Printed, pleated, ruffled or trimmed, statement lampshades have long been decorators’ trusty ace in the hole. With maximalism still on the up and up, the hour is feeling especially right for statement shades in all colors, prints, and shapes. Curious how to style these chic little toppers in your own home? We’ve rounded up six smashing ways to try out a statement shade in any room.


Ashley Whittaker yellow tassel tablecloth floral wallpaper spoon chair turquoise ceramic garden stool
Photo by Darien Read McKendree

Try a Tiny Pattern

There’s something special that happens when a fabric with a diminutive print is applied to a pleated lampshade. The subtle ribbing lends the tiny pattern optical gravitas, making for a shade that packs more visual power than might otherwise be expected. Pop these dainty patterned shades onto a lamp base that might seem counterintuitive, like a colossal column or gorgeous gourd lamp in a dark, glossy hue. These mighty little shades hold their own. There’s also no rule against pairing up one of these prints charmers with an equally precious base, especially if your lamp will be living somewhere like a playroom or nursery.

summer thornton breakfast nook with turquoise banquet and chinoiserie inspired wallpaperp
Photo by by Nick Johnson

Crush It With Color

A lampshade doesn’t need to be made of a fancy fabric in order to qualify as a statement shade. All it needs is a jolt of super fantastico color. If you’re a tad color shy, consider sconce shades. Smaller than table lamps, sconces offer up the perfect opportunity to get a little kooky with shade color. On the other hand, if you’re feeling color-confident, applying vibrant, contrasting-colored shades to a series of sconces around a room can really knock the top off things.

Design by Madcap Cottage

Trim Things Up

Be it tassels, pom poms, or fringe, trotting out trim on a shade is the perfect way to up any room’s maximalism quota. When indulging in a bit of trim, go ahead and embrace the frou frou. Trim looks most at home when paired up with shades that pack a bit of fuss (think pleats, pin tucks–the works). The same goes for your lamp base. Pair up a classic blue and white ginger jar base or colorful painted chinoiserie urn with a trimmed shade and you’re off to see the wizard.

Photo by Josh Thornton

Take a Chameleon Approach

Think statement shades are just for the exhibitionists among us? Think again! When covered in a material or color that’s similar to your walls, statement shades become less showy, and instead assume a bespoke chic factor. Bookmark this technique if you’re a tried and true modernist who wants to dabble in the current neo-traditionalism trend. Outfitted in a shade that’s in a similar color or pattern to your walls, even good old fashioned swing arm sconces look fresh.

Photo by Hector Sanchez

Pair Pattern with Pattern

Do away with notions that a statement shade means a party on top and business on the bottom. Instead, try partnering up an equally raucous shade and lamp base. Need a few pointers to help pull the look off without a hitch? Opt for a shade and base that have complementary colors–if not shared colors–and patterns with similar movement. There’s also something to be said for backing your wall in a contrasting hue that plays nice with colors that are present in both your shade and lamp base.

Photo by Francesco Lagnese / OTTO

Color Block It

You don’t always have to rely on your statement lampshade to do all the heavy lifting. Case in point: the blockbuster combo that is simply perching a brightly colored shade atop a different colored lamp base. Although simple, a color blocked lamp attracts those eyeballs like whoa. It also manages to feel equal parts sophisticated and funky, which is what it’s really all about. If you do feel like adding a little more va-va-voom, opt for a shade with itty bitty details like a bit of pin-tucking or a snippet of trim–details that won’t overpower the color blocking effect.

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January 6, 2020

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