Cheap Lamps – Sources, Hacks and What Size To Get!

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

In Wednesday’s post, we took a look at some inexpensive chandeliers.

And naturally,  some of you have had some questions about table lamps.

Now, it isn’t that I haven’t discussed table lamps before. Of course, I have, but there’s always a new way of looking at things.

 

So, today, I’d like to stick with the inexpensive theme and focus on cheap lamps.

 

But, not just cheap lamps but ways to make a cheap lamp look far more like its costly counterpart.

 

But, before I do that, there’s always one or two, out there who will say something to the effect that their lamps cost a dollar each and everyone thinks that they’re heirlooms. While that’s wonderful, not everyone is as lucky, nor do they have the time or patience to seek out one dollar lamps. But, if you’re one who does, that’s absolutely fine too. I guess what I’m saying is, it’s not possible for me to source and put tag sale/thrift shop items on the blog.

 

And of course, you can get great lighting or potentially great lighting for free.

 

The best I can do is to put relatively cheap lamps from retail sources. So, that’s what I’m doing. And the ideas I have will hold true whether you paid $1.00 or $100.00 for your table lamps.

Expensive lamps, can go into the thousands, but an average retail price for a nice lamp, say from Bradburn Home is going to run you at least $400.00 and many of them cost more.

It starts to add up. Right?

 

Make no mistake; I’m all for saving money wherever we can, but IMO, one of the worst decorating sins is to have a beautiful room with cheap lamps; or rather, I mean– cheap looking lamps.

 

It’s like putting on a Chanel suit with a plastic pearl necklace. très gauche.

It’s true that finding great cheap lamps is more difficult than chandeliers, however I’m going to share some ideas I have to spruce up some of the more awful things you’ll find when you go in search of something affordable.

 

Here is a list of things that shout from the church steeples CHEAP LAMPS!

 

  • If it’s a traditional lamp, any part of it that is made of chrome. That goes from the finial to the neck and then the base..

 

Chrome. Really?

 

yuck, chrome and Chinoiserie - Cheap lamps that look cheap, really suck!

 

Are we (I mean, they) honestly trying to pass this off as silver or nickel? Sorry; not buyin’ it. And I hope that you won’t literally buy it without doing something about it.

What is the solution? The solution is to put a faux finish on it.

OR, you can avoid purchasing lamps with chrome, especially for the base. Lots of lamps have bases in acrylic, wood or brass. Now, the brass might be shiny and awful too. But it’s a little easier to change that, than it is the chrome. However, all of it is doable.

Related to chrome as you can see above is:

 

  • a lampshade that’s revealing the neck, if there is a neck.

I went over this in this post about lampshades from a while back. Sometimes, yes, the lampshade is too small, but most of the time, it’s the harp that’s too BIG.

I always feel that something is wrong, when I see the neck exposed. I never noticed this happening until a few years ago. And sometimes, I’ve even seen part of the socket exposed. Have people no shame?

And by the way, this isn’t someone I know; I saw this early today or earlier yesterday haha in an online catalog. Oh, please don’t ask me which one or where. I’ve looked at hundreds of lamps and fixtures today!

Gaskins 20" table lamp $48 - but with chrome. yuck
This unfortunate creature (a 20″ accent lamp) is another with both chrome and a log exposed neck. It’s reminding me of ET. However, the base itself isn’t bad. But then, there’s more chrome on the bottom. Even though it looks like brass, it’s chrome. Plus for this petite ginger jar style, the drum shade while not awful wouldn’t be my first choice.

Granted, it is a $48.00 lamp which is very cheap. Great. That gives us a little allowance to turn it into something Edith Wharton would approve of. I’m going to show you what I did in a bit. And no fair looking ahead. ;]

 

Another thing that irks me about many of the cheap lamps in the market-place:

 

  • cheap, plastic looking glazes on a ceramic lamp.

 

I think I wrote that two hours ago. haha. What happened is that I went in search to see if anyone had successfully painted a ceramic lamp. I did find the usual DIY projects with various finishes and techniques on Pinterest. And some are painted on glass. The jury is out on that one as far as how good it looks…

Here’s my opinion on the subject. If it’s a ceramic lamp that you got at a thrift shop/tag sale, etc for five bucks and it has a pitiful granny design on it and you want to update it, sure, go ahead and paint it.

