The lampshade has too often been taken for granted. Its decorative potential has been overlooked in favor of conventional shade treatments. Yet a custom look can be given to an ordinary base by just changing the shade.
Choosing one or two of a room’s lampshades for special treatment can enhance the room’s overall appearance. Your creativity can save you money in your quest for style, too. Beautiful ready-made lighting elements can be quite expensive. You can find attractive and affordable bases that can be paired with a unique lampshade at flea markets, yard sales and other traditional sources.
You might even want to redo your existing lamp and transform it to a decorative home decor. To adorn one is quite easy. Buy or salvage an existing wire frame which gives the shade its shape. You can get one from a supplier or strip away the fabric from your old shade and recycle the wire.
The frame’s shape gives the shade character. They come in different forms ranging from drums, cylinders and cones to those that are bowed, straight-sided, hexagonal or boxy. Size must be large enough to protect the eye from glare. Its proportions must balance with the height and weight of the base.
These are the things you will need – sewing equipment, adhesives, fabric stiffeners, iron-on interfacing, bias tape, cardboard for making a pattern, fabric and trimmings. Shades can be made from heavy and lightweight fabrics, and trimmings as borders at top or bottom. To give you an idea of what might be useful for a look you will enjoy, here are some suggestions:
A cone-shaped shade with a stick-style base that is long can be covered in cream-colored raw silk. Top and bottom of the shade are ruffled in a double row of silk. Long double strips of fabric are stitched and gathered and glued into place. Pinking the edges gives the ruffles a flower-petal feel. Picture how the look would change if done in calico for use as another decorative home decor.
For a brass table lamp, box pleats are made with a striped fabric, pinched and tacked a couple inches down from the top. Borders are formed by binding which holds the pleats in place at top and bottom. Stripes used for pleating calls attention to the workmanship.
A three-sided shade can be elegant with heavily gathered taffeta trimmed with cream silk. The taffeta is fully lined and capped with a handmade rosette at the top. Narrow pleats are stretched down and gathered tightly at the bottom. The frame should be six side and top struts curving toward center. When lighted, it casts a wonderful glow. Remember to use a very low-wattage bulb to avoid scorching.
For wall decor, a brass wall lamp can be decorated with box pleats of striped fabric, pinched and tacked a couple inches down from the top. Borders are formed by binding which holds the pleats in place at top and bottom. Stripes used for pleating calls attention to the workmanship.