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How to get Light Right
How to get Light Right
12th October 2021

Lighting a room is easy right? And best achieved with a liberal sprinkling of spotlights or a good ceiling light? Wrong! There’s so much more to good lighting and once you’ve seen the difference between a well lit and a badly lit room, you’ll never want a spotlight to darken your door (or illuminate it...) again. 

Read on for Birdie’s ultimate guide to getting lighting right in any room. 


We use most rooms in our homes at different times of day, in all seasons and for lots of different purposes. Even a room that seems fairly single-purpose needs different types of light. Take a bedroom for example: it needs soft light for bedtime, task lighting for reading and probably options for dimmed/full light too. 

These different light layers can be achieved using light from different sources. In the bedroom example you might opt for ambient wall lightsbedside lamps and perhaps wall mounted task lights for comfortable reading. 


Leaving plug socket and light switch positioning as a last minute decision is never a good idea! Getting these simple things wrong can be annoying for years to come and often isn’t that easy to fix. If in doubt go for more sockets rather than less and think about whether you want your table lamps hardwired or not. Lastly banish traditional switches and get on board with dimmers! They make even the simplest lighting so much more versatile and you won’t know how you managed without them. 


Any kind of ceiling light that’s too small will look unbalanced so make sure you measure carefully before ordering. If you’re looking for a pendant shade, then think about whether you will be able to look up into it or not. If so, opt for one that has a cover over the base - there’s nothing less appealing than having to stare at bare bulbs. Our Pent Raffia Pendant Shade have been designed specifically to avoid this problem and will hang just about anywhere, casting a useful yet softened light.

Statement pendant lights can look so stylish in dramatic spaces like hallways and stairwells. If in doubt go bigger and don’t forget to consider the flex and hanging chain if there will be a lot of it on display. Our statement Rattan Pendant Shade is perfect for adding texture and visual impact to any interior. Generous in size, the pendant shade can be styled individually or also work very well when styled in pairs down the centre of a dining table or kitchen island.

4. Wall lights are your new best friends 

Some people think wall lights are a bit old-school but they’re so useful and can look timeless. There are now lots of options available to suit all budgets for awkward rooms like bathrooms and kitchens too, so there’s no excuse! One of the easiest styles to use is a single or double lamp with a shade (or shades). Go for clean lines in brass or painted metal and remember that you can always change the shades for a totally different look. This versatility is great if you like to update your scheme fairly regularly or swap things around for the different seasons. 

We have a range of candle lampshades with standard bulb clip fixings to suit all sorts of interiors. The Seema Raffia Candle Shades are perfect for adding texture to an interior, while the colourful binding provides the perfect pop of colour to a kitchen or sitting room. If you're style is more 'patterned up', our new block printed Finestra Candle Shades add a playful finish to any scheme and work well alongside other Florentine prints for an eclectic look.

5. Which table lamp? 

This is one area where you can get creative as lots of lamp bases are truly multi functional and will work in all sorts of different rooms. Most of our lamps are designed to be versatile and are made with proportions to suit a variety of different rooms and requirements. A favourite of ours is the charming Twisted Wooden Lamp - its easy to style with either a plain or printed lampshade and lends itself to any interior style. 

If you’ve got a space where a pair of lamps would work well then go for it. It’s such a chic look that easily elevates the styling in a room and helps to provide a focal point that balances the space. We’re huge fans of console tables behind sofas which are the perfect place for a pair of lamps. Equally a pair of cabinets or a long sideboard could also work well. 

5. The table lamp/shade size conundrum 

One of the interior questions we get asked most is how to choose the right size and shape of lampshade for a table lamp - with good reason as getting it wrong can look really really wrong! If you’re buying your lamp base and shade from two different places then make sure you take the following into account: 

- What framework the lampshade has?

- Whether it has an integrated holder or needs a shade carrier?

- What size neck the bulb holder on the lamp has(for shade compatibility)?

-The precise dimensions of the lamp base and shade 

Once you’ve got this info you’ll also need to bear in mind where you’re planning on placing the lamp. Will it be on a tall piece of furniture, on a low table or at a bedside? Placement can affect the size of shade carrier you choose, as it may be that you’ll need the shade to sit a bit higher or lower than standard. 

The most common mistake with lampshades is using one that’s too small. This results in an awkward overall look that changes the proportions of the base. If there isn’t a guide to shade/ base sizing then go bigger rather than smaller and make sure that the shade has enough depth so that the lamp doesn’t end up looking squat. We specify a shade size for all of our table lamps to make the decision making process as pain free as possible!