Choosing The Right Lamp Shade Pendant

I kinda want to jump on The Voice bandwagon. Not in the sense that I want my shot at getting Adam Levine to turn his chair for me – at which point I would look him dead in the eye and say “keep your hands off my woman, Levine!” (it never hurts to lay clear boundaries with a guy like him). I want to jump on the bandwagon in the sense that The Choice (spinny chairs meets dating), The Taste (cooking) and The Face (modeling) have.

Only my spin-off would be called The Shade and it would be a competition to find “the next great light for Clara’s big girl room.” And no one would watch it.

We knew we wanted to swap out the wood-tastic ceiling fan for something more Clara-friendly (we’ve used a table fan in her room for nearly three years and have never needed an overhead fan). We came to the idea of doing a shade pendant after realizing that it would give us lots of options (texture, color, etc) while not hanging too low (a chandelier would probably get in the way) but still illuminating the room nicely.

First we debated choosing one of ours, but since most of those are pretty patterned (and we already have lots of pattern going on in Clara’s room) we decided to check out a few other favorite sources, like craigslist and a local shop where we’ve found a bunch of other lights we love on a budget (aka The Decorating Outlet here in Richmond). Craigslist had nada, but our local Decorating Outlet had a lot. Not only did we find one shade that we liked there, we found four options – all within the $35-40 range.

Here was the line up of what we found:

  1. Team Navy: A solid deep blue (to tie in with her curtains) with no pattern at all
  2. Team Purple Damask: A very subtle pattern in a purple tone that works nicely between the blues and reds in the room
  3. Team Neutral: A natural burlap-ish shade that could bring a nice organic texture into the space
  4. Team Chevron: Think of him as the contestant who’s not afraid to take risks – this one has a trendy, bold pattern in a navy and white color scheme

The Decorating Outlet gives you one business day to make returns, so we rushed home for the audition portion of our show. This meant I just held up each shade over the existing fan light (which isn’t as bright as a hanging pendant would be, but helps us imagine how each one would look). Let’s check them out in reverse order…

Team Chevron was pretty cool on its own, but our fears that bringing one more bold pattern into the room were confirmed. It probably could’ve worked, but it made us fearful of other patterns and prints that we might have to nix down the line (remember we still have big plans for the blank span of wall between those two windows, and we don’t want the shade to compete). So then it was on to Team Neutral…

This one probably could have worked too, but in person it felt too, well, neutral. So without much hesitation, we invited Team Purple to the stage.

This picture isn’t the best representation of it because it actually looked quite nice with the lights off. But when the light came on, the purple tone and damask pattern got kind of lost and it actually looked a lot like Team Neutral. Too bad. I really wanted to like it.

And then there was one remaining contestant…

Even though Team Navy felt like the “safest” of the picks, it was our instinct all along. And although it looks a little dark, remember that our light kit will put off a lot more wattage than the old fan light does in this picture. Knowing our future plans for adding in other art and accents to the wall between the windows, we just felt that a shade without pattern was the right way to go. And even though it doesn’t looks especially exciting in the picture above, in person it was a pretty obvious winner. So we were both convinced within a matter of minutes that it was the choice – er, the voice – er, the shade.

With the auditions over, we moved on to the battle round (i.e. where I wrestle with the heavy fan to remove it from the ceiling). Luckily I emerged victorious.

The added bonus to picking the navy shade is that it was also the cheapest of the bunch – just $34. And to further save on the cost of this project, The Decorating Outlet sells their “damaged” pendant hardware (for hanging the shade) at half price. The only “damage” to the one we bought is that the light kit had already been cut (so it wouldn’t work in a room with a high ceiling) but since it was still longer than we’d need for Clara’s room (we actually snipped it a bit shorter) we were more than happy to snatch it up for $25.

And since The Voice always loses me during the live rounds anyways, let’s skip our show ahead to the finale. Now’s where you picture The Voice theme song: “This is The Shade!”

For a total of $60 (the light kit came with the canopy too) we’re really happy with our two-light pendant. I personally love that the dark navy color helps balance out all the pink in the room so it feels calming and not too Crazy-Pink-Palace. Plus, it subtly complements the other blue items in the room nicely without demanding too much attention. In other words, it’s more like Adam or Blake in jeans and a t-shirt (Cee-Lo it most definitely is not).

Of course all that really matters is that Clara likes it, so let’s get to her reaction to our winner, which was: “Is that mine? Can I touch it? Is that mine for my big girl room? I think it’s shiny and pretty like a pebble.”

We ended up putting two 75-watt CFL bulbs in there, which also means that (despite the dark shade) the room is still plenty bright. So Clara will have no problem hosting late night tea parties or stuffed animal sleepovers. Whew. So whaddya think? Does my concept for The Shade have legs? No? Didn’t think so. I guess it and The Choice (which I think already got cancelled) will just be forgotten together…

Psst- Sherry’s having some fun with East Coast Creative by volunteering as one of their bloggy helpers (that’s a technical term by the way). So if you’re a blogger and would like to get paired up with $herdog for their little Creating With The Stars competition, you can enter your best project here for a chance to be one of their 12 final contestants.


