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Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
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Top Of The Best Lamp Bases & Shades Reviewed In 2018Last Updated January 1, 2019
№1 – Brightech Noah LED Side Table & Desk Lamp – Traditional Elegant Wood Base with Neutral Lampshade & Soft, Ambient Lighting Perfect for Living Room, Office, or Bedside Nightstand Light- Black
№2 – Creative Motion White Base Resin Table Lamp, Purple
№3 – Mainstays Stacked Lamp Base, White
Why you should trust me
To research this guide, I dove deep into LEDs—the science behind them, industry standards of measuring bulb longevity, their cost-effectiveness and energy-saving abilities, and how they affect eye health. That meant reading sections of the Illuminating Engineering Society’s
American National Standard Practice for Office Lighting and the Nonresidential Lighting and Electrical Power Distribution guide by the California Lighting Technology Center at UC Davis, inquiring at many recycling centers to learn how to dispose of LED lamps (hint: it’s difficult), and calling the Energy Trust of Oregon (my home state) to try and figure out how much money LEDs really save. To determine the features that make the best LED desk lamps, I interviewed five experts ranging from professors of optometry to lighting designers: Geoff Goral, of the Lighting Design Alliance; Linnaea Tillett, head of Tillett Lighting Design Associates; Nicole Graeber, a development engineer at the University of California Davis’s California Lighting Technology Center; Dr. Gregory Good, professor emeritus of clinical optometry at the Ohio State University College of Optometry; Mark Lien, industry relations manager of the Illuminating Engineering Society; and Wirecutter’s own lighting enthusiast, editor Dan Koeppel.
Having multiple, adjustable lights in offices or workspaces reduces the contrast between the light on the object you are focused on and the surrounding area.
The lamp you use for taskwork should be bright, though none of our experts pointed to a hard number for minimum brightness in desk lamps—optometry professor Gregory Good suggested that an adjustable 40-watt equivalent lamp, which has about 450 lumens of brightness, should be sufficient for most people.
However, brightness needs will vary from person to person, and several factors can determine what those are, according to Good: “The age of the observer (the older you are the more light you need), the reflectance of the task (a white piece of paper doesn’t need as much light on it as a dark piece of paper or dark material), and the third thing is … the contrast and size of detail you’re looking for.” When working at a computer, for example, it’s better to reduce light contrast so that your eyes won’t dilate and constrict as you look back and forth from the bright monitor to your desk, which can cause eye strain and headaches.
Desk lamps also offer a range of color temperatures you can’t get with a traditional table lamp or overhead lighting. Some people may prefer warm lighting (which appears more yellow), while others will prefer cooler tones (light that looks bluer). Age, eye health, time of day, and work space can affect color temperature preferences. For example, starting at around age 40, people may prefer cooler light: As we age, our eyes lose the ability to easily distinguish contrast, and lens yellowing causes colors to appear warmer than they are. Warm lighting may also be a better option for evening work, and better when getting ready for bed: There is some evidence that blue light can affect circadian rhythms and melatonin production, which help you sleep. People working in offices with grayer, whiter colors may find that cooler light works better for them. This is because “warm color temperatures with whites and grays can look overly yellow or out of place,” according to Geoff Goral of the Lighting Design Alliance. “Cooler color temperatures in a work environment also give the perception of ‘brighter’ light and can help keep people alert.”
Task lights also let you tweak the position of your light source. “A lot of people work in an office space and don’t have the option to dim, move, or manipulate the lights on the ceiling,” Goral said. “With a desk lamp, they can orient it to fit their task … that helps productivity and mood.”
Light that is focused is not only better for your eyes, it can save energy. All of the lamps we tested provide light from directional, rectangular panels. Mark Lien said that with good lamps, “Instead of just a glob of light you may have more of a linear, rectangular pattern coming out of the light source, or it may throw all of the light in one direction so you don’t have wasted light going backwards onto the wall. So all of it goes forward toward your work surface and you can better utilize the light and the energy.”
Over time, LED lamps will save energy and money compared with lamps that use incandescent (or halogen, or CFL) bulbs. Most of the lamps we considered for this guide come with built-in LEDs instead of replaceable bulbs, but to give you an idea of how much more efficient they are than non-LED bulbs, a 60-watt-equivalent LED bulb uses between and 1watts, or roughly 1percent of the energy of a 60-watt incandescent bulb. Exact savings will differ since electricity costs vary based on your location.
The experts we spoke with also noted that using task lighting can reduce the higher energy costs of brighter ambient or overhead light. “Because you can get a light source close to your desk to provide higher light levels, you can reduce the light levels of the overhead lighting,” Goral said. “That actually saves more energy than going from a 50-watt halogen to a 5- or 10-watt desk lamp, because now you’re putting less load on that overhead lighting from the ceiling.” With adjustable task lights, overall light can be dimmer, and people can turn on or use personal lighting when necessary.