IF it’s a metal lamp, absolutely you CAN paint it. Remember what the fabulously talented William McLure did here?

And finally, if it’s a blue and white Chinoiserie lamp, nothing screams out CHEAP LAMP more than an obviously non-hand-painted design. And/or a design that’s too precious.  By too precious, I mean that it looks like “granny.”

 

Cheap Lamps that look expensive Spring Blossom29" table lamp $158 each

I’m sitting on the fence about this one. I love the shape, size and proportion for this sofa/console table and for the price, I think it’s not bad. But, the blue and white design, leaves me a little underwhelmed.

Oh, and just so you know, because someone is sure to crap on me if I don’t say something. But, Granny, doesn’t really refer to women of a certain age; it refers to a style of decorating often associated with grandmothers from days gone by. However, I’ve seen 30-something-year-old women decorate in the granny style. For more on that, please click here.

 

Shonna blue and white porcelain jar table lampThis blue and white Chinoiserie table lamp has a more authentic and interesting design, IMO. And it’s still only $130.00 I would consider painting the foot black and getting a different finial. I’m linking below to some fabulous sources. And there are more new ones in the updated Laurel’s Rolodex.

 

Another hallmark of cheap lamps is that the proportions and shape don’t feel quite right. However, there are plenty of expensive lamps that don’t feel quite right to me, as well. :]

 

Now, we can look at some ideas for making that cheap little lamp above look not-as-cheap.

 

 

So, what did I do here?

I saw that on the original lamp that the shade is 14″ wide, which looks about right, but it could be one inch less. So, I found a 13″ cone shade and aside from the fact that the perspective is off compared to the base, I think it looks rather nice.  There are zillions of lampshades in various materials, styles and prices at Wayfair. Changing a lampshade is a great way to perk up an old or tired lamp.

 

Then, I decided to ixnay the tacky finial and I found this lovely crystal finial. Be careful for a small lamp not to get something too big. I couldn’t find antique brass, but we can take care of that too.crystal finial dresses up a cheap lampsThis one measures 1.5″ in total which sounds about right. For more finials, click here.

rub and buff gold leaf metallic finishThen, I took some virtual rub ‘n buff. (I say virtual since I’m not actually doing anything except typing. haha) Remember that magical stuff? And I virtually painted the base and the metal part of the finial. Rub ‘n Buff comes in numerous colors and you have to experiment to get the effect that you want.

There’s another post which shows how a clever blogger took a dilapidated little brass task lamp and made it quite a lovely thing with rub ‘n buff.

 

If you have questions regarding how to arrive at the perfect size lamp shade, please hop on over to this post in the link. Most of these are rules for a regular side table lamp. If it’s a tall, skinny buffet lamp, of course, those rules go out the window.

One little hack I sometimes do is if I see something I like, say another lamp, I’ll make note of the dimensions and then translate that onto what it is I’m working on. Another thing with lampshades is to take your lamp into a lamp shop and try them on, just like you would a dress.

 

What Size Should a Table Lamp Be?

 

I’ve probably talked about this before, but here are my general guidelines. And please note, that these are general. And, that’s because the variables are too great.

Let’s begin with the living room. Most of the time there are lamps on the side table or end table as some people call it.  I have done some skinny end tables. But, to have a lamp on the table, if it’s a rectangle, the table needs to be at least 12″ wide and then, I would do a skinny lamp, maybe 27″ tall.

 

Below, I made a graphic for typical heights, using an English roll arm sofa.

 

typical heights sofa, table lamp, end table

 

If your table lamp is skinny, you could go with a bit taller lamp. And if you have a more chunky table lamp, then you could probably go down to 23″

However, I see end tables that are 28″ on up and table lamps that are 34″ and up and it all starts to look very weird to me. That is… with a normal-sized sofa. I’ve talked a lot about what I think are more ideal proportions and shapes for sofas and chairs in other posts.

