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How to Buy Lampshades

Public service announcement: Those white, triangular shades are not the only ones available. Hence, don't make them the only ones you buy. Lampshades are a great way to spruce up a plain lamp or get a whole new look for your room on the cheap. Here's how to make sure your lampshade fits your lamp base perfectly.

Photo: Ellen Silverman

Size it right

We're pretty free with our sizing "rules," but there are a few suggestions that we do take to heart. First, the height of the shade should be roughly three-fourths the height of the lamp base. Also, the bottom of your shade should be wider than the base at its widest part.

Match and complement the base

Is your base so unique and original that you want all the focus to go there, or are you more into your amazing lampshade? Or, do you just want a lamp and shade that really match each other well? The key is that neither be too fancy, because they'll compete for attention and overwhelm the eye. It's also important to match the vibe of both: contemporary base, contemporary shade; square base, probably square shade. You see where we're going with this…

Be practical

Make sure your bulb is at least two to three inches away from the shade, especially if your bulb is high wattage. The top opening of the shade also needs to be big enough to let out the heat from the bulb. Also in the practical category: Look for a lampshade that covers the switch, but just barely. And if it's a reading lamp, go for a wider shade -- this will give you more light.

Now find out how to buy a lamp.

Nestpert: Jennifer Bertrand, season three Design Star winner.

-- Paula Kashtan