Less energy output also means that these bulbs put out less heat than incandescent or halogen bulbs, so your work area stays cooler, and the bulbs don’t hurt to touch.
How we picked
For expert opinions on what makes a great desk lamp, how lighting affects eye health, and to understand industry standards behind projected bulb lifespans, we spoke to lighting designers, optometrists, industry specialists, and lighting researchers.
Based on our research and expert interviews, we looked for LED desk lamps that had the following features, in order of importance:
Adjustable brightness higher than 450 lumens: LED brightness is measured in lumens, as opposed to watts. (Lumens measure visible brightness; watts measure the energy used to produce light and heat output.) A 40-watt incandescent bulb puts out roughly 450 lumens; an equivalent-brightness LED bulb is about to watts. A 60-watt incandescent bulb put out about 800 lumens; an equivalent LED is roughly to 1watts. Your brightness requirements will vary, however, based on age, ambient lighting, task, room decor, and personal preference: While 450 lumens will be enough for most people, our experts said that others could need as many as 800 to work efficiently. We looked for adjustable-brightness lamps with a maximum brightness of at least 450 lumens.
A wide range of color temperatures: Color temperature, measured in kelvin, is a personal preference, and the best LED lamps offer a range of colors that you can change based on your activity. In general, brighter, bluer light is best for computer work during the day, and warmer, dimmer light is better for a bedroom or sitting area or evening work.
The lighting designers we spoke to recommend a range between 2,800 and 4,000 kelvins for most people; the LED lamps we looked at have color temperatures ranging from 2,000 K to 7,000 K. For context, incandescent bulbs are warmer, with a range of 2,200 K to 3,000 K; neutral, cooler light ranges from 3,500 to 4,100 K, and daylight has a temperature ranging from 5,000 to 6,500 K.
The eight LED lamps we tested.
To compare these eight LED desk lamps, we started by evaluating how easy each was to assemble and use. We immediately eliminated any lamps that were exceptionally difficult to set up, that weren’t adjustable, or that created glare on computer screens or paper due to exposed LED diodes or panels that weren’t adequately covered by the lamp’s shade. This removed the Lampat and Equo Gen from the running.
To compare the six remaining lamps, we put them on a desk and used them for two hours in the morning at a computer, using cooler color temperatures, and at night to read, using warmer color temperatures. We tried each lamp’s color temperatures and brightness settings to make sure each worked as described. We lined them up side by side to compare their brightness and color temperatures during the day and at night, though the ideal combination will vary from person to person. On lamps with USB-charging ports, we also plugged in an iPhone to verify that they could charge.
We tried to measure brightness with a lux meter (which measures luminance as light intensity per square meter), but concluded that this test wasn’t particularly useful, since lux measurement changes depending on how a lamp is positioned, and we didn’t have a way to position all the lamps identically.
The Eufy ALumos Desk Lamp has one of the best combinations of options for brightness and color temperature we tested, at a low price, making it by far the best value. The lamp is the second-brightest one we tested, and has five brightness levels, from very bright to softly dim—a wide enough range to satisfy most people’s tastes. The Eufy Aalso has four color temperatures to choose from, ranging from a golden yellow to a crisp white, and its frosted light panel did the best job of any lamp we tested at covering its LED diodes to prevent glare and distracting points of light. The Awas also one of the most adjustable lamps we tested, with a head that pivots up and down and side to side to focus light at an angle, and an arm that pivots forward and back to reach over tasks.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Like most of the lamps we tested, adjusting the Arequires two hands: one to hold down the lamp base and the other to make the adjustment. The lamp’s glossy finish also picks up fingerprints easily, and the A4’s touch buttons don’t light up, so they’re more difficult to see in the dark than lamps with backlit buttons or panels.
This upgrade offers better color accuracy, an additional brightness and color-temperature mode, and two USB charging ports.
If you need some of the best color accuracy you can get in an LED bulb, or you want more flexibility in terms of brightness and color temperature, we recommend spending a bit more on the Eufy Lumos ELED Desk Lamp. It’ll get you a much higher CRI, which can be crucial for artists or photographers, as well as an additional brightness mode and one more color-temperature mode. The Ealso comes with a pair of USB charging ports; its rotating base makes it a bit more adjustable than the A4; it has a slightly sleeker design; and its backlit touch panel makes it easier to turn on in the dark.
Geoff Goral, Lighting Design Alliance, phone interview, May 31, 2018
Linnaea Tillett, head of Tillett Lighting Design Associates, phone interview, June 1, 2018
Nicole Graeber, development engineer at UC Davis California Lighting Technology Center, phone interview, June 6, 2018
Dr. Gregory Good, professor emeritus of clinical optometry at The Ohio State University College of Optometry, phone interview, June 14, 2018
Mark Lien, industry relations manager at Illuminating Engineering Society, phone interview, June 9, 2018
The Office Lighting Committee of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, American National Standard Practice for Office Lighting
UC Davis California Lighting Technology Center, Nonresidential Lighting and Electrical Power Distribution
Make it easier to find the lampshade you want
You don’t have to just trawl through hundreds of lampshades trying to find the exact right size or shade to fit your lamp. If you’re armed with certain pieces of information, you can shortcut your search to find the perfect lampshade.