 

Now it’s time to look at some great cheap lamps and finials.

 

 

 

Some are fine as is and some could use a little paint, a new finial, or even a little trim on the lampshade; nothing crazy.

And then, I just had to go to Etsy. Etsy has some of the best Vintage lighting ever and most of it is quite reasonably priced. Yes, the vendor got it for next to nothing at the county flea market. But then they fix things up; remove the donkey dung and spit. That sort of thing.

 

 

I know… aren’t those Greek Key lamps fabulous! Believe me. I was trying to make them work somewhere but have few options in my small apartment.

 

And I found a wonderful new source which is where most of the lamps in the above widget came from.

But speaking of that, if you don’t have a Laurel’s Rolodex, I’m including for no extra charge (until November 21) a 70 product guide for the best of Etsy, Chairish and OKL vintage, antique and hand-made.

If you already have a rolodex, you should’ve received your updated for 2019 rolodex on Thursday evening. If you are just tuning in and can’t find it, please check your spam folder. OR, you can download the new one with an old link as long as you have used up your downloads and, you can find it. haha. I know. I know!

xo,

 

 

PS: Don’t forget to check out the hot sales for this weekend. And, the holiday shop is fully open. And if you need Hanukkah gifts, it’s time to get cracking because it’s quite early this year.

 

5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Amy H - November 29, 2018 - 9:18 PM

    Great informative post as always. You’ve helped articulate some of the things that turn me off to some lamps that I wasn’t able to identify (looking at you, exposed neck). I moved into a much larger home a few years ago and well, needed to buy almost everything to fill it up with furniture and decor. I’m slowly filling it in and upgrading items as I go. Lamps are on the list but have to prioritize. What are your thoughts are lamps that have a fully integrated ceramic base (is that a cheap lamp sign?), and not a separate wood or metal base at the bottom? I have some from Ballard’s SK line. They could definitely use a finial upgrade but I think the integrated base is also leaving them a bit boring. Not sure if I can salvage or should just spring for something new.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - November 17, 2018 - 10:39 PM

    I’m already referring to this page often, this is a wonderful post!

    I have a question about organza shades – how do they hold up to time? Shades of Light has some gorgeous looking gold organza shades, but there are no reviews and I’m curious if people have experience with them?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 17, 2018 - 10:46 PM

      Hi Amy,

      Thank you so much. And you’re not the only one, but we can’t query other readers because I have to moderate every comment and if we turn the comments into a forum then it could get out of hand quite quickly. I hope that you’ll understand. I don’t have experience with organza shades. Maybe try doing a google search if you have not already?ReplyCancel

  • Katie - November 17, 2018 - 2:17 PM

    Hi Laurel –

    When talking about bedside table lamps, should they match? Should they be the same height and other dimensions ?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 17, 2018 - 3:36 PM

      Well, I’ve seen it where it looks very nice, but I prefer them to match. If the tables are very different, say there’s a large chest or desk on one side and a night table on the other, then it definitely makes sense to do two different lamps and no, they don’t have to be the same height, but I would do a completely different type of light on the desk. Perhaps a task lamp. But, this is a more more eclectic look.ReplyCancel

  • Connie Fowler - November 16, 2018 - 8:01 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    I always learn something new from you, and this post is no exception. I had no idea that chrome and exposed necks were big no-no’s on a lamp. It’s helpful to have some guidelines when I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.

    I have a few lamps that my mom saved from who knows what relative. Some of them have metal bases, and I’ve been hesitant to paint over them. I’m sure they aren’t worth much, but a few are quite old and heavy. The Rub N’ Buff is a great idea. I’m going to look at that as an option. It’s so much fun to make something old look great again.

    BTW, your makeover of the Chinoiserie lamp is brilliant. The result is so cute!

    As always, thanks for all the good education. I can spend hours just following links on your site. Take care!

    ConnieReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 16, 2018 - 10:24 PM

      Hi Connie,

      Thanks so much for such a darling comment. Sorry it took me so long to moderate it. It all depends on the day. haha.ReplyCancel

  • Rose - November 14, 2018 - 1:47 PM

    Great post, now I know some tricks when a lamp isn’t *quite* right. Related question: (or possibly a topic for future posts) – Do you have any recommendations on bulb/brand for lamps (or light fixtures)? Like you, I love the warm incandescent light, but have tried (and failed) with purchasing several different brands to get the perfect cast of light in the evening…ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 14, 2018 - 9:36 PM

      Hi Rose,

      Are you referring to what LED bulbs are best? It’s not my area of expertise,to be honest, but somewhere on here, I believe I went over that. Personally, I can’t stand the bright white LED lights. It makes me feel like I’m in an operating room!ReplyCancel

  • Amy - November 13, 2018 - 3:02 PM

    Thanks for these posts 🙂 I’m really enjoying them.

    (I do hope that you are planning to do sconces next?)ReplyCancel

  • Sherry - November 13, 2018 - 2:54 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    Great post as usual! And very timely for me-I’m completing the redo of my living and dining rooms and am at the stage of accessories (which is just as hard as the furniture and rugs!)
    Right now working on lamps.
    I wonder if what Michele was asking in her reply is a diffuser?
    I’m looking at the wonderful cordless lamps at Modern Lantern and the one I like comes either with diffuser or not. I’ve never seen one in real life so I don’t know if I want it or not. What do you think about them?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 14, 2018 - 12:08 AM

      I haven’t seen them either, I don’t believe except on the bottom of a flushmount light. And Some pendant lights too.ReplyCancel

  • Tsippi - November 13, 2018 - 10:33 AM

    Hi Laurel.

    Thanks to your Rolodex, I discovered Kenneth Ludwig here in Chicago. He has a lot of lamps on sale on his DesignKollective site right now. Many of them are $150-200 including the shade.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 13, 2018 - 10:47 AM

      Oh, how cool Tsippi. I’m so glad and thanks for letting us know!ReplyCancel

  • Donna B Oliphint - November 12, 2018 - 7:51 PM

    Wow! Thanks so much for this post. I hate picking out lampshades, but this will be most helpful. For your black shade, you can always tape off the top and bottom trim with that wonderful lime green or blue painters’ tape and cover the outside with paper or plastic. Then spray paint the interior with metallic gold paint. Use a couple of light coats until you get the coverage you want. Also, if your black shade fades (I have one in a west facing window that gets direct sunlight for 5 hours a day.) you can spray paint it with black. It won’t fade again. One last thing: My designer friends and I generally try to have the top of lampshades in a room at the same height or within an inch or two. We also use pretty books to raise a too short lamp to the correct height. It adds some great interest to the table arrangement.ReplyCancel

  • Haley - November 12, 2018 - 2:11 PM

    I love the look of blue and white lamps.ReplyCancel

  • PFW - November 12, 2018 - 1:43 PM

    This is a great post, and as usual, I read it at the crack of dawn Sunday a.m., went back to read comments last night, and now am back at it on my lunch hour, reading more comments! Some of the comments caused me to recall how I found a great pair of Stiffel ceramic and brass lamps at St. Vinnies, still there because the pair a) were not sitting near each other in the store, and b) had different harps and shades. (Blech, can you imagine what they must have looked like in someone’s living room?) I found shades at Home Goods (they normally carry shades in the lamp area) or Target and passed the pair on to my daughter.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 12, 2018 - 7:20 PM

      Thanks so much PFW. And what a lucky daughter to get those lamps. I bet they look terrific with their new shades!ReplyCancel

  • Molly Clyde Darrow - November 12, 2018 - 11:54 AM

    I have read and studied this post for an hour. I learn so much from you. I often forget to read all the comments and always learn almost as much from the comments and your responses. I think the fact that you actually interact with your readers is something that really differentiates you from other designers. Keep it up!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 12, 2018 - 7:18 PM

      Thanks so much Molly. And you’re so right. The comments add so much to the post; I learn from you guys too! But, when I see a blog with a bunch of comments and the blogger is nowhere to be found, it feels like they don’t care about their readers. Of course, there are a bunch of technical reasons that go under the category of self-serving. haha. It’s all good!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth Scruggs - November 11, 2018 - 10:48 PM

