Amateur interior decorators often underestimate the importance of lamps until they venture into The Lamp Shade. There, they learn that a new lamp - and, more importantly, shade - can transform a room just as much as a new piece of furniture or paint color. And it isn't nearly as heavy or messy.

Amateur interior decorators often underestimate the importance of lamps until they venture into The Lamp Shade. There, they learn that a new lamp - and, more importantly, shade - can transform a room just as much as a new piece of furniture or paint color. And it isn't nearly as heavy or messy.

Owner Marianne Lannan said people are usually surprised that the Short North shop can exclusively sell shades and related accessories. It helps to have lots of options, though.

Customers can bring in a lamp to "try on" all kinds of shades. The biggest factors to consider are the style of the room where the lamp will live and the lamp's scale - how big the shade should be in proportion to the room.

Lannan explained how different shades can alter the character of an already modern-looking lamp.

Bell shade

A more traditional, bell-shaped shade gives the lamp a graceful quality.

Marianne Lannan's advice: "It looks nice with it because this [lamp] has some curve to it. You could put it in any room."

Drum shade

This drum-shaped shade is both modern and formal.

Marianne Lannan's advice: "It has a sheen on the fabric, and that makes it look - I think - a bit dressier."

Black shade

Traditional in its slightly sloped shape, the shade stands out because of its unconventional (yet increasingly popular) color.

Marianne Lannan's advice: "I'm using black a lot on a desk. With a white lining, it will concentrate all the light on the desk. It doesn't emanate through the shade."