If you have the dimensions of your old lampshade
Usually you measure a lampshade across the top to get a “top width”, across the bottom to get a “bottom width”, and along the “diagonal slant” (or vertical height for drum shades) of the side of the shade, to get a “slant height”. Consult our section below about how to measure a lamp shade if you need help. But once you know the measurements, why not jump straight to the exact right size lampshades and skip the ones that won’t look right?
If all you have is a lamp base without a shade
Fear not, because you can actually figure out the exact right size of lamp shade you need based on the size and shape/style of your lamp base. Consult the section of this guide regarding how to measure a lamp shade for tips on what size shade you’ll need depending on your lamp base size.
Generally you’ll want to get an idea of the right “size” of lampshade you need first before you consider the shape or color, otherwise it won’t have appropriate proportions and will look too big or small.
Once you have an idea of the size you may need, consider the shape of the lamp base to help you decide what kind of lamp shade to look for. See our section on How to match the shade shape to the lamp base for simple tips about matching the lamp shade shape to the style of the base. While it may be easy to just throw a typical empire shade onto your lamp, it will look better when the shape of the lampshade complements or balances or brings out the shape of the base.
Popular Lampshade Colors
Lampshades feature a wide spectrum of colors to suit almost any lamp base and environment. You will likely want to complement the base of the lamp by choosing a lamp shade color that is either understated (as to let the lamp base be featured), or to make the shade a focal point (e.g. with a more understated base). It’s also possible to strike a balance between the two components, for example picking up colors in the base to bring out with the shade – similar to how you bring out the color of your eyes.
Black Lamp Shades
A black lamp shade can allow a lamp to be understated but also gives your lamp and air of sophistication, and can also be quite a modern look. Sleek black shades might match your black furniture or act as a balance against white or brightly colored elements in the room. Explore some examples of black lamp shades.
White Lamp Shades
A white lamp shade similarly can give your lamp a look of elegance and sophistication especially allowing the lamp base to be featured if it is colorful or interesting. White shades are clean and purifying, and may reflect upon white elements in the room or act as a canvas for other colors you wish to feature. Explore some examples of white lamp shades.
Red Lamp Shades
Believe it or not, red lamp shades are one of the most searched-for colors on the internet. A red shade would likely highlight warmer tones in a lamp base or be a striking statement against an understated lamp base. Red shades might just highlight your favorite color ro pick up red or warm accents in the room. Explore some examples of red lamp shades.
Orange Lamp Shades & Yellow Lamp Shades
Orange or yellow lamp shades are not typically as popular as a color choice, since yellow tends to be quite a bright color which will stand out in a room. You’d probably pick an orange lamp shade or yellow lamp shade if it particularly matched the lamp in some way or is part of your room’s color scheme. Explore some examples of orange and yellow lamp shades.
Green Lamp Shades
Green lamp shades also are one of the less popular colors for a lamp, mainly because green is quite a distinct color and tends not to be featured in lamp bases. Green shades may however complement a green or earth-toned or natural theme in your room and could complement a natural-toned lamp base well. Explore some examples of green lamp shades.
Blue Lamp Shades
Add a blue lamp shade to your table lamp or floor lamp and you’re instantly into making a cool statement. Blue is actually one of the most searched-for- colors of lampshades online, perhaps due to the relative rarity of blue coloring in nature in general. A blue shade will likely look quite contemporary and give your lamp a deliberate, designer look. Pair it with a lamp with blue in the base or perhaps white or black. Explore some examples of blue lamp shades.
Purple Lamp Shades and Pink Lamp Shades
Yes, pink is in. And purple too. Pink lamp shade are quite sought after and perhaps this is due to the fact that many people replacing lampshades are women. It may be a stereotype, but yes, women do seem to like to buy pink shades. And some men too, of course. A pink shade would look great on a white or gray or perhaps red or pink lamp base. Perhaps a pink or purple lamp shade would look great in a girls’ bedroom. Explore some examples of pink lamp shades and purple lamp shades.
Cream Lamp Shades
Cream lamp shades are a classic. Not so pure as to be white, but somewhat softened and warming. A cream lamp shade will match well to many lamp base designs and colors especially more classically or traditionally styled lamps. Sometimes cream includes off-white or egg-shell which are more neutral or reddish tones. Explore some examples of cream lamp shades.
Beige Lamp Shades
Beige is all the rage. A beige lamp shade suits many modern homes where beige and browns provide a soft, comforting and nurturing environment. Beige shades can complement well with brown furniture or perhaps a beige couch. Often a beige lamp shade will complement a fancy decorated lamp base well. Explore some examples of beige lamp shades.
