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Home Improvement: Classic vs. Ornamental Glass Lamp Shades

Can you believe that the first-ever lamp was invented more than 70 thousand years ago? Consisting of a hollowed-out rock and filled with grease-dipped moss which was then ignited, these lamps provided much-needed light to our ancestors long before the lightbulb was invented. Creative, isn’t it?

Creativity seems to be something that runs in our blood because since then, only one thing has remained unchanged – our need for artificial light once the natural one dies out for the day. Everything else, however, has evolved and improved.

Instead of using hollowed-out rocks, today we have sophisticated and well-designed lamps that allow for a beautiful flow of light within any home with absolute ease. Being a perfect light source, modern lamps are great for use in bedrooms and living rooms once the sun goes down, setting the scene for a warm and homely atmosphere.

When it comes to modern lamps, they usually consist of two parts – the body and the shade. The body is what houses the electrical knick-knacks that make the lamp work, but the shade is what gives the lamp its aesthetic appeal.

Let There Be Light: A Brief History of Lamp Shades


Source: Traditional Building Magazine

The year was 1879 and people had an issue. The light from the newly discovered electrical lightbulb was too strong and was getting in the way more than it was being useful, so someone had to come up with a solution. Before the electrical lightbulb we know and love today stepped on the stage that same year, people used oil lamps. These, too, were casting a strong light that many found to be quite disturbing. So, to dull down the glare but not lose any of the luminosity, glass lampshades started being used.

They were perfect because they wouldn’t catch on fire, but still giving a much-needed limit to the light’s intensity, glass lamp shades were a perfect solution to this common problem, with the added extra – detail and intricacy. Transforming the regular lamps into something special, they remained a widely used product even when a fire hazard stopped being an issue and are still being used today.

Through the years, however, they have evolved and gotten a few twists from manufacturers, so now we have a wide selection of glass light shades to choose from. No matter if you’re looking for a lamp with a glass shade or you want to buy replacement glass light shades to switch your cloth ones, we need to talk style.

Classic vs. Ornamental Glass Light Shades

The most popular styles of glass light shades are the classic, elegant ones and the ornamental, detailed ones. Each with its own beauty and special aspects, these two types are the easiest ones to incorporate within any home, depending on the style of your home decor.

Since I am all about unity and flow when it comes to design, I want to help you decide whether detailed, classic lamps or replacement glass light shades are the best option for your home.

Classic Glass Light Shades

classic glass shades

Source: Tudo And Co

Perfect for homes following the minimalistic, Scandi, elegant, and all other home decor styles that have to deal with clean lines, bright shades, and sleek design, classic glass light shades provide that much needed subdued light while still presenting a timeless, evergreen decor piece.

Usually found in clean shapes such as circles, squares, rectangles, bells, and more, classic glass lamp shades are mostly white, though they are not without detail. You can find these types of shades detailed in the most interesting of ways. Whether it’s a frosted glass element, a set of subtle bumps in the shape itself, or something completely different, the classic lamps are all about sophistication with a touch of uniqueness and individuality.

Regal and royal-looking, such light shades are available for lamps as well as for chandeliers. Depending on how heavy the glass barrier is, the classic lamp will allow only as much light to bleed through, restricting the rest within the shade itself and protecting the eyes from that unwanted glare. Responsible for creating a rich-looking atmosphere, they are excellent for all rooms of the house, from the bathroom all the way to the living room and hallways.

Ornamental Glass Light Shades

Ornamental Glass Shades


One thing is for sure when it comes to ornamental glass shades – you can always expect the unexpected. Perfect for vintage, rustic, natural, shabby chic, and any other decor style that follows that well-known “the more the merrier” maxim, ornamental shades will always be there to enhance the look of the room and provide the perfect amount of light needed.

Coming in a variety of styles and shapes, these intricate fellows are all about creating artwork from your typical light source. Suitable for lamps as well as chandeliers, the star of the show when it comes to these guys are the coloured shades. Following the example vitrage sets, these shades are often made to resemble a mosaic, creating intricate pictures and sceneries through little pieces of coloured glass.

This allows the shade to act as a sort of kaleidoscope, casting all kinds of beautifully coloured light all over and creating a unique atmosphere only homes that love details can handle, so if you have such a home, I’m sure you’re going to make no mistake by getting such a lampshade for your bedroom, study, or living room.