Tips on choosing the right lampshade colour


Lampshade styles and sizes are subjects we’ve discussed at great lengths on the OKA Blog, but now colour is the hot topic. How do you know which hues will make your lamps look the most dazzling? By now, every drawer may be organised, the layout of your rooms perfected and perhaps all that framed art has made its way onto the wall, but if a lighting revamp is your latest interiors project, or you’ve found a great lamp but don’t know what to pair it with, you’re in the right place. We’re shedding light on some important points to weigh up when singling out colours for your table and floor lampshades – enjoy.

Should all lampshades in a room be the same colour?

The type of interiors you’re creating will influence your shade colours. Two lamps balancing a room will benefit from matching light shades; equally, identical designs can unify mismatched table or floor lamps that brighten a room, resulting in an ordered, cohesive look. Drawn to eclectic interiors? Take the opportunity to introduce new colours and patterns through contrasting light shades.

What colour of lampshade should I choose?

Ultimately, this depends on the colour of your lamp base, the room you’re lighting and the amount of illumination required.

It’s important for bedrooms to feel soothing, and colours certainly help achieve this. You might want to opt for a natural or pastel shade if this is the room you’re decorating. Adding final flourishes to a study? In this instance, your lighting goals will probably be a little different. This room requires ample light for reading and you may not want something too colourful that could be distracting ­– if this applies, a shade in a light, thin material is a good option. Nonetheless, if a leopard-print piece looks great in your bedroom or you need something bright and punchy to raise your spirits while you work, then go for it – as we say, there are no house rules.

Black and white shades are obvious choices if you love all things monochrome. Our black drum card shade is a customer favourite for a reason: darker shades bring impact at the flick of a switch. However, if you’re styling a room that needs extra light, pale neutral-coloured shades in translucent fabrics, such as linen and cotton, allow lots to shine through.

Seeking something brighter? If you’re shopping for a verdant design, consider offsetting it with a rosy shade – this is a bold colour match but one that’s tried and tested as pink sits opposite green on the colour wheel. Orange shades are ideal if you’re emulating bohemian 70s style – picture bead curtains, bold floral prints and wooden furniture to the max.

If you haven’t done so already, have a glimpse at our lamp and shade matchmaking tool. This illustrates how different shade colours can completely change the aesthetic of a lamp. If you can’t choose between the lamp bases and shades on offer, consider purchasing a table lamp sold with a shade that can be easily changed whenever you feel like updating your colour scheme.

Accent shades: how to style lighting in Pantone’s top colours for 2021

Pantone recently announced Ultimate Grey and Illuminating as its colours of the year. This coupling centres on contrasting hues working in harmony to convey the mood of 2021. Grey, to symbolise the strength and courage it’s taken to get through the last few months, and a big sunny hit of yellow to boost our spirits and encourage a feeling of positivity.

There’s always an opportunity to experiment with these refreshing colours in interiors. Textiles are perceived as being the easiest way to change up a colour palette but using lighting to introduce new hues also allows you to dial the ambience in your home up or down as much as you like. Grey lampshades can evoke a serene or dramatic mood – the tone you choose will dictate the effect it has on your room. Yellow pieces, on the other hand, almost always bring a happy, energetic element. OKA’s yellow lighting edit includes the Pattani Shade in Mustard, the Saffron ceramic Calabash Lamp and the pretty, pleated Daun Shade in Turmeric.

Embrace the trend by opting for a yellow-grey lamp and shade combination. Or, incorporate lustrous details into your scheme via elegant silver tones, which pair beautifully with shades of yellow, too.

Can fabric lampshades be painted?

Many of the top sellers in our lighting collection are pleated and patterned, like the Warna and Elemeri Shades. These pieces offer a radiant touch but as they’re rich in colour, they’re not the best fit for a painting project. The idea of painting a shade isn’t unheard of, however. Plain, non-pleated shades make better canvasses and there are myriads of up-cycling tutorials available online if this is something you want to research.

If you’re eager to get your brushes out, here are a few suggestions:

  • They say preparation is key. If you’re hand-painting a shade, practice your design at least twice on paper beforehand. Once the paint is applied there’s no guarantee it can be removed. New to fabric painting? You could source some second-hand lampshades to work on first.
  • Research the range of fabric, chalk and acrylic paints available and confirm the material of your shade ahead of making your selection. Ensure the paint you’re using is compatible with the material of your shade – silk, linen, card and cotton all have different requirements.
  • Try and pick up sample-sized paint pots if your project isn’t going to require multiple coats.

And that’s a wrap. This guide is designed to help you choose from the wide spectrum of available shade colours, but when all is said and done it’s your home, so your rules. Go with your gut and layer pieces you like; if all the furnishings and accessories in your space are reflective of your style, chances are they will complement each other just fine.