The decorative accessory of the moment, believe it or not, is the lampshade. Shop the market today and you will find lampshades in many different hues – or dare I say shades? You’ll also find a variety of shapes, from cones and squares to hexagons and octagons.
Believe me: today’s most popular accessory is no longer the throw pillow – it’s the lampshade.
Almost any fabric can be used to cover a lampshade frame, whether you prefer stripes, checks, a floral chintz or polka dots. The fabric on your windows can be the same fabric on the lampshades on either side of your sofa if that’s the look you’re after.
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I’ve seen some lampshades made from the bark of real trees and others made from metal, an updated nod to yesterday’s. A tall shade on the desk lamp in your family library is definitely on trend.
Well, as we know, lampshades have always made a decorative statement and some styles are classics. Think black lampshades lined with gold. They are understated, elegant and never out of style.
Remember the days when accordion folds and grosgrain ribbon pleated sunglasses were everywhere? They were a stylish way to add glamor to hurricane-style glass lamp bases filled with seashell collections for those who lived on the beach, or faux flowers for country dwellers.
I’ve seen lamps today fitted with shades made from raffia-style garden hats – and believe it or not, there are lampshades in bar settings made from velvet riding hats.
Lampshades can be made from almost anything. In addition to jockey hats, you can also use leather riding boots as lamp bases. In black or tan, they can be very snappy and handsome. I once used riding boot lamps in a hotel project for a wine bar, but they would also fit perfectly in an equestrian themed room in Wellington.
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Ribbons, cords, crystals – there are so many materials that can be found on lampshades today. Some modern pendant lights have simple glass covers in green, red, blue and amber and can be used successfully in decorating projects across the spectrum of styles.
When it comes to table lamps, I believe in lining the shades with pastel pink, coral and even yellow to give a room a warm glow when the lamps are lit. This glow is a touch every room needs at night. Cold, white light might be the right look in a bathroom, but it doesn’t create a cozy atmosphere in a living room when the sun goes down.
And here are a few final tips on table lamps:
• I often cover the open ends of my silk sunglasses so you don’t see the lightbulb when you look up and down.
• The lower edge of the shade should always completely cover the socket and neck of the lamp. The hue and base should appear as one without distracting the eye or breaking the visual flow.
Palm Beacher Carleton Varney is President of Dorothy Draper & Co., an international design firm with offices in New York, West Palm Beach, London and White Sulfur Springs, W.Va. His new book, due out in the spring, is entitled The High Life of Dorothy Draper. Visit CarletonVarney.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Support our journalism. Subscribe today.