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Lamp Shades

Ideas for using lamp shades in home decor, lamp shade design and colors.

Shades can be designed to give the greatest variety of tone in a room ; it is a matter of colour and material. For example, a red shade lined with white gives a cheerful warmth, while purples and blues tend to produce a brilliant circle of illumination immediately beneath them, and to diffuse a rather subdued light. For light to be distributed evenly pale tints are necessary ; cream, pale yellows and pinks and light blues achieve evenness, though almost any effect may be contrived by the skilful use of the varied materials from which shades can be made.

It is possible to make very pretty little shades from pieces of old silk Paisley shawl, and trimmed with a soft fringe and lined with white they can be used for small standards or candlesticks. Writing table lamps should have shades of some fairly thick material, so that their rays may be thrown downwards on the table. Such a light is more restful below the level of the eyes. For reading or working a shade of dark green silk is preferable, and subdued illumination in a room where one is working, with a light concentrated on the bureau or table, is the most satisfactory arrangement. An adjustable reading lamp is the ideal fitting for a bureau, constructed so that the lamp and shade may be moved up and down the column of the standard and secured in any position by means of a screw grip.

Shades in parchment and cardboard, painted and decorated in bright colour, are suitable for candlesticks, but a large cardboard shade is rather clumsy.

A very nice way of using old candlesticks in brass or silver is to fit them with a special candle container. This fitting is made to hold wax candles, and consists of a hollow cylinder of metal, enamelled white, and in this cylinder is a spring. The candle is inserted, and a collar of metal covers the top, allowing the wick to project; as the candle burns away the spring forces it up gradually, and the metal collar at the top prevents any overflow of grease, and removes any chance of the candle shade catching alight. For all houses, whether they are electrically lit or not, these candle-fittings make ideal table lights.

For sconces a silk shield is often better than a shade that completely surrounds the bulb or candle, for it tends to throw the light on to the wall, and it is reflected back into the room, giving a soft and very attractive radiance. Small shades with spring grips are the best for candles, but on large standards a shade-carrier is necessary. Canting fittings are necessary for independent lights on vanity dressing tables so that the shades may be tilted to any angle.

When candlesticks, vases or standard lamps are wired, a local switch, should be arranged on each separate fitting, for it is an obvious convenience to have independent control over each light.

The shape of shades should always be considered in relation to the design of the fittings they are to rest on, and the colour and form of the fitting can often give real help in the selection of a shade. There should never be any great difficulty in making a room look attractive after the blinds are down and the curtains drawn. It is a matter chiefly for our colour sense, where we need not allow obstacles to perplex us in the achievement of beauty and distinction.

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