What Color Lamp Shade To Choose? 5 Things to Consider

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The color of your lampshades contributes to both the look of your room and the look of your lamps. The perfect color can add to your interior design and give your home a cohesive, balanced look. If you've ever purchased a lampshade that looked great in the store but out of place in your home, you know choosing the right piece can be tricky. Making a decision you'll love requires considering several design elements.

In this article, we'll explore tips for choosing a lampshade color according to the following considerations:

  • Matching lampshades to your room furniture or decor
  • Aligning your lampshade color with a room's function
  • Choosing your lampshade based on a room's design aesthetic
  • Pairing your lampshade color with your lamp type and base
  • Considering the impact of your lampshade's fabric on its appearance

Let's examine some of these factors to help you narrow down the perfect shade color for any room.

Do Lampshades Need to Match the Room?

Lampshades are an unassuming, yet essential, accessory. Your guests may notice your lampshades for the right or wrong reason, depending on how the shade fits the room. When your lampshade is a good fit, people see how it blends perfectly with the room or adds a bold touch. When the lampshade isn't suited for the space, people may think it sticks out or doesn't match the rest of the room. 

do lamp shades need to match room

Matching and color play a central role in choosing the right lampshade. One way to achieve a cohesive look is to consider matching the prominent colors in your room. These colors may come from a variety of sources, including the following.

  • Woodgrain: Your wooden tables, chairs or molding may have a warm or cool tone. Warm-toned woods have a red, yellow or orange undertone like that in mahogany, cherry, and hickory. Cool-toned woods like ash, maple, poplar, and pine have a grayish undertone. Matching a warm wood color with a warm lampshade color — and vice versa  — looks good in a room. Colors like purple that can be either cool or warm could transition well between rooms with different wood types.
  • Metallic decorations: Pay attention to the metallic tones in your rooms. You may notice metals in your decorations, mirrors, lamp bases, furniture legs, curtain rods and more. Metals like copper, bronze, brass or gold have a warm tone, whereas silver and crystal materials are cooler. Match your lampshade color to these elements for a sleek and styled look. 
  • Cabinets: White, colored or clear cabinets deviate from their wood-colored counterparts. If your unique cabinets stand out in a room, it may work well to complement them with a subtle, neutral lampshade. If your cabinets are white or clear, you can accent with a colored lampshade to bring some life into the room.
  • Carpeting or walls: If you have a bold carpet, rug or wall paint color, you can help balance the room by choosing a neutral or light color for your shade. If your carpets, walls or furniture are generally neutral, you can play around with bolder lampshade colors to accent the room.

Though matching can help fashion a well-decorated room, there's nothing wrong with thinking outside the box. You have filled your home with unique touches that make it special to you. Feel free to break accepted matching guidelines to create a look that pops.

How to Pick the Perfect Lampshade Color According to Room Function

Though it may seem strange to consider the types of activities you complete in a room when choosing a lampshade color, this detail can be quite helpful. The rooms in your home fall into two general activity categories.

  1. Rooms for working and concentrating: For example, your kitchen, home office, and home gym
  2. Rooms for relaxing and gathering: Like your living room, bedroom, dining room, and basement

Your lighting and lampshade needs differ based on the type of room you're decorating. Work- and concentration-focused rooms require ample lighting so you can be safe and productive. You want your lampshade color to contribute to this purpose. Cool tones, whites or semi-transparent lampshades make an excellent choice in these rooms because they allow adequate light.

Relaxation- and gathering-focused rooms benefit more from a dim and warm ambiance. Black and warm-toned lampshades match this goal, especially when paired with a thicker fabric that blocks some of the light. These shades can help create a cozy atmosphere that allows you to enjoy each room to the fullest. 

Depending on your preferences and the way you use specific rooms, it may make sense for you to deviate from these guidelines. For example, if you prefer a cozy atmosphere in your home office, you may want a warm-toned shade color that is more opaque. It's essential to balance your likes and dislikes with design-focused recommendations to ensure you genuinely enjoy your decision.

How Do You Choose the Right Lampshade According to Design Aesthetic?

A lampshade color can complement your home's design aesthetic. Look at what color lampshade matches these different looks.

  • Modern: Modern design is clean and sleek and incorporates a mix of glass, metal and steel elements. Black lampshades match this motif well, especially with other white, gold and gray room accents. You can customize the shade shape and lining color to add a sophisticated touch to any room.
  • Minimalist: Minimalist style embraces many modern elements with a simplified color palette and crisp lines. Many minimalist designs lean heavily on combinations of white and gray. A white lampshade with a simple shape works well for this category. You can add character with the shape of the shade and lamp base without overwhelming the streamlined room design.
  • Farmhouse: Rustic or farmhouse design uses unfinished elements like wood and stone to create a homey atmosphere. As the name suggests, farmhouse design also draws inspiration from classic farms and barnyards. To contribute to the warmth of a farmhouse design, consider a beige or off-white lampshade. This color works well with other cream, bronze or brass accents in a room.
  • Retro and mid-century modern: Mid-century modern and other retro styles incorporate iconic furniture shapes and colors to channel design styles of the past. Patterned or bright-colored lampshades add a perfect touch to this aesthetic. You can use your lampshade to tie in the accent color in your pillows, curtains, artwork and more. The lampshade shape can also contribute to the retro feel in a room.
  • Bohemian: A Bohemian style reflects a well-traveled and carefree lifestyle. Classic Bohemian elements include vintage furniture as well as globally-inspired rugs and textiles. Leather and wicker pieces also appear frequently in Bohemian design. Lampshades with brown or neutral colors add to the "earthiness" of a Bohemian look without feeling out of place. 