    Another incredibly informative post- and I love the graphic you created- good stuff my friend!
    so I think I have every one of your products except the rolodex (not sure how/ why I don’t have it yet) but I’m thinking I need it:))
    xo
    EReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 12, 2018 - 12:52 AM

      Thanks so much Elizabeth! I think that all designers need a rolodex. :] xoReplyCancel

  • Susan - November 11, 2018 - 10:10 PM

    Thanks so much for two back-to-back truly informative posts on lighting. Couple of quick questions…

    Do you recommend keeping all lamp shades the same color in an open floor plan?

    How high above a table can a chandelier be hung without looking terrible?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 11, 2018 - 10:44 PM

      Hi Susan,

      The lamp shades do not have to be all the same color, but I wouldn’t do clashing whites. In my living room, I have one white shade, two black shades and one floral shade and they all live quite harmoniously with each other. It’s a lot like mixing fabrics. And of course, you have to consider that too.

      I assume you’re talking about a dining table? The rule of thumb is that a chandelier over a dining table should be about 30″ above the table. However, if the ceiling is super high, it can be a little higher. And some chandeliers look better a little closer to the table. It depends on the shape and scale. Generally, I have the electrician hold it up and when it looks right to me, I say “there.” hahaReplyCancel

  • JoAnn Rusk - November 11, 2018 - 1:11 PM

    Great post as usual, Laurel! I’ve found some of my best lamps at consignment shops recognizing I may have to buy new shades at a cost much greater than the lamps. The correct size harp, maybe adding spacers, and a fabulous shade and finial can make a lamp. I did nine last year. I also experiment to find the best height before I go shopping.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 11, 2018 - 9:03 PM

      Hi JoAnn,

      And that reminds me that of course, if one has the lamp base, they can experiment at home with lamp shades and harps from other complete lamps to get a good idea of what size/shape will look best.ReplyCancel

  • laur - November 11, 2018 - 1:01 PM

    https://www.lampsplus.com/products/camden-blue-and-white-stripe-19-inch-ceramic-table-lamp-set-of-2__1m149.html

    DAMN!!! bought these before reading your article. Now looks like i need to find a scarf fore the neck LOL!!!!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 11, 2018 - 9:01 PM

      hahaha! Actually, from this view, the shade looks to be too large and the harp, also too large. But… it might be fine when you get them. Sometimes photos are deceiving.ReplyCancel

  • sc - November 11, 2018 - 12:49 PM

    LAMPSHADES:

    Wayfair and Amazon are great – esp if you have prime and free shipping – order a couple sizes and test out. Then send back the loser.

    Cheap lamps are everywhere. Ebay too.

    Another great shade source: Cruel Mountain on Etsy/ Chairish – gorgeous custom English style fabric shades – not cheap – but not even close to the Penny Morrison price. But same look.

    Often high end decorating is the result of planning and patience more than money.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 11, 2018 - 8:58 PM

      Hi Shauna,

      Thanks, all true. I know that I’ve linked to Cruel Mountain here in some form or other. They are marked as a favorite shop. Thanks for the reminder.ReplyCancel

  • Susanamantha - November 11, 2018 - 12:10 PM

    Hi, Laurel. First of all, thanks for all you do for us out here in the wilderness of decorating. You’re amazing.

    About these blue and white lamps that I’ve always loved, along with the other blue and white ceramic/porcelain chinaware I’ve loved. In fact, I have a few assorted pieces, plates and bowls tucked away. I’d love to use them. Here’s the deal – our livingroom has a red/goldie upholstery, which I love. Chairs are tan, carpet – goldie beige. Can you see why I’m nervous about the blue and white? There is no white in the room, no blue. Can I use the lamps anyway? I have lots of oriental accessories scattered around, paintings, doo-dads, etc. Don’t want to screw up the works.

    Thanks, SusanamanthaReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 11, 2018 - 8:52 PM

      Hi Susan,

      I wrote this post for YOU – But 17 months ago. haha.

