I don't like dark rooms, and I really don't like going from really dark to really bright when you turn on an overhead light. So I have a lamp on in the main rooms and halls that I used most frequently, even through the daytime.
Plus, when I am gone for the evening or overnight, there are lights that turn on and off at the same time every day whether or not I'm home. I use energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) in those lamps because they are most effective for lights that stay on for a while. For lights you turn on and off a lot, and don't stay on for long (like closets and bathrooms) CFLs aren't as efficient and they will wear out much faster. LED might be a better, though expensive solution but I'm sticking with good old incandescents for now.
And speaking of lamps, The Oregonian published an article about updating your lampshades. In the article "Give Your Decor a Quick Upgrade with New Lampshades," published on September 9, 2012, they discuss how drum shades are still very "in" and replacing a lampshade is a very easy way to update a lamp without replacing it.
Consider the size and color, the article says. White or yellow toned lampshades will glow softly while emitting light upward and down. Dark colors or opaque lampshades only direct light up and down. I add, if you use bright white toned light bulbs, consider off white or yellow colored shades to warm the light.
The article also suggests to bring your lamp with you while you shop. I say, if this isn't easy, take your tape measure to estimate what might be the right size. Shop online first to get a sense of what is available, then you'll have a better idea of what might work once you are at the store. I like to see the shades in person before buying.
And, the article says and I agree: ask about the return policy! Target has a great inexpensive selection online and in their stores, Pottery Barn's selection is classic, a little more expensive and limited. Both stores are usually great about returns. It's still smart to ask though.
Until next time!
Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.