Before you choose a lampshade color, observe the room you plan to use it in. Note the different colors and shapes you see repeated throughout the space. You can choose to emulate these colors and shapes for a subtle lampshade, or you can follow through with a less noticeable color in the design scheme. Either approach can help integrate your lamp into your overall design based on your objective.

What Color Should My Lampshades Be, Based on the Lamp Style?

Your lamp's style and type can help guide the shade color you choose. Think about whether you have a floor or table lamp, and how the base style impacts the shade color you're considering.

Floor lamps and table lamps have different visual weights and base colors. Though there are always exceptions, floor lamps tend to have a larger lampshade and a more neutral-colored base in hues such as black, gold, silver or wood. 

floor lamps vs table lamps

Floor Lamp vs. Table Lamp

Many floor lamps have a thin base width, which decreases its visual weight despite its height. Combining this width with a neutral base color leaves you with a wide variety of lampshade opportunities. You can choose a neutral color, bright color or bold pattern, depending on what makes sense for your room function and design aesthetic.

Table lamps are more compact, and they feature both neutral and ornate bases. Some table lamps emulate the thin, simple bases often found in a floor lamp. Other table lamps incorporate colored glass, painted wood, ceramic and more into the base. In addition to these colors, table lamps may deviate from a standard rod with a circular, rectangular or square base. Both table lamp types make a beautiful addition to a room, but they may require a different color lampshade.

If your table lamp base makes a statement, you can let it shine with a simple white, beige or black shade. If the table lamp has a subtle base shape, you have more leeway to choose a colored or patterned lampshade based on your preferences.

Lamp Base Color

Regardless of your lamp type, the base color is a critical factor for your lampshade color. By coordinating your base and shade colors, you can channel an overall color scheme that fits your design aesthetic and goals. The following are some pairing options to consider.

  • Monochromatic: For a monochromatic scheme, you can match your lampshade color to the color of your lamp base. This strategy can be great for a sleek modern or minimalist aesthetic when you want to maintain a simple color palette.
  • Bold contrast: If you have a dark lamp base, you can create bold contrast by choosing a light lampshade color. The same is true for a light lamp base and a dark shade color. This pairing may work well with a variety of design aesthetics.
  • Subtle contrast: For a subtler look, you can pair a cool-toned wood base with a cool-toned shade color and vice versa. This approach may work well for a soft farmhouse aesthetic or a mid-century modern look. If you have strong accent colors in your room already, subtle contrast can add to the design without tipping the balance.

When you've decided on a color scheme, you can determine the type of shade design and fabric you'll need to round out the perfect style.

How Does Fabric Impact the Color of Your Lampshades?

You may have more color options depending on the lampshade fabric you're looking for. Fabrics like linen, cotton, and silk are more common and may have a broader color selection. Other fabrics like burlap may have fewer color options. If the color of your lampshade is a higher priority than the fabric, choosing a typical fabric may be beneficial.

Another way fabric impacts your lampshade color is its opaqueness and thickness.

Opaque vs. Translucent Shades

opaque vs translucent fabrics

A translucent lampshade made from white or otherwise thin fabric offers more light and diffuses that light around a room. If you choose a lampshade with this construction, the color of your lightbulb will matter. For example, a bulb that casts yellow light through a translucent white lampshade will give the shade a yellow tint. The same is true for other colored translucent shades.

An opaque lampshade with a thicker fabric will direct pools of light out of the top and bottom of the shade. This effect is more dramatic and tends to offer less light in the room. However, an opaque shade can preserve the color you pick while the lightbulb is in use. 

If you're looking for a shade that will go in a work-focused or relaxation-focused room, the right fabric can help support your light needs.

Fabric Thickness

In general, thicker fabrics will let less light through your lampshade. They contribute to how opaque or translucent the shade is, which will impact whether your room is bright or dim with the lamp on. Fabric weights fall into the following categories.

  • Thick: Burlap
  • Medium: Fabric in pleats, Pongee silk
  • Thin: Cotton, linen, Shantung silk, Habutai silk, Dupioni silk, taffeta silk

If you find a lampshade color you love, check to see if the fabric aligns with your room goals before purchasing. This well-rounded approach to shade selection will help you pick the right item and transform your living spaces effectively.

Find Your Perfect Lampshade Color at Lamp Shade Solution

Whatever color, style or fabric you're looking for, Lamp Shade Solution has a large selection to match. As lampshade experts with over 80 years of expertise, we understand all that goes into picking the perfect lampshade. If you're not sure what shade you need or you want some advice, take advantage of our free consultations. Send us a picture of your lamp with its measurements, and we'll reply promptly with options to match several different decor themes.

When you need a lampshade that completes a room, turn to the No. 1 online source for ready-made lampshades. Shop our lampshades today and contact us with any questions.

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