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Spotlight on lampshades: Bolder is better when selecting lighting

Affordable and chic, lampshades are a great way to add instant style to your home.

Whether you introduce a dramatic pendant shade, a moody wall light or a cosy table lamp.

Gone are the days when muted hues and standard drum shades ruled the roost — now vibrant patterns, unexpected materials and sculptural shapes provide the perfect pep-up.

Switched on: Jenny Velvet shades, £25 each, John Lewis. Lampshades are a great way to add instant style to your home

Paired perfection

Swapping table lampshades is a great way to contemporise a tired base. To make the right pairing, a good rule of thumb is that the height of the shade should be about three-quarters the height of the base.

Opting for a shade half an inch wider than the base on both sides will help keep the whole piece looking balanced. 

A recent upswing in the popularity of statement shades means there’s more choice than ever.

Oversized rattan and raffia pendant lamps are trending, welcomed for their relaxed, naturalistic look. Check out Made’s Haroon Layered Lampshade, £79 ( with its contrasting trim for a simple, yet tailored, finish. In the same series, its Haroon Wall Light, £35, combines raffia with a rose-pink velvet trim.

‘Introducing a raw, organic element into your interiors is so on-trend this season,’ says Arteriors’ Laura Hadad.

‘Woven shades have timeless appeal and add texture. We’re also using materials such as shells and wrapped brass to change up the look.’

Go Bright 

Whether for wall, ceiling or table lights, colour and pattern is making a comeback this year.

‘We are craving pattern-on-pattern and bright, positive hues,’ says designer Rosi de Ruig, whose lampshades are all handmade using materials sourced mainly from Britain.

The Pink & Red Viennese Curl marbled shade, £75, works well as a wall lamp or on bookshelves.

Rosi de Ruig's Joy of Print mint green shade, £80

Rosi de Ruig’s Joy of Print mint green shade, £80

The key is to have fun. ‘People tend to take more risks with them than they do with paint, wallpaper or a sofa,’ says Pooky’s Rohan Blacker. 

‘Think about whether you want the light to diffuse through the fabric or to pool down underneath the shade.

‘If the latter, go for a shade in thick card or a metallic. Otherwise choose lighter fabrics.’

We love the Grey And Pink Palm tapered shade, £33, by Matthew Williamson for Pooky, with its feel-good fronds.

‘Shades in velvet and cotton, and those that are lined, will let less light through, giving more of a cosy and romantic ambience,’ says Emma Deterding of Kelling Designs. ‘Conversely, linens and silks have a brighter, airy feel.’

Jewel tones, such as the Jenny Velvet shade, from £25, at John Lewis & Partners, are big news, while there’s also a revival of pleated paper lampshades.

‘In all forms, from floor lamps to desk lights, they are a nice alternative to a plain shade and are softer than glass,’ says Topology’s Athina Bluff. 

Try Anthropologie’s Harriet Pleated Floor Lamp, £228, for a pleasing blend of softness and silhouette.

Get crafty

Trims, tassels and hand-painted additions will take lampshades to new heights.

‘More is more,’ says Jules Haines, whose designs use leftover textiles and offcuts to reduce waste in the interiors industry. 

‘We are seeing frills, bows and pleats popular in the Eighties reappearing in our homes. It’s so easy to make a lampshade more interesting by adding a tassel or trim.’

Perfect your craft skills at her beginner’s lampshade making workshops, £65, this summer in a converted barn in Kent.

‘I’m all about the table lamp; add one to your kitchen sideboard or your home office desk, it creates a more relaxed, casual atmosphere.’

If you need wall lights, but want to avoid the mess of wiring them in, think outside the box. 

‘Many now come with cords and plugs,’ says interior designer Kim Stephen.

‘Running the wire down to the nearest socket can look quite charming, especially if you change the flex to something decorative.’

What your home really needs is… a hammock 

Just the sound of the word ‘hammock’ may make you feel like taking a nap.

But, if you can stay awake, you may be interested to learn that this type of bed, a summer 2021 must-have, came to Europe after the 16th-century Spanish conquest of Central America.

The region’s peoples wove the bark of the hamak tree into lengths of material which they hung in their homes. Subsequently sailors became the biggest fans of hammocks until the Fifties.

Stretch out: The colourful Ibiza-style Aruba Juniper (pictured, £63.10) from Simply Hammocks

Stretch out: The colourful Ibiza-style Aruba Juniper (pictured, £63.10) from Simply Hammocks

Your home needs a hammock because on a fine afternoon you can sway gently while sipping a cool drink.

If you prefer the traditional approach, you can sling your hammock, such as the colourful Ibiza-style Aruba Juniper (£63.10) from Simply Hammocks, between two trees, using rope fixings with carabiner hooks at £37.10 each.

But a hammock suspended from a frame is less hassle. Options include the Charles Bentley Wooden Arc Hammock, a cream cotton canvas model which is more long Edwardian summer’s day than Balearic cool (£279.99). 

Whichever hammock you choose, you are guaranteed to chill out. 

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