Brown Lamp Shades
Brown lamp shades add a darker, comforting warmth to a room. A brown shade can complement a more decorative lamp base of many colors or a more plain design. With a brown shade, you can pick up on the browns in your furniture or textiles in the room. Explore some examples of brown lamp shades.
The Practical Uses of Different Lamp Shades
Different types of lamp shades serve a different purpose. Besides shielding your eyes from the glare of a light bulb, their shape is not purely for decorative reasons. The correct shade greatly affects the kind of light the lamp gives off, as well as where that light is directed. Different types of lamp shades correlate to different functions for practical purposes, be it sitting nearby, at a distance, or as an ambient light source. If you are not as concerned about how the lamp assists you in your daily activities, you may prefer to make a choice purely for decorative reasons.
Empire lamp shades for table lamp provide a spread of light for a bedside desk as well as for reading in bed.
A bell shade atop a floor lamp provides a maximum area of illumination for sitting beneath to read.
A drum lamp shade on this pendant light, radiating strong and focussed light downward over a dining table as well as illuminating the room with ambient light via the ceiling.
Bell lamp shades for table lamps provide a local spread of light for nearby seating.
A pair of floor lamps with flat drum lamp shades prove strong ambient and local light for a softer mood.
The opaque drum lamp shade on this lamp provides a decorative, less functional ambient light over a narrow side-table.
How Home Lamp Shades Affect the Light
Light emits from different shaped shades in different ways, which affects how far the light is useful and for what purposes. Light emitting from the top of the shade produces a reflected ambient light bouncing off the ceiling, while light emitting below produces a more focused light surrounding furniture. Additional light shines through the sides of the shade itself, whereby a white or light-colored shade allows the most light to pass through. Darker-colored shades and hardback shades tend to block more of the light.
Drum lamp shades provide an medium spread of light from both ends
An empire shade provides most light from the bottom, the least from the top
A bell shade provides a balance between light from the top and a wide spread of light from the bottom
Light from Bell Lamp Shades
TIP: Also consider also what other sources of light are in the room – if you have bright light from a main light fixture, your lamps may provide accent lighting, or mood lighting when used alone. If you need them to be a primary light source for sitting and reading, opt for a more flared shape of shade such as empire/coolie, provided it complements the style of the base. Also consider a hard-backed shade for increasing the light output from below the shade.
Hard-Back Lamp Shades
Lampshades hold their shape either due to a hard lining or with the use of a metal framework. A `hard-backed` shade is typically lined with plastic or or other materials designed to prevent light from passing through the sides of the shade. The hard lining allows the shape of the shade to be quite firm and less likely to change over time. The firm backing is glued into place behind a more attractive outer material.
Soft-Back Lamp Shades
A soft-back shade does not have a firm lining, although it may still potentially be lined. The lining, however, would be flexible, such as a linen or paper, and so does not provide support for maintaining the shape of the lampshade. As a result, soft-back or `un-backed` shades require additional vertical supports between the bottom and top of the shade to maintain shape.
This soft-backed drum lamp shade emits light through the shade itself, for a softer light, and reveals a textured pattern in the shade material.
Cylinder Lamp Shades
Cylinder-shaped lamp shades are taller than they are wide, with vertical straight sides. These tall shades are best for unusually tall lamp bases, or floor lamps. They funnel equal amounts of light out of the top and bottom without spreading the light outwards, producing a large amount of ambient reflected light.
Because they are so much taller than wide, their proportions look good on narrow lamp bases. Their very open-ended nature maximizes the amount of light output.
Drum Lamp Shades
Drum-shaped shades are similar to cylinder shades except they are flatter, typically wider than they are tall, similar to a musical drum. Drum shades look good on a variety of table lamps and floor lamps, but also can be suited to pendant light fixtures. With vertical sides, maximum light emits through the top and bottom of the drum shade producing ambient reflected light in the room.
When used in an overhead pendant it provides ample light output for visual clarity. On a table lamp the drum shade gives a contemporary, modern look. A drum shade is well suited to a lamp base with wide proportions. Being open-ended allows a maximum amount of light to be released through both ends of the shade.
Floor Lamp Shades
Floor lamps typically require a slightly larger shade than table lamps. Also due to the height of the lamp, they tend to look better with a drum or floor-style shade. A floor shade is almost a drum shade, except the sides are slightly slanted. This shape complements the proportions of the floor lamp.
A floor shade distributes light out through the bottom with a slight spread, illuminating a larger area around the lamp base. Similarly, the top of the floor shade is less open, slightly restricting the amount of ambient reflected light shining out through the top. Often a floor lamp is located near to a seating area and thus provides a cone of light which can extend at least partly across the furniture. Floor lamps, in general, provide a large amount of light close to functional spaces.
Empire Lamp Shades
Empire-shaped lampshades strike a balance between slanted sides and visually-appealing proportions. These straight-sided shades are found commonly on many table lamps and some floor lamps. The narrower opening at the top is still large enough to vent heat from the light bulb, yet allows the bottom of the shade to flare more in order to spread light outwards.