      My Room Isn’t Blue, Can I Still Do Blue & White Chinoiserie?

      And the short answer is: YES, YOU CAN! ABSOLUTELY!ReplyCancel

      • Susanamantha - November 26, 2018 - 1:34 PM

        Wow! You did do a post just for me! What foresight! I did it. I bought two of the blue/white lamps for my sofa table, dug out my few oriental blue/white porcelain bowls, plates, etc., and, after removing about a third of the books in the book shelf, styled them in a new, brighter way. Just ordered some pillows, moved in some paintings from another room that had blue thingies in them, and the room is transformed. Presto! Very little expense. I have 2 chairs to recover/replace and I’m excited about searching for the perfect fabric. Thanks for the reassurance I needed.ReplyCancel

  • Susan C Davis - November 11, 2018 - 11:53 AM

    Good morning Laurel! Thanks for the info in this post! I pinned the graphic for typical heights, using an English roll arm sofa, and noted your other advice. Very helpful! I happily inherited fabulous lighting from in-laws and relatives and you’re right: Harps, paint, finials and new lamp shades can refresh dated pieces wonderfully. Funny thing, I recently brought home a lamp which had been abandoned. I too almost left it behind but saw potential. A bit of paint and a new shade has made it a new favorite. Funny part? Except for the color, it is exactly one of lamps you found on Etsy! (Mid Century Reverse Painted Glass Table Lamps.) Mine is a beautiful blue and the paint is in pristine condition. Etsy price made my free lamp, priceless! Thanks for making my day 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Lisa from MT - November 11, 2018 - 11:51 AM

    Such a timely post Laurel! I’ve been lusting after the Horchow “Frozen Water” lamps for years and finally found them at half retail so snapped them up. I put them in my bedroom and the lamps are gorgeous but they’re HUGE! The scale is all wrong and I’ve sadly decided to return them since I can’t use them elsewhere. 🙁 This post doesn’t go into bedroom specifics about height and such but I know these beautiful lamps don’t work. Would you mind informing us the specifics for bedroom lamps (or direct me to the post where you discussed) so I get the right size next time?

    Much love and thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 11, 2018 - 8:47 PM

      Hi Lisa,

      I looked them up and those babies are 39″ tall. Of course, that includes the finial which is rather large, but it’s still a huge table lamp. Most of the time, people use smaller lamps in the bedroom, but that’s not an absolute. A lot of it is ceiling height and bed size. Frankly, no matter the situation, around 27″ high for a lamp is going to be a pretty safe bet. Or, let’s say 26″-30″ with the finial. And then having the shade down, where it should be. You will never see a Christopher Spitzmiller lamp with the neck showing.ReplyCancel

  • Jeannie scholl - November 11, 2018 - 11:16 AM

    I just ordered the green lamp. I will probably change the shade.

    I wonder if long stems appeal because it’s easier to reach the on/off switch, especially if the lamp is short with a widish base. I choose function over style every time and have raised lamps with books and decorative boxes. No problem with this green lamp as the on/off is on the cord.

    I enjoyed the chandelier post but my favorite is out of stock. I would love a post showing a chandelier similar to the one Bunny Williams used in your Dec 11, 2014 post. Not that I could afford it. 😩ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 11, 2018 - 8:40 PM

      Bunny’s chandelier is stunning. That looks to be quite a large dining room with a high ceiling. That always helps!ReplyCancel

  • Inna - November 11, 2018 - 10:45 AM

    Laurel, thank you for addressing lamps on the cheaper side, it can make a world of a difference for anyone unable to cough up $400 for a single lamp. I know it takes some serious work to find good looking items that aren’t terribly expensive, so these types of posts are worth their weight in gold! Thanks for making my Sunday!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 11, 2018 - 12:00 PM

      Thank you Inna! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post!ReplyCancel

  • Mary - November 11, 2018 - 10:03 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    I live in a fairly large town…population of 148,000 people. Can you believe we don’t have a lamp shade store? I have to drive 30 minutes to get to the nearest one. And the owner is thinking of retirement.
    I may not get a lot done today. I can see Etsy (being the rabbit hole that it is) taking up most of my time.
    Thanks for all the great advice. Enjoy your Sunday!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 11, 2018 - 11:59 AM

