Common Myths About Shading a Lamp

MYTH 1: You have to get the same lampshade you had before.

This actually isn’t true. Lampshades are like clothing: they are subject to style changes. Most lamps aren’t going to assert themselves to the extent of saying “I MUST HAVE A 16-INCH BELL SHADE.” They will give us some shape, size, and color restrictions, but beyond that you work them into your space and your style. This is where we come in; we know this stuff and we’re here to help.

MYTH 2: The height is the most important measurement.

Nope. In fact, it might be the least important. The biggest size factor that affects the way that a lampshade balances against your lamp is the width (top and bottom) and where the lampshade falls on your lamp. This is controlled with the harp height (yep, they come in different heights) and various adapters, depending on the type of lamp you have. We’ll show you when you come in.

MYTH 3: Your lamp isn’t worth it.

We assure you, it is. At Calloway’s, we don’t discriminate based on age or monetary value. If it means something to you, it means something to us. We often hear that a lamp was inherited or picked up at a garage sale, suggesting that it doesn’t have much value. But value isn’t about money, it’s about character and function. As we mentioned, our lampshades range in price and we will help you find one that does justice to your lamp and fits within your budget.

MYTH 4: You have to undergo the selection process on your own.

We pride ourselves on our knowledge of lampshades and lampshade fitting. Remember, we’ve been in business since 1946 and, at the risk of sounding arrogant, we are darn good at shading lamps. Ask our regular customers and the numerous designers and decorators we work with who bring or send their clients to us. You are not expected to know where the lampshade should fall or what shape suits the lamp. Those are things we want to help you with because otherwise, what would we do with our time? We’re not allowed to play solitaire at work.

MYTH 5: You should come in without your lamp.

Au contraire! The ONLY way to get the perfect shade is to bring your lamp into the store. We have tables set up where we can plug it in and play. We know some lamps are heavy, awkward, or fragile, but we promise it is worth the trouble. And if you can get it in your car, we are happy to help you bring it into the store. You will miss much of the fun of lampshade shopping if you leave your lamp at home.

We won’t turn you away if you show up without your lamp. We’re not that strict! You might just love your old shade and want one as close as you can get to it. Also, if you are shading a chandelier or sconce, or the lamp lives in another city, we understand that it might be beyond your capabilities to bring it in. If you come to Calloway’s without your lamp, we recommend doing whatever you can to give us an idea of what the lamp looks like, such as:

  • photographing the lamp
  • bringing in the old lampshade (if there is one)
  • taking measurements of the lamp from base to the bottom of the socket and width at its widest point (or, for a chandelier, confirming the maximum diameter the bottom of the lampshade can be and still clear any bend in the arm and shades on other arms)

*By the way, you might worry you are committing yourself to buying a lampshade by bringing a lamp in, but really you aren’t. We are happy to try shades on even if you need to go home and think about it.*