This wider cone of light illuminates a wider area beneath and to the sides of the lamp, providing a hotspot of local light ideal for reading and other activities. Since most of the light is cast downwards, there is less ambient light reflected off the ceiling and more light spread outward near to seating areas or top of furniture. Empire shades are popular lamp shades for table lamps.
Coolie Lamp Shades
A coolie lamp shade features a very wide spread of light, since the top of the shade is very narrow and the bottom very open. The sides of the coolie shade are heavily slanted. Coolie shades tend to be flatter (less height) due to the proportions of the shape.
The coolie shade restricts ambient light emitting from the top of the shade, while maximizing the amount of light spreading out from the bottom. The shape of the shade also directs the light to spread as widely as possible to the sides of the shade for maximum coverage. This can be useful when your lamp is serving to illuminate tasks or projects or for reading.
Bell Lamp Shades
The bell shade is very popular and provides an elegant, relaxed shape. The sides of the shade curve inwards producing a shape that resembles a `bell`. The flare at the bottom helps to distribute light outwards for maximum coverage, while the top of the shade remains quite wide to help facilitate the escape of heat and ambient light.
The bell shade is well suited to table lamps with a more curved base shape. Empire lampshades are popular lamp shade for table lamps to use.
Oval Lamp Shades
With an oval-shaped shade, looking down on the shade from above reveals an oval shape rather than a perfect circle. The shade wider than it is deep, front-to-back. An oval or flatter style of lamp base goes well with it. It can help to situate a lamp on a narrower piece of furniture closer to a wall without extruding into the room, helping to ensure the lamp will not be knocked over by passers by.
Oval shades are less common but look good when their shape complements the shape of the base. An oval shade may have an oval profile from the top, while having any of the other shapes when viewed from the side, such as an oval bell, an oval empire, an oval drum etc.
Square and Rectangular Lamp Shades
Square and rectangle-shaped shades complement a lamp base which is very rectangular in appearance. Suited mainly to contemporary modern lamps, they work well with floor lamps and table lamps. The rectangular shade has flat edges rather than circular edges, and thus produces corners. Some varieties of square shade also feature a ‘cut corner’ as a decorative modification to its shape.
Square or rectangular shades are most obvious when viewed from above or at an angle, but from the side may feature a bell shape (pagoda), drum shape, or empire shape. Rectangular or square shades with a very narrow or no opening in the top may be thought of as a pyramid shade.
Art-Glass Lamp Shades
Art-glass is a special kind of toughened glass designed to be lighter and less fragile than real or tiffany glass. Lamps with an art-glass shade make a bold statement. Commonly a single piece of art glass is used in a very unique hand-crafted shape. Since art-glass can be molded into endless shapes, it can be manipulated to resemble flowers, animals or even traditional shade shapes with unusual edge designs.
In addition to the shape, art-glass shades feature extraordinary patterns of vibrant color, with swirls of multiple hues mixed in. While art-glass lamps are readily available, finding replacement glass shades is less simple – usually through contacting the manufacturer of the original lamp, since each piece is so uniquely specific to the lamp itself.
How to Match Lamp Shade Shape to the Lamp Base
A base featuring a curved profile is complemented by a curved bell shade. You can see here the pattern of a curve ending in a platform is repeated from the base to the shade, albeit inverted. Bell shades match well to a curved base profile.
A barrel, drum lamp shade or cone-style lamp base is reflected well by a rounded drum/cylinder shade. Rounded/cylindrical bases tend to work better with rounded shades than square shades.
Sometimes shapes are directly repeated in the base as in the shade. Here, trapezium shapes occur multiple times and the shade is an extension of the base’s design theme. Since the base’s view from above/below is a square, the square shade works well.
Bases with a square or rectangular profile do well complemented with a rectangular shade. Since these angular shapes tend to be more modern, a square/rectangular shade is a good match.
Sometimes the shape of the shade may reflect the shape of only a portion of the base. Here, trapezium/pyramid shapes are repeated in the shade and the foot of the base, as well as in the patterning of the shade itself.
Proportions of shade and base should be reasonably similar. Here an unusually tall/thin lamp base is well complemented by an unusually flat/thin drum lamp shade, continuing the theme of elegance. Also very narrow lamp bases look good with a drum or rectangle shade.
While both lamp base and shade here are circular, since the base features a bold shape, the shade chosen is also a boldly contrasting shape. Use a partly contradictory or balancing shape of shade for added drama. Notice the shade is still round and the base is still round when viewed from above or below.
While this lamp base bends outward, the shade bends inward. Both elements thus feature a curved surface, but they work together to form a balance. This also produces a flowing visual line from the bottom of the lamp to the top. Notice also the need for a square-style shade due to the base’s square sides.
Matching with your furniture
As an extension of your lamp, consider the furniture it sits on or is near to. What shapes do you see there? What are the proportions like, as a whole and for individual parts?
