To Shade or Not to Shade
Should you put clip-on shades on your chandelier or sconce?
There are many things to consider when deciding whether to add fabric shades to your fixtures. I am addressing crystal fixtures specifically, but many of the same ideas can be applied to other types of lighting.
One of the greatest things about adding shades to crystal chandeliers is that it softens the light. And, if the shades have white linings, the bulbs will reflect off that fabric and back into all the crystals. It really is quite stunning.
You can see in the photos above how the chandelier itself is lit by the way the shades push the light from the bulbs down onto the chandelier arms and prisms.
A few things to be aware of when purchasing:
1. Make sure that you are using a low wattage bulb - if using incandescent, between 15w and 40w, depending upon how big the shades are. If the bulbs become too hot, they will discolor the shades, or even worse, they will cause a fire. Most LED bulbs don't get hot enough to be of concern.
2. Clip on shades will fit either a candelabra bulb or a regular A15 or A19 (household type). Double check that you are purchasing the right type of shade.
3. Look at the interior color of the shade. We really like white interior for maximum brightness.
4. Most lighting fixtures will look best with a shade that has a bottom diameter of 4" to 6", depending upon how large the fixture is. Most of what we sell in the showroom is 4" to 5" bottom diameter.
5. If purchasing shades for sconces, ensure that the bottom of the shade isn't too wide. Measure the distance from the wall to the center of the socket. Half the diameter of your shade should be smaller than the distance from the wall to the center of the socket.
If you think that the light from wall sconces is a bit excessive, shades, either traditional or contemporary styles, are a beautiful way to soften that light.
From a decorating point of view, shades can be a way to change design perspectives of a fixture. An elegant drum shade can make a traditional chandelier seem more modern, or a bell shade can make a straight line chandelier seem more classic. In many cases, a shade can make a fancy chandelier just a bit less so.
Whether for practical reasons or aesthetic reasons, clip on shades can change the look of your lighting fixture.A couple of our favorite shade sellers:
- King's Chandelier Company