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

    The navy looks great! It ties in so well in the room, especially with the wall art! I was totally on team chevron to win but I guess that’s why I’m not in the designing world :)

  2. says

    I was on team navy! love it, and I can’t stop staring at the ceiling fan in my office right….. it’s getting all nervous because it knows whats about to happen ;) Is it too difficult to change out the lighting kit? I would love the light of the exposed bulbs in here! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • says

      If you check out google or even youtube there are some great tutorials for switching a fan for a light. It’s not too hard (takes longer than switching a light for a light, just because removing a fan can take more effort) but it’s totally doable!


  3. Kellee says

    Perfect choice going with the navy!

    I just purchased one of your light fixtures this week and cannot wait for it to show up :)

  4. Maureen says

    Love it! It really does tie everything together. I am excited to see what else you have planned for her walls. Question – do you like to put something on every blank wall? I am struggling with this, not knowing if blank walls should be left blank or if they should generally have something on them.

    • says

      We generally like to leave breathing space in a room, but most expanses of wall that are around 3-4′ wide (or wider) end up with something on them, just because we love art and meaningful photos so much!


  5. Nikki B says

    First let me say that John looks uber tall in those pictures.

    Second, are these shades the same kind that you could put on a lamp or is there a different type for hanging from the ceiling? We just bought a house and adding pendant shades to our boys rooms could be a fun way to add more charm.

    • says

      They’re shades that could go on a floor lamp, table lamp, or hang from a pendant. Just look at the hardware inside of them and your light kit to make sure they’re compatible and you’re all set!


  6. Debbie C says

    Let’s not forget the show “The Job”. Could they BE more redundant with these titles? By the way, I like the navy the best too! If you really wanted pattern later, I’m sure you could add some with a stencil, or metallic sharpie, etc.

  7. Brenda says

    I like the navy shade. I think it helps to balance the room since you have a lot of color in the carpet. Now you have something substantial but not in the way up high. I almost wish that Clara wasn’t already playing in there so we could see a big surprise reveal when it’s done, but it’s probably more fun to see what she picks out as you move the room towards being done.

  8. Desiree C. says

    You’re right, that shade definitely doesn’t have a parrot or white fuzzy (evil-looking, mind you) cat perched on a man in silk pajamas and sunglasses with the tiniest of grown-man hands. I like the jeans and t-shirt shade–great choice!

    ps: I know it’s been about three months, but I can’t stop thinking about how HORRIBLY I embarrassed myself when I met you two in Minneapolis. I said, “I’m enchilada!” Those two words were the first two words I spoke and I am so sorry for that. …I’m still speechless and mortified and I hope you two don’t think I’m weird. I’m just awkward…but not awful and germy (Have you ever seen any of the Bad Lip Reading videos? They’re incredible…this is where “awful, awkward, and germy” came from [you might not want to watch it around Clara]:, I promise. :)

    • says

      Hahahaha, you’re hilarious and we loved meeting you! You didn’t embarrass yourself at all, you made us smile. And we were so nervous (first signing!) so we were so grateful! As for bad lip reading videos? HILARIOUS!


  9. bridget says

    did you have paint or touch upthe ceiling after you removed the fan? we have been dealing with problems in our kitchen once we removed the sofits took five coats of paint for the discoloration but it is still a little off. we have a ton of fans and I am nervous about the underneath of them. you make it look so easy :-)

  10. Tracy D. says

    This is probably a silly question but do you put anything on the bottom of the shade or do you just see the lightbulbs when you look up in it?

    • says

      You just see the bulbs so we try not to stare right into it (like the sun, haha!). We have exposed bulbs all over our house (in the glass pendants in the kitchen, in the laundry room with the clothespin chandelier, in the dining room with our wire lantern) so we don’t seem to mind them :)


  11. Sarah says

    I love it!! I was Team Navy from the first picture. It ties in with the curtains really well, and definitely takes a step away from being a pink overload.

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