Just over 200 years since Sir Humphry Davy invented the arc lamp, and 100 since Thomas Edison developed those ideas into a practical domestic light source, the lightbulb has been causing as many problems as it solved. Namely, how best to keep it covered. So, how do you shade yours?
Drum-shaped shade with a modern print – Maybe bold line drawings of leaves or foxes. In a colourway that goes with the rest of your studiously modern-but-homely home. The John Lewis home furnishings department makes you a bit excitable. As do the property pages of the local free magazine. You probably own a couple of Kilner jars.
Modernist Danish shade, especially the Norm69 – It seemed like a good idea at the time. It would demonstrate that you truly appreciate design and can handle hard edges. No House and Garden for you. It’s Wallpaper* all the way. Unfortunately you didn’t realise how hard it would be to a) assemble, and b) dust.
Baby Plumen bulb – the anti-shade. Just a bare (designer) bulb. Whoa, you really are urban! Lampshades are for wimps. This is a design classic and a philosophical statement. A piece of functional purity. It looks perfect in your loft apartment, ironically-industrial rural retreat or coffee-shop start up.
Plain white paper lantern – Only acceptable if you recently left home, or are a student or intern trying to make your rental pad feel more homely on a limited budget.
Light ‘fittings’ – These are not merely coverings to be slipped over an eco lightbulb and clipped to a plastic cable, these are complete ensembles hanging from their own chrome cables. It’s all about detailing. And being able to afford an electrician to install it. Which is why you are more a Heal’s customer than an Ikea one.
Chandeliers – dismissed as being OTT, a bit ‘ideas above your station’, but that’s by people who don’t live in houses as big as yours. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of bling, as long as your interior designer offsets it with some more pared-back contemporary pieces. Which they have.
Tapered shade – This used to be the only shape a lampshade came in. Which is why we’d now do anything to avoid it. Generally now only found in rental properties, or homes over-70 chintz-botherers. Which means an ironic revival must be imminent.