Monday, August 3, 2009

Let's Play "Lamp Shade Switcheroo"!

In this previous post, (that, judging by the comments, turned out to be more about Kitty than the lessons she taught!) I talked about buying an affordable lamp base that looks more high-end than it costs and then upgrading it further by replacing the shade.

A few days after that post published, I received an email about a local lamp store's sale. I looked around at their offerings and started imagining how I might mix and match them to get an even better lamp... or at least a lamp that I liked better than any of the sale items as is.

First, I was struck by the pretty shade on the lamp you see here, above. Light tan "faux silk" with applied gold foil leaves. The base, however, which is called "Deep Bronze Artichoke", is not especially appealing visually nor is it very artichoke-like. When I think "artichoke", I see lamps like these, below, from Stray Dog Designs and Regina Andrew at Macy's. Now those are artichokes!

So now the hunt begins! I've spent $79.95 for the first lamp and I'm off to find more sale lamps that can provide potential new bases for our foil leaves shade. I searched and searched all the pages and here, below, in my humble opinion, are the three best contenders.

Sorry about cutting off the corners of the shade on the center lamp! For some reason more complex than my photo-editing skills could deal with, I simply couldn't get that particular photo to share the same proportions as the others. In real life, the overall lamp is actually shorter than the other two by an inch or so. This is where I should say that I kept proportion and height in mind when searching for base candidates. They're all very similar in height to the original "artichoke" lamp. The shades on these three bases are also nearly identical in size to the foil leaves shade I'm replacing them with. That's important to remember when you're playing this game. Definitely swap only lamp shades of the same size. And the same shape too if you want to play it really safe. These shades are all in the shape known as "empire".

I'll admit, none of these lamps is overly objectionable. The third one is actually quite chic with its banded shade and glossy base (and you should see its big brother the floor lamp!). The first two though have very plain shades and I think they could benefit from a little jazzing up! So here are my new lamps:

This one, above, is my favorite. I'm calling this style "eco chic". The brown wood base is grooved giving it an interesting texture that nicely contrasts with the smooth shiny leaves on the shade and at the same time plays well with the slightly coarse weave of the fabric. I can picture it solo on an entry hall table or as one of a pair on either side of your organic cotton-dressed bed. Total price for this "new" lamp: 79.95 shade + 69.95 base = $149.90

Our second makeover, above. Again, I apologize for the weird cropping job! Please use your fantastic imagination to see the entire lamp base and how well the brass footing coordinates with the gold and tan on the shade. The pretty celadon color of the ceramic gourd base complements the golds above and below and makes me want to call this style "vintage modern"; the vintage elements being the celadon color, brass footing, and gourd shape. The gourd base can also be considered a modern element as this shape has re-emerged in today's interiors, and the bold graphics on the shade can also read quite modern. I'd like to see this one, all by itself, as part of a bohemian-vintage-eclectic living room. 79.95 shade + 143.93 base = $223.88.

Finally, I'm calling this one, above, "far east glam" and I want to see two of them on the sleek sideboard of a very dramatic dining room. The glossy black base has a stylized bamboo or pagoda feeling and the shine here supports the shiny foil on the shade. The gold and black color combo plus silk and shine on the shade lend even more glamour. This one's the best deal: 79.95 shade + 49.95 base = $129.90

Now that you've swapped shades and cleverly created a newer, better lamp more to your liking, what do you do with the leftover base and shade? If the base and shade fit together as they should, here are my suggestions:

1) Experiment with covering or painting the plain shade and create another "better" lamp--for free! (Eddie does that in this post. Take a look.)

2) Set it out at your next tag sale or take it to a local consignment shop and recover a little bit of the original cost. That makes the new fancy lamp you kept an even better deal!

3) If you, like I do, have any just-moved-out offspring, give the lamp to him or her. It may not be the best looking lamp on the planet, but hey, beggar's can't be choosers!

Please, let me know what you think of this idea. (Even if you think I've lost my mind!) And remember, if you decide to attempt such a "switcheroo", your lamp and base do not have to come from the same source. I only did that here for the sake of simplifying my exercise; one-stop-shopping is not something I usually advise. And if you've ever done this yourself, I want to know about that too! Thanks for playing!!

The "lampshade ladies" up top were found by happy accident during a google search. They appeared in several places so I can't really say with certainty who they are or where they're from. What I can say is they look like they know how to have fun! And that's welcome here any time.


Jennifer, Inside Out Colour and Design said...

I bet you had as much fun creating this post as those ladies at the top seem to be having. What a great idea. My favourite is your Far East Glam one but I'm sure I could find a spot for of them.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I do like your "eco-chic" choice best of all. I adore lampshades, so much fun to play with. My favourite part of any decorating project is the lamp search at the end. Like finding unique jewelry for the home.

pk said...

As many times as I've done it, I'm still always amazed at how much you can update and change the look of a lamp just by putting a different shade on it. I'm all for it! Of the bases you've chosen, my choice would be the "eco-chic".

the gardeners cottage said...


This is why I love your blog. I learn something new all the time.
I adore those artichoke lamps. And I love the "eco-chic" one you created. Thanks again.


Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

These shades are great. I love to change them out, such a easy update. Thanks for visiting and hold out on that art peice until your heart sings.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Aren't lamps so much fun to play with? I love all your examples. Thanks for stopping by today. I wish I had more time to visit everyone I'd like to. I constantly run out of that precious commodity.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

LOL I love that funny photograph!

I love your eco chic combination also --that is such a beautiful lamp shade!

Love Where You Live said...

I like the celedon gourd.
What a great shot of the ladies, too.
cheers, -susan