      You know, Mary, I almost put go to a lighting store (if you can find one). Seriously, I live in a densely populated suburb of New York City and I can only think of maybe two lighting stores. There may be more, but they are rare. There used to be a darling vintage-y antique store near where I used to live in Mount Kisco and she carried a number of lampshades. I’m pretty sure that I linked to my favorite source for ready-made lampshades (which is in Laurel’s Rolodex, of course), Oriental Lampshade in Manhattan. But they have an e-commerce site, so you can order online. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Teresa - November 11, 2018 - 9:40 AM

    Another great posting. You sure made that lamp look 100% better.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 11, 2018 - 11:38 AM

      Thank you Teresa, although I have to admit that the “crooked” lampshade bugs me a little. haha Oh well, nothing is ever perfect.ReplyCancel

  • Cathy - November 11, 2018 - 7:58 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    Another helpful post.It’s all about proportion and scale and sometimes we know something is ‘off’ but we’re not sure why. You’ve helped us understand. I wish we could get Rub ‘n Buff here in Canada, but, no, one can’t. It seems like such a simple thing so I don’t know why it’s not available to us. CathyReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 11, 2018 - 11:16 AM

      Hi Cathy,

      Thanks so much! Is it that they won’t ship the run ‘n buff to Canada or is it something else?ReplyCancel

  • Michele Stuurman - November 11, 2018 - 7:41 AM

    Good morning from Norway, Laurel! Thanks for your timely (as ever!) post about lamps. I just bought a pair of large delft blue lamps from the norwegian equivalent of Craig’s List. Very happy to see that they comply with the standards you outline here :).

    They are quite large and have white shades. The thing that puzzles me is that there is a kind of ‘lid’ for the shades, to put on top of the shade (in the same material as the shade). I assume that it is meant so you cannot see the inner workings of the lamp if you would put it on a lower table? Are there rules for that, too?! I did not know lamps had to be dressed appropriately on top ;)…ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 11, 2018 - 11:15 AM

      Hi Michele,

      I’m presuming that there’s a hole in the lid for the heat to escape? I don’t recall seeing anything like that before. Anyone else who sees Michele’s comment and has info is welcome to chime in.ReplyCancel

      • Michele - November 19, 2018 - 9:09 AM

        The shades have a little ‘rack’ on which the ‘lids’ are resting, so there is about an inch or more airing space all around the lids. Most likely to let the heat escape, as you say. Since it’s such an elaborate construction, I assume it’s original to the lamps. The downside is that the lids, of course, will get dusty/dingy after a while. Most likely I could clean that off with a soft little clean brush…. but life’s too short! 🙂 So off with the lids.ReplyCancel

  • Parnassus - November 11, 2018 - 5:07 AM

    Hello Laurel, What–no lady leg lamps? Is this one of those elitist blogs? And although you explained the granny term, I want you to know that my grandmothers had wonderful taste, and that you would love their lamps that my mother now has as heirlooms.

    For slow accumulators, sometimes beautiful or antique finials can be picked up inexpensively and saved for the right lamp. Also, the most horrifying of $1 lamps (especially if pretty new) can be cannibalized for their cords, sockets, switches, harps, finials, etc. Although it is no longer the fashion to drill antiques to make into lamps (I hope!), some vases, etc. are found in this state, and to rebuild into a lamp is not that expensive.

    Thanks for these tips which will keep me from making many faux-pas with my bargain lamps.
    –JimReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 11, 2018 - 11:11 AM

      Hi Jim,

      Great idea to cannibalize a cheap lamp for its useful parts. And, of course, being a woman of a what do they say? “of a certain age?” lol, meaning easily old enough to be a granny, “granny decor” is not something I would ever embrace, either.ReplyCancel

  • Runningonempty - November 11, 2018 - 2:48 AM
    • Laurel Bern - November 11, 2018 - 11:06 AM

      Oh Cath,

      Aren’t you a doll! That sure takes me back!ReplyCancel

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