What is a pendant lamp shade?
A pendant lamp shade is a light fixture that hangs down from the ceiling on a rod or chain and has an open bulb socket at its bottom. Like their chandelier cousins, they can wash a room with bright illumination or focus the beam on a specific spot like a dining table or desk. They’re available in a wide range of colors, sizes and styles. From 4-inch-diameter mini cylinders to 30-inch domes, you can use them to add a pop of color in a foyer or cast a warm glow on a credenza.
Most pendant lamps have a shade that sits over the base and controls the direction of light from the bulb. These shades can be made from a variety of materials, including glass, fabric and metal. The shade also serves as an accent to the overall look of a room, whether you choose a simple, classic drum-shaped shade or a more elaborate tin-wrapped chandelier.
What size pendant lamp shade should I buy?
To get the best results, your lamp shade should be about one-third of the height of your fixture. If you’re not sure which size to order, try using a piece of cardboard cut to the same dimensions as your shade (flattened perspective). This will give you a rough idea of what it will look like when mounted in the space.
The height of the lamp holder or socket will also have a big impact on what height shade works best for your fixture. For example, a reverse 2-tier lamp shade (smaller diameter on the bottom) will work well for lamps at eye level and higher (it hides the hardware and reduces bulb glare), while a regular 2-tier shade will be better for lower lamps that you want to be more recessed.
A fabric-covered pendant lamp shade will soften the brightness of a fixture, while a metallic-finish or hand-hammered metal one will bring a more industrial look to your space. For a contemporary feel, consider a drum-shaped shade or a geometric one.
A shade with a closed top will concentrate the light from the bulb more narrowly, making it ideal for task lighting over a table or counter. This is especially useful when you’re concerned about glare bothering people outside your immediate circle of vision.
A glossy drum-shaped shade can also amplify the look of your pendant, giving it an updated modern appearance. It’s also a popular choice for a dining room or foyer that’s dominated by other metallic accents, such as your dining chairs or chandelier. The shiny surface will help reflect the light around your room and create a warm, welcoming ambiance.