Rectangular furniture: is likely to be best complemented by a more angular or rectangular shade
Sculptured rounded furniture: is likely to match best with a more rounded shade especially if the furniture has rounded corners
Proportions: Is the furniture wide and flat or tall and narrow? Consider how your lamp may complement or balance the shape
Decor: Consider the rest of your room’s theme. Think about the textures and colors and shapes that your lamp could tie into. Is there a strong color that you’d like to match or contrast with?
Lampshade Sizing Rules
Shade height should be about 3/the height of the base. The bottom of the shade should be wider than the widest part of the base. Shade width should approximately equal the height from the bottom of base to socket.
Reading lamps need a wider shade to provide plenty of light.
Consider the Bulb
Be sure you have 2-inch separation from bulb to shade, especially for higher wattage bulbs. Be sure the top opening is wide enough to vent the heat. Compact Fluorescent bulbs are great for most lamps because they burn cooler, but you may need larger harp since CFL’s are taller than standard light bulbs.
How to measure a lamp shade
Find the right size shade for your lamp. Follow these tips for correct measuring.
Shade Dimensions are typically given Top x Bottom x Height on the SLANT. Be sure to measure the slant height and not the vertical height.
The taller the lamp, the larger the shade. Most table lamps take a shade with a bottom diameter (B) of 16″ or less. Floor lamps take a shade with a bottom diameter (B) of 16″ or 18″ or larger.
Measure the lamp’s height from the bottom of the base to just below the socket(s). The basic rule of thumb is that the shade you choose should have a bottom diameter (B) that’s approximately equal to this measurement.
Choosing the Right Fitter
A “fitter” is simply the way the shade connects to your lamp. Most lamps have “spider” fitters. Other common fitters include UNO or clip-on fitters. Check your existing lamp against the diagram and descriptions below to determine what type of fitter you need:
Choosing the Right Drop
Shades with a spider-type or UNO-type fitter usually have some distance between the top edge of the shade down to the center of the fitter. This makes the fitting less visible when viewing the lamp from the side but does raise the position of the shade by the drop distance.
Shades with spider-type fitters typically feature a 1/to 1-inch drop.
Shades with a Slip-UNO fitter have several inches of the drop which varies per-shade since the fitter has to drop down to below the bulb.
Threaded-UNO fitter shades typically feature a drop of to inches so as to conceal electrical attachments above the shade.
Simple designed straight-sided shades that usually feature a bottom width 3-times larger than the top, resulting in a shade that emits most of the light from the bottom.
Distance from the top of the shade to the center of the fitter.
The metal structure that attaches the shade to the lamp base. The most common type is the Spider Fitter which resembles a spoked wheel and connects to a harp with a finial. A Clip-On Fitter features metal loops allowing the shade to attach on top of the bulb. Larger clip-on shades are designed to attach directly to a standard Edison bulb, while smaller chandelier shades have smaller loops to fit a candelabra bulb. An Uno Fitter is designed with a larger center opening which fits snugly into the socket. Slip Uno Fitters feature a large drop and rest on the socket of a table lamp. Threaded Uno Fitters actually screw on to the socket so it can hang downward, typically on down-bridge floor lamps.
A stiff backing applied to the inner surface of a lamp shade to keep its shape over time. During the creation of a hardback lampshade, the fabric is laminated over a stiff but bendable backing material, typically a plastic such as a styrene. The hard backing helps the shade to keep its form, prevents drooping or warping, and extends the life of the shade. With a hardback shade it often becomes unnecessary to use extra metal framework running between the top and bottom of the shade, since the backing maintains the shape. This removes the shadows or blocks to light caused by the presence of vertical framework showing through the shade.
Decorative covering, usually fabric, used to diffuse and direct the light from the bulb. A properly chosen shade will enhance the base and bring out its best features without competing with it for attention. (The life of the party can also use it as a hat late on a wild evening.)
An additional surface applied to the inside of a lamp shade, used to filter or reflect light. A reflective lining such as gold or silver helps to reflect light away from the shade surface and focuses it out of the top and bottom. This keeps the outer appearance of the shade the same color and tone as when the light is off. This is useful for dark or black shades that you want to stay dark-looking even when the lamp is on. It also prevents the shade from absorbing some of the light, increasing overall light output. A reflective lining also hides the appearance of a bright-spot from the light bulb, as seen through the shade. Other types of lining include plastic, linen and other fabrics, each with its own degree of diffusing and reflecting light. Some linings allow some light through while also increasing the output through the top and bottom of the shade.
The measurement from the outermost tip of the top edge of a lamp shade, to the outermost tip of the bottom edge, on a diagonal and in a straight line. We use the slant height to describe the `height` (length of the side) of the shade. The slant height is easily measured outside the shade, even when the shade is installed, and should be measured in a straight line regardless of any curvature in the shape of the shade. Bell shades are just as easily measured, measuring in a straight line from top to bottom, ignoring the curved surface. (Since most shades do not have vertical sides, it is difficult to get an accurate vertical measurement, usually requires the shade to be removed from the lamp. It is easier and more intuitive to measure the outside of the shade on the slant from top to bottom.)
