How do I Choose the Best Chandelier Shades?

Tara Barnett

Changing chandelier shades is a wonderful way to update chandeliers. New shades are typically less expensive than a complete lighting change and are generally designed to be interchangeable. It is still important to ensure that the new shade will fit the old fixture, but switching between shades that are approximately the same size and that attach to the chandelier itself in the same way is rarely a problem. Chandelier shades come in all different shapes and sizes, and choosing the best ones will largely depend on the decor in the room. Even so, there are several basic design tips to keep in mind when choosing new chandelier shades.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

One feature to keep in mind is the desired opacity of the shade. Some chandelier shades are entirely opaque and therefore only shine light on the floor rather than providing a glow from the sides of the shade. Other chandelier shades are more or less transparent, although they may be tinted with a color. There are a variety of designs between these two extremes that may provide both filtered and direct light, as well as designs that shine light through holes in the shade itself to produce designs. A chandelier is decorative, but it is also a lighting appliance, so this is an important feature.

Another thing to keep in mind when choosing chandelier shades is how the shade will look with the room's other decor. The color of the shade is important, but details such as images on the shade, decorative beading, and even the shape of the shade are important as well. It is often possible to find a shade that fits not only the room's color scheme, but also its thematic elements.

One way to make a chandelier look more luxurious is to choose a beaded chandelier shade that includes hanging crystals. The chandelier will then resemble a more traditional shade. Beaded shades can give the appearance of intricate hanging structures without any of the heavy hardware involved in traditional chandeliers.

A stained glass shade is also a popular option because this type of shade can be used to create a lighted picture in the room. This kind of shade can truly be a centerpiece in a room and may depict any scene. The main problem with glass shades is that they are heavy and must sometimes be attached with additional chains.

Almost any chandelier shade that fits the fixtures available can be made into an appropriate shade for a room. Whether or not the shade fits in the design scheme is largely a matter of personal preference. A good way to go about choosing the best chandelier shades is to do thorough research on what shades are available. That way, one has a decent idea of what designs one likes and how much to expect to pay for a desirable design.

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