Pick the Right Lamp
Decorating expert Phoebe Howard takes the guesswork out of choosing the right lamp for any space
"Get the arc of light right for reading," says Phoebe. "Choose shades that will keep your lamp height around 26 to 30 inches. You can also put a three-way switch or even two sockets on your lamp for twice as much light."
"Using a colorful lamp is the best way to perk up a workspace," Phoebe says. "It's also imperative that a desk be efficient and well lit. Use as bright a bulb as possible here. If space allows and you still need more light, try a pair of lamps on a desktop."
Buy It: Mrs. Howard Lamp ($325) and Paper Shade ($40), available from Mrs. Howard; phoebehoward.net.
"These are often good spots for a pair of larger lamps," says Phoebe. "If you're not using a matching set of lamps, keep the lamp heights within 2 inches of each other. Try pink lightbulbs to cast a soft glow."
The Lamp Shade Formula
Pairing the right shade with your lamp base can seem tricky, but it's a breeze with Phoebe's four-step approach.
1. Measure for Size
A shade should generally be a third to half the height of the base. Let the size of the table the lamp is on dictate the shade's diameter. On bigger tables, use bigger shades.
2. Be Consistent With Form
Your shade's shape should echo the decor. Parchment drum shades work for modern spaces, while box pleat, sloped shades are suitable for traditional interiors.
3. Consider Material
The fabric of the shade matters. Be dressy with silk or more natural with linen. Also, consider how much light you need. The denser the shade material, the less light it'll provide.
4. Pay Attention to Details
Keep in mind that a lamp's harp should never show, and don't forget a finial—it's like a piece of jewelry. Lastly, try to conceal cords as much as possible.