What Color Should My Lampshades Be? [with Illustrated Examples]

Lamps have so much potential. They can be simple and blend in, be solely for functionality or even be a central focus of a room. Although the base impacts the function and ambiance of a lamp, the lampshade holds a lot of influence. The color of your lampshades, in particular, says a lot and has a huge impact on your room as a whole. So, what color should your lampshades be?
Lampshades come in a variety of colors. When determining what color your lampshade should be, ask yourself these three questions: 
  1. What room is it for?
  2. What base is it for?
  3. How much light do you need?

What color should my lampshades be? [With illustrated examples]

Sounds almost too simple? After all, we didn't provide you with a specific answer yet. That's because you know what the room looks like and what your lighting needs are. Keep reading to learn how to implement these criteria.

How Do You Pick a Lampshade Color?

Let’s take a closer look at these questions and how each one impacts the color your lampshade should be.

What Room Is It For?

What room is the lamp going to be in? Is it for your bedroom? The living room? Where is it going in that room? Are you going with a certain theme or color scheme? All of these are things you need to consider when picking a lampshade’s color.
If it is going in the master bedroom you are looking for a different color than something for a child’s playroom.
You want the lampshade to match the things around it and the room as a whole. Especially if you are going for a certain theme or color scheme. If your lamp does not match the rest of the room it can make a big impact and stick out like a sore thumb. And not in a good way.

What Base Is It For?

Do you already have a base you want to use? If so, you will want to make sure the lampshade and the base do not clash. Lampshades and bases both influence the effect a lamp has on a room. Not only do you want the color and style but also the size.
If you already have a base you want to use, it may be a good idea to take a picture of it on your phone. That way, you can look at it as you are trying to find a lampshade so you do not have to worry about picking clashing styles. If you do not already have a base in mind, you have a bit more wiggle room!
If you can buy a base and lampshade at the same time, that is ideal. That way you can “try on” lampshades and find what goes well together and fits your needs.

How Much Light Do You Need?

The wattage and style of your light bulb impact the amount of light a lamp gives off. Be sure to pick something that suits your needs and works with the base you have chosen. However, while the light bulb is important, the color of your lampshade can also make a big difference.
If you do not want a lot of light, darker colors like black or navy might be good options for you. If you are looking for a lot of light looking at brighter colors such as white, cream or yellow might be good options.

Function or Ambiance?

Is the lamp for ambiance, function or both? When picking a lampshade color it is important to focus on what you expect and need.
If it is for function, focus on picking a color that gives you the amount of light you need. Do you need a lot of light? Such as for a desk lamp. Picking a color on the brighter side is a good idea. If you do not need much more light going with a darker color is can be as good if not better.
If you are focusing on the ambiance, you have a bit more wiggle room with color. Picking a color that goes with the feel of the room should be your top priority. Darker color lampshades give off less light and lend to a mysterious or romantic atmosphere. On the other hand, brightly colored lampshades can make even windowless rooms feel bright and cheery.
Going for a bit of both function and ambiance? Then think of the influence the lampshade will have on the room as a whole. Try to approach it from a “big picture” angle.
Be aware that having a brightly colored lampshade in a room that already has a light in it may be overpowering. On the other hand, using a dark-colored lampshade for an area such as a desk may not give enough light for you to work. Either way, you could ruin the atmosphere or functionality of the room. 

How Do I Choose the Right Lampshade?

The three key components of choosing the right lampshade are shape, color, and size.
Looking at a lampshade’s shape is fairly straightforward. You need the shape of your lampshade to match the style of the room and the lamp base.
The color of a lampshade impacts the ambiance and function of a lamp. Be careful to match the color with your specific needs.
Size is the final thing you need to consider when choosing the right lampshade. While the size of it impacts the ambiance of a lamp, there are also some safety concerns to be aware of.
Along with fitting the base you also want to make sure the lampshade fits the bulb properly. You need around three inches (3”) of space around the bulb. If you don’t have enough space around the bulb heat will not escape properly and it will become a fire hazard.
Check the box of your light bulbs for specific information on the amount of heat they give out. If they give out more than an average amount of heat you might want to give them more space. Some may need more or less but three inches is generally a safe amount of distance.

How Can I Change the Color of my Lampshade?

Tired of the color your lampshade is now? Want to give the room a new feel? If your lampshade is made out of cotton, linen, silk, or another natural fabric, you can dye them with fabric dye.
If your lampshade is made out of artificial material, such as plastic, you need to use paint instead.
Regardless, changing colors usually work best when changing to a darker color. For example, it is pretty easy to make a white lampshade blue but much harder to make a black lampshade blue.
Of course, if do it yourself projects are not for you, buying a new lampshade altogether is just as good of an option. Simply run through the three questions again to make sure you are picking a good lampshade.

Final Thoughts

Lampshades are a great and often underrated opportunity to express yourself. Lamps can make as big or little of an impact on a room as you want them to. Consider whether you are picking a lampshade for ambiance, function or a combination.
When choosing a lampshade, it is important to take shape, color, and size into consideration. Looking at lamp shades with all three in mind will ensure you are picking the best lampshade for you.
If you're curious about lampshades maybe Decorating With Floor Lamps would interest you.
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