  1. says

    Love it! Y’all have really helped me get over my fear of buying several items to test and returning the rest. I’m always afraid I’ll forget to return them or lose the receipt. At first, I liked the chevron shade best, but next to the navy, there’s no comparison. Looks like getting the mix from the get-go is the best option. Schooled once more by YHL :)

  2. Lindsay says

    I know you guys have said you’re “fans of fans,” but do you think a ceiling fan can ever work in a room aesthetically? I live in Southern California where days top 100 degrees for months on end, and I’m so scared to get rid of mine. But I love the look of something more exciting!

    Clara’s light looks great, by the way! Definitely the right choice!

    • says

      Oh yes, we love ours in a sunroom (we had one in our first house’s sunroom and in our current one). The old sunroom had an oil rubbed bronze one that was nice and the current house has a white one that blends right in! Hope it helps!


    • says

      Modern Fan Company’s Cirrus model is a really great choice. We have them in every bedroom, and they just kind of disappear because they are so simple.

      I can’t imagine not having a ceiling fan – it really cuts down on our use of air conditioning in the summer and makes the room feel better. We have super high ceilings, so we reverse the blades and run them on low in the winter and it circulates the warm air that wants to hang out by the ceiling.

  3. Brandy says

    Clearly, the navy was the winner….love that choice! And I’m glad you didn’t feel pressured into pattern and even though it’s “safe” it looks great. Everything in a room doesn’t have to command attention. Can’t wait to see what Sherry has up her sleeve for those walls!

  4. Heather says

    Love the shade choice!

    On another topic, I just moved to the DC area and I cannot find any good thrift/consignment stores through my google searches. Are there any websites that you would recommend for finding a place to find a great deal this isn’t super shady?

    Thanks a bunch!

    • Lindsay M says

      There are three restores in the NoVA area, and quite a few thrift and model home furniture stores that I love <3 honestly, I'm not much help aside from that; I don't know the names, only how to get to them. Ask around, neighbors, consignment shops, random people on the street ;-) good luck and happy thrifting!!!

    • Courtney says

      Not sure where you live in DC but Del Ray (in Alexandria) has two great consignment stores right next to each other that I used to frequent. They are right on Mt. Vernon Ave which is the main strip in Del Ray. I know one is called Not Too Shabby Consignments.

  5. Bethany says

    Nice! Have you guys already done a step-by-step tutorial on how to remove a ceiling fan and hook up a light like this one? We have some old ceiling fans that are begging to turn into nice shades and I was wondering if we’ll need a special kit since it’s a ceiling fan hookup and not a regular light.


  6. Alice says

    I had a different pick when the four shades were sitting on the bed, but once you held them up to the light … the navy was an easy choice!

  7. says

    Though I do love the look of having just a light fixture, we are an overhead fan family. I like table fans, but they take up, well…table space, which is already limited for us. (We actually have an overhead fan in our bedroom PLUS a tiny table fan that my husband has blowing right on him.) I’d love to see some designs with ceiling fans worked in in a modern way, but MAN they are hard to come by.

    But I love the room :)

    • says

      We have ceiling fans in our sunroom (both in this house and our last house) along with a ceiling fan in the den of our last house too! You can see all three of those rooms with fans on our House Tour page! Hope it helps :)


  8. Lisa E says

    That was my choice, too, as soon as I saw all four choices sitting there together. Since you are so good about using what you already have, I honestly thought you would either take the fan down and paint it say… hardware white and blades navy, or use that light fixture you took down by the fireplace, the white drum from Ikea. Regardless, it looks very pretty. Great choice. The whole room is really looking really pretty.

  9. Rebecca S says

    I hate to say it but this is the first room of yours that I have just really, strongly not liked the choices. Each item individually is fine, but honestly they really clash together. I like the shade just fine, but the bedding and curtains together are just not my thing. I was really excited to see what you in this room, but I am just not feeling it. I would have loved to see a bright cheerful room for a little girl.

    • says

      No worries Rebecca! I definitely think everyone has a different idea of what they love (100 people would decorate their kids room 100 different ways)! As for a bright and cheerful room, we can’t stare at the happy chevron blanket or the curtains & the polka dotted rug or even the flash card wall above the dresser and the art collage in the corner without thinking “bright and cheerful” – so it’s definitely a personal preference thing :)


    • says

      Oh yes, I’m sure many people like this room and many don’t! After sharing 2,500 posts, we’ve learned it’s definitely how it goes! We just share what we love in our house, but we definitely recognize that everyone out there wouldn’t do exactly the same thing – and some folks would do everything differently :)


    • says

      Don’t forget guys: “the middle is always crazy”! I agree that it looks cheerful, which is fitting because it’s a kid’s room. Happy colours are best! I can’t wait to see how the surprise wall art project turns out, Sherry.

    • Laura C says

      I don’t get it. Why do people care so much whether this room suits their taste? This room is for Clara. If she likes it…awesome! If others don’t like it, they just shouldn’t go to any of her tea parties. Yeesh. I guess you have to have a thick skin to blog.

    • says

      I think this is my favorite room in your entire house! I have known about your blog for a couple years, but only recently have started to read daily. I think mostly because I love what you are doing in Clara’s room!

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