Light It Up!

A Shade Better Is Your One-Stop Shop for High-Quality Lamps, Svelte Shades and Plenty of Expert Lighting Advice

Ready to move beyond drab overhead fixtures and student-era IKEA desk lamps? Visit Tom Driskell, the lighting guru behind Loveland’s A Shade Better. In business since 1996, Tom remains staunchly committed to the customer design experience. I stopped in recently to chat about accent lighting and left ... dreams of gold-lined black shades dancing in my head.

What do you wish more people knew about lighting?

We help people update their lamps. You’ve had the same shade for 40-plus years? Try something different. 

What’s your advice for lighting an oversized living room? 

You’re going to want a ceiling fan with a light kit, maybe a torchiere for up-lighting, accent lamps and some reading lights. Most people don’t have enough light sources in a room.

Conversely, how do you light a small, snug area?

It depends on how much light you like and what you need. I’m not a huge reader, so I’m constantly turning off the lights. If it’s a fairly well-lit room, I’d go with accent lighting. 

What are your thoughts on mixing styles?

I wouldn’t mix a Mission-style lamp with a tulip-shaped shade. But you can really update the look of a transitional lamp, or even a traditional one, by changing the shape or the color of the shade that you put on it. 

Should we still buy lamps in pairs? 

You don’t see nearly as much of that anymore. People buy pairs for nightstands or the mantle, but it’s not as common. 

[Author’s note: Trends be damned, I’m dying for Tom’s pair of white Foo dog lamps with contemporary square shades!]

I know that you do custom lamps. Any interesting projects of late? 

We did some Tiffany silver candlesticks. The client is really artistic, and she came to me with the idea. They turned out fantastic.

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