Instantly recognizable from their flatter profile, coolie lamp shades add Asian flair to a modest lamp. These wide-brimmed, gently sloping shades add both decorative and functional lighting anywhere at home. Many homeowners often select a coolie lamp shade for their contemporary appeal and Oriental aesthetic.
Short and broad in shape, coolie lamp shades took inspiration from straw coolie hats or rice paddy hats worn by Chinese farmworkers. Coolie hats were designed with a very wide and functional brim, to shield farmworkers' faces from the sun while collecting rice from the fields. A design with great symbolism and significance, this recognizable silhouette has stood the test of time and remains in use to this day in Chinese agriculture. It also continues to be one of the most popular lamp shade styles.
The Best Lamp Bases for Coolie Lamp Shades
The squatter profile of a coolie lamp shade requires consideration when pairing with a table lamp.
We recommend opting for short, spherical table lamp shapes that will mirror a coolie lamp shade's flat and circular form. Overly rectangular or sharply angled bases can contrast rather than complement, creating a juxtaposed look.
We also recommend trying very tall stands such as a buffet lamp base, or candlestick-style lamps. Elevated, slender supports such as these create sophisticated lighting, balancing the slim profile of the shade against the thin frame. For a classic look, we recommend a metal lamp base in a luxe metallic brass or gold finish, or for a traditional Asian theme, why not opt for bamboo or natural-toned wood.
Also tall and narrow in shape, floor lamps can be paired harmoniously with a coolie shade. While some shades angle and deliberately restrict light, coolie shades create ample lighting with a large lower opening. Matched with a floor lamp, coolie lamp shades will cast broad illumination in any room. This makes them an excellent choice for floor lamps, especially placed alongside sofas and seating for sufficient reading light.
Coolie shades are perfect for spaces that require extensive lighting, such as studies or areas around the home for working or reading. A coolie pendant is particularly useful in rooms requiring a lot of illumination, such as hallways, living rooms, and kitchens. An incredibly versatile shape, these conical shades can be easily applied to ceiling lights and suit a variety of interior settings, depending on fabrics and colors used.
For kitchens, enamel, glass, or metal coolie pendants complement a functional space. Pair with a white-toned bulb for clarity.
Consider a light, linen coolie shade for a bright hallway, or luxe cotton or velvet for a more intimate living room.
Coolie shades are contemporary in style, and so work most harmoniously within a modern theme.
Things to Consider When Pick a Lamp for a Coolie Shade
It's worth noting that a coolie lamp shade may not be the best choice when styling a small space. Often much fuller in size than others, this type of shade is broader than its counterparts, given the base's wide diameter. For areas with limited room, we recommend choosing a narrower lamp shade style, as a cumbersome coolie shade may encroach into functional areas or hallways where more free space is needed.
Coolie lamp shades are compatible with most light fittings, but before buying your new lamp shade, check your bulb socket. Due to the flatter nature of this design, some light fittings will be too shallow to accommodate a coolie lamp shade. Two or three-cluster light sockets are often too broad to accommodate this lamp shade form, and so we usually recommend a different shape.
Looking for an alternative style? Why not try: Retro Drum Lamp Shades
Similar widths on top and bottom, almost perfectly cylindrical in shape - Euro Lamp Shades
Slightly tapered, with a small difference between upper and lower rims - Empire Lamp Shades
A clean shape with a slightly smaller opening at the top than the bottom, more angled than a Euro shade but still suitable for smaller rooms.