Metal receptacle at the top of the lamp base that holds the bulb and usually contains the switch. A slip-UNO fitter or a harp generally sits beneath the socket.
Karyn R. Millet
PAPER: “Pleasing to the eye, paper shades create a casual, relaxed mood. They’re a lightweight hanging-fixture favorite.”
FABRIC: “So versatile! You can use this with any color or pattern, on almost any type of lamp. Linen is laid-back; silk has a formal feel.”
METAL: “Pros of a metal shade: It’s great for directional lighting, and it casts a sharp beam (think task lamps). Cons: It can become hot to the touch — avoid in nurseries! — and feels a bit like an interrogation room.”
GLASS: “In opaque white, glass offers a throwback, vintage look that’s ideal for bathrooms and kitchens. Clear versions are pretty and can add a nice twinkle but are — obviously — difficult to look at directly, so keep above eye level.”
GET THE LOOK: A architectural table lamp still makes a statement among boldly striped chairs in this colorful San Francisco home, designed by Melissa Warner Rothblum and Julie Kleiner
For this post, I have put together an extensive list of the best architect lamps currently available.
The world of architecture has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Drawing boards have been replaced with multiple computer monitors and laptops. However, while times have changed in terms of how architects draw, architect lamps have always been essential.
We architects still need to review printed drawings and these lamps shine a light on the potential problems on a project.
Also, these lamps aren’t just for work. The timeless design and versatility of an architect lamp is just as useful at home as it is in the office.
In this day and age, it’s becoming more important to look after the environment. As an eco-friendly LED light, it consumes 75% less power than traditional incandescent lights so you can reduce your carbon footprint while also reducing your electricity bill.
The LED light isn’t the only thing modern about this lamp; the entire design is a contemporary alternative for the home or office. Made from high-quality aluminum alloy, it is made to last while looking great! The design also houses a USB port to convenient charge your smartphone – letting you free up valuable wall space.
Light Your Surroundings
As well as providing stable, uniform lighting the lamp also features three different lighting modes with three levels of brightness. Whether you’re after a warm light for relaxing, or something with a little more ‘oomph’ when reading, the lamp can cast the right light for you.
Phive CL-LED Architect Lamp
Phive CL-LED Architect Desk Lamp / Clamp Lamp, Metal Swing Arm Dimmable Task Lamp (Touch Control, Eye-Care Technology, Memory Function, Highly Adjustable Office / Work Light) Silver
Contemporary Design High grade aluminum alloy arm, strong metal clamp, provides perfect lighting as well as saves desk space.
Eye-Care Technology Diffusion panel, emitting soft light without ghost, glare or flicker. The Ra8high CRI LED, provides lighting close to daylight. Higher lighting height, covering larger area.
The BenQ e-Reading Lamp can easily be switched from warm tones for casual reading, to the cooler tones for concentration and work. With the twist of a knob, you can choose the right lighting suitable for concentration and productivity or for relaxation.
The highest quality energy saving LEDS provide efficient non-flickering natural light for stress free productivity and enjoyment.
Energy-Efficient LED lighting. Replace old CFL or Halogen desk lamps and start saving. Great adjustable arm and rotating base.
Double-wall lampshade stays cool to the touch
Uses a 100-watt-max ordinary lightbulb for easy and inexpensive replacement
17. Sunllipe Architect Swing Arm Desk Lamp with Touch Control Dimmable LED
Sunllipe Metal Architect Swing Arm Desk Lamp with Touch Control Dimmable LED Task Lamp – 14.Inches Tall Modern Design, Black
PROFESSIONAL LED SWING ARM LIGHT：
Extendable and adjustable long arm provide you infinite flexibility also allow light coverage on a large table.
19. LEDU 3-Way Clamp Mount Architect Swing Arm Lamp
LEDU 3-Way Clamp Mount Fluorescent/Incandescent Swing Arm Lamp, 37.5-Inch Arm, Black (L445BK)
TaoTronics TT-DL1Overview Lamp head and body is made of premium alloy casing with anodized aluminum that gives better heat dissipation and a longer life. Modern design that will naturally fit your desk / room / furniture; rotatable arm and lamp head, made from durable plastic and aluminum alloy
Choose Your Mood Touch control with color modes (temperature) to choose from, dimmable with 1level of brightness to suit your activities
Any Angle No matter the angle you’re after, the adjustable head can rotate 90 degrees left and right or 13degrees up and down so you can shine a light on anything.
Not Just A Light It’s handy to have a charger in unexpected places. Plug in your eReader, tablet, or smartphone into the built-in USB port.
Eye Caring Design to be soft, stable and non-flickering, the lighting is friendly on your eyes so you can enjoy what you’re doing for longer.
Touch Controls Slide your fingers along the touch pad to set the brightness level and the lighting mode of your choice. It’s convenient and easier than flicking a light switch.
