plus our stuff was in storage for a year while we were renovating our house, so I’ll use that for my excuse. 😉
Regardless, I made it my goal to reexamine each lamp in our house and critique it. Concentrating on one task while the process is fresh in my brain makes me more efficient. Plus as I’m going through multiple websites looking, I would probably run across a good one for a different lamp anyway.
So, starting with this handcrafted pottery base light:
Yup! That’s one of the ridiculous ones!
It looked like it put on it’s daddy’s lampshade, like how our kids used to do to their daddy’s shoes after he came home from work in the evening. I’m embarrassed to admit how long this shade was on this lamp too!! Yikes!
It was looking so bad, that I was almost going to donate the whole lamp and shade.
Fortunately, I came to my whits and I’ll show you a little further down the ‘after’… It’s an amazing difference!
Next, is this one in the living room:
The lampshade was a bit too large on it too.
This shade came from a different lamp several years ago, and although it was originally an expensive shade, now had a couple stains and a rip on the back.
Another lamp I needed to get a shade for was this little wall mounted lamp:
It was left in the house from the previous owner. During renovation it got tossed around, up here and there as the guys moved from one floor to the other. It’s a miracle it didn’t get broken!
After the renovation dust settled, I found a use for it in the mudroom and the ‘after’ of it is a bit different too. (you can read all about our whole house renovation project here)
Finally, here is the glass base of one of those vintage lamps I found on a Facebook garage sale site:
Since nightstands are typically fairly low, it’s nice to have tall lamps to compensate. These lamps had a wonderful vintage Colonial look to them and wound up to be just perfect in our master bedroom.
Ok, so once I identified the lamps that looked awkward, I needed a refresher course in properly sizing a lampshade to a lamp.
Here is a wonderfully simple sketch Ballard Designs has on their site:
Of course these are basic guidelines, there are exceptions to the rule, like in floor lamps etc. and there is always room for creative license. But for the most part, this is what will wind up looking balanced to your eye.
Remember, the bottom of the lamp shade should clear the top of the lamp base, and can show a bit of the stem, but should not expose the socket part. (one site explained it like that would be a lady’s slip showing)
The other thing to consider is color and style of the lamp base. I like the lamp and lampshade to look like a unit… Not for one to over power the other, but to compliment each other and be a unit!
Now back to the handcrafted pottery lamp:
The base has this lovely colorful glaze on it, so I definitely wanted the shade to work with that… Unlike the last shade that just was there, and made the whole lamp seem BLAH. This lamp needed something to make it really pop.
I search all over online. There were not very many shades that were the right size that would have been the right color for this lamp.
Then I found it… at Anthropologie.com
Anthropologie can be a bit pricey but they do have really unique home and furniture pieces, so I always check them out. I’ve had good luck finding things with some pretty great clearance prices, so you never know!
Sometimes you just find the perfect thing and have to go for it.
This lampshade wasn’t on clearance, and it was a bit pricey… I did wait patiently, with it in my cart until they offered sale, then jumped on it. (you can get burned waiting too… I’ve waited too long and had them go out of stock and discontinued!)
Here is the before and after:
Seriously, is this the right lampshade or what?! And wow… it popped alright!
Ohhh… I just checked there and it just happens to be on sale today!!!
The crewel hand stitching on the shade is really gorgeous. It would have taken many hours to create it, so the big price felt a little better.
Plus, look how perfect it is with the rug in the office:
(The wool rug in the office is from Overstock. I have had really good luck finding great deals on some good quality items there!)
Besides the perfect color, (for the lamp and the room!) quality workmanship, the new lampshade is now the appropriate size for the lamp and now looks like a lovely ‘unit’.
Moving on to the living room lamp:
I couldn’t get my camera to capture the true color, (at least it doesn’t show quite right on my monitor). But the color on the lamp and the color of the lamp has a little more chartreuse than gold in it.
So once again, no only is the shade the perfect color and shape, it is also the appropriate size for the lamp.
Then to those pair of vintage glass lamps in the bedroom.
I finally found the right nightstands. (After staying in Maine this summer, I fell in love with the idea of navy blue nightstands. Here is where I found the perfect navy nightstands! )
The little Colonial style arrow finials on the lamps were what caught my eye. So sweet!
In my search for the right lampshade, since the lamps were white, I wanted the shades to be darker. Navy is the main accent color in the bedroom, so that color for the shades felt perfect.
I found these linen weave shades in the right size and shape at Ballard Designs.
I’m thrilled with their vintage charm. I should note too that although this picture doesn’t show it, the shade does show the top of the lamp. I took the picture with the camera angled down so you could see a little of the table top. So, yes, it is sized right for the lamp. 🙂
Oh wait, one more lamp to show you…
That little wall mounted sconce that somehow didn’t get broken during the renovation found a home in the mudroom above the coffee counter.
I painted the tarnished metal arm black. The clip-on lampshade is from a gal that makes and sells them on Etsy.
Aha… if you noticed at the beginning, where I talked about the ‘rule of thumb’ rules for the right sized lampshade, I mentioned that the socket isn’t supposed to show. Well on this wall sconce it does, but it really had to because there really isn’t enough room in the height for it not to. I actually tried a larger lampshade first and it looked huge on this petite lamp. So I guess I’ll claim that ‘creative license’ on this one.
What a difference it is when you find the right lampshade! All of these lamps boast a pretty convincible arguement for that.
How about you? Do you have a lamp that needs a critical eye? Go through your rooms and take a second look… You may be surprised what you’ve gotten ‘used to’!
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Thank you HOMETALK for the huge feature!!