In the first of a new monthly column exploring the world of luxury interior design, Letty White-Spunner, from Jane Churchill Interiors, sheds light on four of the best lampshades to buy for your home this autumn
The great thing about lampshades is that there’s nowhere they can’t go. Drawing rooms can be dominated by big bell shades; kitchens can take all sorts of wonderful designs hanging from the ceiling and even the tiniest matchbox of a downstairs loo can be transformed by wall lights, complemented by the perfect shade. With this in mind, choosing the right shade can be a some-watt (sorry) daunting task.
When it comes to shades, colour doesn’t need to equal chaos. The first shade we’ve chosen is a simple Pembroke shape decorated with a line of travelling animals among desert palm trees. Screen-printed in Florence, it gives a wonderfully warm glow when lit with a lower watt bulb. The storybook element to its design, reminiscent of Kipling’s India, makes it perfect for a children’s bedroom or nursery when paired with a simple cream lamp base. The option of the red or blue trim as well as the two different sizes means these lampshades work just as well as a pair, on top of a chest of drawers, for example, as they do standing alone on a bedside table. This would also be a fun choice for a study or library as the colours are great with dark wood, painted furniture and leather.
Our second great find is a little more exotic. Printed from a watercolour painting, the coolie shape has a much narrower neck, making it perfect for a space that needs a good shot of brightness. The pastel colours look best when lit by a higher watt bulb and the wider shape works over both long and shorter bases. One or two of these lampshades would work very well on a hall table over a slim, gilded base; the vibrant colours make this a good choice against natural stone or brick. Alternatively, a bedroom furnished in a paler palette might benefit from having something that mixes soft with stronger tones and the sheer amount of colours means that the shade can be twisted and positioned so that it works with its surroundings.
Our third favourite find is a teal pleated silk shade with a matching trim and a subtle pattern of white spots. A quieter pattern is a better choice for a more decorative lamp base and fewer colours are far less restrictive than something printed when it comes to the perfect placement.
This is also true for size; when dealing with one colour why not go for something off-the-wall (literally) like our fourth favourite, a little Petal wall shade made of gathered silk on a scalloped frame. Bright colours such as teal and fuchsia pink are often overlooked as potential choices but both go beautifully with cream, white and beige as well as with wood, stone and metallics.
The trick is not to be daunted by the world of lampshades; try out as many different shapes, colours, sizes and materials as are on offer and play around with various ideas until you find ‘the one’. Different bulbs and different shade carriers can all make a difference to the atmosphere you create so do experiment – after all, shades aren’t something to be taken light-ly!
Main image: Cox London