Shade Shopping Shortcuts
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At their house in Marrakech, Samuel and Caitlin Dowe-Sandes’s daughter’s room features a light fixture by Claire Norcross for Luminosity. The floor is paved in starburst floor tiles by their firm, Popham Design. The iron bed is a flea market find.
In the master bedroom of a penthouse apartment on the French Riviera, the bed is flanked by palm tree sconces and topped with a mohair blanket from the French Alps. The 1950s English bedside table is mahogany, and the hand-painted wallpaper is 19th-century English.
Matching Lamps And Wallpaper
In Andy Cohen’s Greenwich Village apartment, the shades on the vintage Pierre Giraudon green-resin nightstand lamps from John Salibello match the Ralph Lauren Home wallpaper in the master bedroom. The bed is upholstered in a Maharam plaid by Paul Smith and dressed with Pratesi linens.
A Unique Bronze Pendant
In the master bedroom of designer Jean-Louis Deniot’s Parisian apartment, the crystal lamps and bronze ceiling pendant are by designer Deniot. The leather rug is by Serge Lesage, the walls are in a custom color, and the portraits are from the 16th century through the 1960s.
A Moroccan Lantern
The large hanging lantern in the bedroom of artist Anne Becker’s Manhattan apartment provides an additional light source to the room already flooded by light through the wood shutters by designer Gregory Bissonnette and stained-glass insets by Jacqueline Rusca. The suzani coverlet is from Sheherazade.
A Paper Pendant
A fixture constructed of paper plates by Christopher Trujillo playfully evokes clouds in a bedroom designed by Stephen Sills in a storied Manhattan apartment building. The custom-made bed is upholstered in a Pierre Frey fabric, and the bedside tables are from Crate & Barrel.
In a North Jersey home, the master bedroom’s reading light is by Stephen Miller Siegel and the vintage lamp bases are from Ruby Beets. The bed and side tables are custom designs, the linens are by Frette, the walls are upholstered in a Pindler fabric, and the carpet is by Woolshire Carpet Mills.
In the master bedroom of an Upper West Side apartment, the room’s white and gold pendant is reflected in the gilded mirror. A Hästens bed is dressed in linens by Sferra and Olatz, the circa-1970 side tables are by Milo Baughman, and the lamp is by Taylor; the walls are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Cinder Rose, and the photographs are by Marsha Lebedev Bernstein.
Translucent Ceiling Light
In a Brooklyn townhouse, the master bedroom’s light fixture is from West Elm and the sconces are by Serena & Lily.The bed by Ballard Designs is upholstered in a Lake August fabric and topped with a vintage Moroccan blanket and a pillow from Breuckelen Berber. The painting is by Alex Mason and the walls are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Gray Owl.
A Colorful Sphere Light
In the same house, the rainbow pendant plays off the array of colors in the kid’s room. A Room & Board bunk bed is dressed in vintage suzanis from Uzbekistan, the school desk is from Windsor Place Antiques, the shades are of a fabric by Flock and the vintage rug is Turkish.
Inside a house in Uruguay, the master bedroom’s floor lamp and chair were found in Buenos Aires, the rug is an antique Bolivian poncho that was a gift from Claessens’s mother, the painting is by Claessens and the antique shutters were bought at auction in Montevideo, Uruguay.
In an Oakland, California master bedroom, the George Nelson pendant light is from Design Within Reach. The bed by Room & Board is dressed with a Libeco duvet, the antique chest is English, and the custom love seat is upholstered in a China Seas fabric. The rug is an antique Heriz and the walls are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Anchor Gray.
The Lantern in this Greenwich Village penthouse is 19th-century Indian. The bed is upholstered in a Robert Kime stripe and dressed in antique French linens, the side table is 18th-century English, and the landscape paintings are English, French and American. The walls are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Off-White.
Modern Floor Lamp
A modern lamp by Michael Anastassiades for Flos sits behind the nightstand in the guest room of this Monaco apartment. The bed is by Flexform and has a cover in an Osborne & Little check, the wallpaper is by Cole & Son, and walls are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Parma Gray; the large drawing on top of the 1950s wall unit is by Joe Bradley.
In the master bedroom of this London townhouse the pendant light, one of a pair, is 1950s Murano glass. The bed is upholstered in a fabric from Tissus d’Hélène in London, the 1930s French chairs are covered in an André du Dauphiné velvet, and the pelmet and walls are covered in a C&C Milano fabric. The rug is a midcentury Indian dhurrie.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Lamp Bases & Shades wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Lamp Bases & Shades
- №1 — Brightech Noah LED Side Table & Desk Lamp – Traditional Elegant Wood Base with Neutral Lampshade & Soft, Ambient Lighting Perfect for Living Room, Office, or Bedside Nightstand Light- Black
- №2 — Creative Motion White Base Resin Table Lamp, Purple
- №3 — Mainstays Stacked Lamp Base, White