Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pleats Please

Boy, are there a lot of bad lampshades in this world. The problem is not so much the shapes (although there are a few shapes that I'm really sick of seeing), but rather the fabric. When you go to a shade shop, don't you feel as though you're swimming in a sea of cheap beige silk that is as dull as dishwater? Yes, I too shudder at the thought.

I suppose that the answer is custom shades, because so much of what I see in magazines is not in any store that I frequent. Thank goodness for black shades because you can buy those off the shelf, though the issue there is that they don't let a lot of light through. I'm liking the red and green silk pleated numbers that Miles Redd has been adding to lamps, sconces, and chandeliers, but again, they're not really easy to find.

The shades that have really caught my eye lately are most definitely custom ones. What I would love to have on my bedroom's swing arm lamps are pleated shades made from a patterned fabric. The shade that really triggered this idea was one that I saw in a booth at BRAFA back in January. It was made from an ethnic print fabric, and it looked really lovely with the light coming through the fabric. And I'm really taken with the pleated checked fabric shades in Tory Burch's Hamptons home. Oh, what about Robert Kime's pleated shades? (Check out the one in the top photo.) So much inspiration. Now I just need to figure out which fabric to choose!

The shade at BRAFA that started it all...

A softer, more feminine print for Tory Burch's pleated shades.

Robert Kime recently auctioned off part of his antiques collection, including these lamps fitted with Kime-designed custom shades.

More bespoke shades by Kime, this time using his prints Pea Pods White on Blue, Field Poppy, and Tian Ikat.

Miles Redd chose subtle stripes for the swing arm lamp and chandelier shades in the master bedroom of Glen and Danielle Rollins.

(Top photo from House & Garden, Oct 2010, Rachel Whiting photographer; BRAFA photo by Jennifer Boles. Tory Burch photo from Town & Country; 4th photo from House & Garden, Nov 2010; Kime shades courtesy of robertkime.com; Rollins shot from Town & Country, August 2010; Francesco Lagnese photographer.)


  1. I really like black shades. Oddly, some places I've gone in search of them people look at me like this is a crazy wierd choice. I think its a classic.

  2. I, too, like black shades, especially with gold, brass or tortoiseshell on the inside. Love golden pools of light. And, yes, agree that red ones are yummy but very hard to find.

  3. Yes, someone could make a fortune going into mass retail with attractive and affordable shades. It can't be that difficult, could it? Love these examples.
    I have to admit i'm a fan of very low light and many sources, so typically a black shade is my favorite - but i'm currently helping a friend redo his place and I really wanted to find some red silk shades for some existing lamps he had. IMPOSSIBLE to find!

  4. Those Robert Kime lamps/shades are to die for. I want them all! I love the striped, Miles Redd shades on the swing arm lamps as well. Yes, I agree...very difficult to find decent shades.


  5. I agree shades are one of the most difficult items to either find or design. I definitely think that when the lamp base is unique and outstanding, the shade should be kept minimal, but still appropriate and gorgeous--a hard task.

  6. You're so right - lamp shades are definitely an issue!! I love black shades and have some with gold inside but as you say, they don't let in much light. What I really wanted to tell you is that I have beautiful pleated shades in the Bennison Dragon Flower that match my 2 large matching George Sherlock chairs - they are over 10 years old and still look great!!

  7. Lampshades are the perfect shoes and bag that pull the outfit together. You pay up, but in the end they last longer than the little black dress.

  8. love that miles bedroom (of course!)

    not sure what i think - kind of like if you wore a mini skirt before, you're too old now to wear one. but they do look fresh in checks and kime. ha!!! love those!

  9. There are artisans on etsy who will make custom lampshades for you.