Thursday, May 28, 2009

Shade Shape

If all decor items were part of a jungle, then lampshades would be hippos. Keep with me here.

Hippos are silent types, right? So are lampshades. And if the hippo isn't in it's happy place...everybody knows about it...if a lampshade isn't sunny...people also can tell. Plus there is a christmas song about hippos...which makes me smile...there is also an entire aisle in Walmart for lampshades...which also makes me smile. And get this...that aisle...yeah, it's as wide as (you guessed it) a Hippo.

So anyhoo. The hippo...err...lampshade that was in our den alluminating our little storage dresser had a beige lampshade on it. But the pink undertone of the shade was not getting along with the green undertones of the paint color. I know you can't tell, but trust me...the clash was bigger than Kristi Allen's chinese takeout box.

After a little research I ran out to grab a square empire shade from Target. I wanted to get a square shade because the basement door could open and hit a round shade. Plus the linear shape accented the squares of the mirror and the squares of the birdcage and the squares of the books. Yes, lots of squares here. So that's when it hit me...maybe I could share my lamp shade research with you.

So here are the six main shade shapes that I found and some info on each of them. After reading this you will be well equipped to choose your shade, and all of the calories you consumed today will not count. Cause that's how I roll :)

First up is the bell shape. The bell shape is the most popular of the lampshades and also in my opinion the most traditional and formal. The features of a bell shade are that the top ring of the frame is smaller than the bottom ring and the vertical lines of the shade are curved rather than straight. The curved lines create an arc or a bell shape. (duh Katie.) This flared design allows the light to travel down rather than up...which is good if you are using this shade for a reading area or a spot that you want the attention to be on what is below the shade...such as a buffet or a desk. Or in an area where space is a stray corner or a bookcase.

image curtesy of restoration hardware

Next we have my personal favorite - the drum shade. The drum shape is evident with a frame that has both the same sized upper and lower rings. Although some drum shades have rings that are slightly different size. The drum shade is great for general illumination areas such as sidetables, nightstands, and even bathrooms where you want the light to spread up and down. I like it because it looks the most clean and classic.

image curtesy of pottery barn

Up to bat is the empire shade...not to be confused with umpire shades...or vampire shades...which do not exist :) The empire shade is the BFF of the bell shade. Both have upper rings that are smaller than the lower rings, but the empire shade does not have the flare of it's friend. It has straight lines that make it a more casual and less stuffy. My favorite spots for empire shades are in laidback family rooms, sunrooms, and even in the kitchen.

image curtesy of pottery barn

Ovals are fatties from the front and Posh Spices from the side. The oval drum shade below is a perfect example of how to pair this shade with a base. The fact that they take up visual room without actually taking up space makes this shade a perfect piece for sideboards, small nightstands, and any other place that your furniture real estate is tight.

image curtesy of crate&barrel

Usually paired with a rectangle lamp base, the rectangle shaped shade is masculine and contemporary. The oval and sexy recty are one in the same for uses. If you decide that this is the shade for you - make sure you keep an eye out for a loose harps (the doohicky with two arms that you can clip shades into) as this puppy is easy to get askewed. Those horizontal lines always need to be level with the furniture!

image curtesy of pottery barn

Lastly we have the square. Yes, currently the shape that I chose for my den. Like I said before, the clean lines help this geometric shade retain a manly feel as well as appeal to the masses. It is hip to be square :) yes, the cheese flows through my veins.

image curtesy of pottery barn

So there you have it folks - a tutorial on shade shape. Hope this was as helpful to you as it will be for me after I forget everything. One thing I won't forget - drum shades are my bacon. They are so delish. So what is your favorite?

Oh - and boys...if your wife starts singing "I wanna hippotomus for Christmas"'s a tip - she ain't talking about a water buffalo :) Us women are so shady...heehee!


Gillian said...

My favorite is bell followed by drum.

slip4 said...

Katie, a very helpful post. I love a drum shape, followed by square. Clean lines, yeah. Thanks for doing the research!

southerninspiration said...

I'm a bell girl mostly, thanks.


Amy said...

love love love drum shades!

Anonymous said...

Katie- FYI- The Nester (NestingPlaceNC) is having a lampapalooza Mr. Linky party today!

Kim said...

LMAO at Posh Spice from the side. Where do you get this stuff?

Katie said...

Great little tutorial!! I tend toward drum shades and empire shades. They just seem clean and not at all fussy.

Gia said...

Katie, I gave you a shout out on my blog!

Kelli said...

I like the square the best. Thanks for the lamp tips

Megan Lee said...

Wow, I never realized there were so many different shapes! Thanks for the info. The drum is my fav.

Yansy said...

What a great post. I definitely find that the drum shape speaks to my modern soul.

Tiffany said...

my favorite was bell, but i'm definately going to have to try out a drum! thanks for the informative post!

ps.. and a big thanks for getting that dang hippo song stuck in my head now! :)

Darby said...

Katie, I love your cheese. Seriously... women are shady. That's funny! :) This reminds me, I need some shades!

BKaminski said...

Question, What is "girldate a blogger" on your goals list? It seems amusing!

Shannon said...

Thanks so much for some point I'd love a post/tutorial on how to pick lamp shade color. I think I always try to over-coordinate and could use some help!