As the clocks go back and our days grow darker, good lighting is essential. Not only for task lighting ( cleaning, cooking and reading etc.) but for creating a warm and comfortable ambience. Lighting is a huge topic, but in this guide I will advise on lamps. No living space should be without a lamp.
Before considering buying new table or standard lamps, make the most of what you’ve got already.
- Try changing the bulbs. It maybe that you need a bulb with a higher or lower wattage or Lumins, or a different shape or make. For example a large globe light will give a better quality of light than a standard bulb.
- 70 watt/230 volt clear energy saving bulb is equivalent to a 100 watt standard incandescent bulb. This type is dimmerble and provides good colour to shades.
- 18 watt/230 volt compact florescent bulb gives a greyer and flatter light than that of a standard energy saving bulb. Although equivalent to a 100 watt bulb, it does not appear to be as bright as a 70 watt energy saving bulb.
- 7 watt/230 volt LED classic shaped bulb is equivalent to a 25 watt incandescent bulb. Most of the light will travel upwards in the lamp and sometimes a ‘cold’ light is produced, so buy a ‘warm’ LED bulb.
- Use the maximum wattage a shade will allow, as a brighter one may singe or discolour the shade.
- A frosted or pearl bulb provides a softer more shadow free light.
Changing your shades will update your room and can improve and change the light. The shape, colour, size, material and lining are all key to the shades look and use. Images by Design Bump and Apartment Therapy.
- Light coloured shades in silk, parchment and paper will cast a cool light as the bulb transmits colour from the shade.
- A cream coloured silk pleated coolie shade is a popular choice, but doesn’t always hide the light source or add anything to the room.
- Dark colours will add drama and a atmospheric mood.
- A lined shade will soften the light source. Unlined shades tend to allow hot spots of light to show through the shade. If this happens you can paint the inside of the shade in gold or silver paint, which gives a warm glow to the room. Alternatively, choose a contrasting colour which picks up another colour in your room, for example red or green.
- Always opt for fewer lamps with larger shades for impact.
Above images by Thelampshade’s web blog and SugarCube.
Shade Shapes and Sizes
- Coolie or Empire is the most common shape of shade. A sloped coolie pushes most of the light downwards. Because of this, choose the biggest shade you can to provide useful light.
2. Drum – A drum shaped shade, deep or shallow, allows light to travel upwards and downwards, adding to ambient light and task lighting below. This shape of shade is also good for showing the fabric or design of the shade.
3. Oval – The deep slim oval shape performs in a similar way to the drum, and is suitable for smaller spaces.
4. Cylinder – An elegant and contemporary shape, especially if mounted on a candlestick lamp base.
5. Conical – This is usually seen on small candlestick lamps and provides narrow pockets of downward light.
6. Square or Tapered Square – A square shade instantly updates a room. It gives both upwards and downwards light and looks great in a corner of a room. It gives a far better light than a conical shape.
7. Rectangle or Tapered Rectangle – This shape also gives both upwards and downwards light, and gives a room a modern look. Useful on a bar or side table.
It’s worth experimenting with different shapes, sizes and colours of shades to compare the differences it can make. The shade needs to be appropriate to the amount and type of light you want it to achieve, it’s purpose and height and width of the base. The more open the shade, the more light you will get. Shadow is just as important as the light in a good interior to prevent a ‘flat’ ambience.
Lamps should be fit for their intended purpose of course, whether for reading in a chair, where a floor standing or standard lamp is useful, bedside lamps or sitting on a bedside cabinet.