Using colour in interior design: 5 reasons why the lamp is your secret weapon

Pooky have teamed up with paint experts Little Greene for a colour-tastic collaboration, with a host of our shapely wooden table and floor lamp bases available in twenty of Little Greene’s finest paint colours. To mark the occasion, we’ve compiled some top lamp/colour-related interior design tips. Here are five ways that lamps can really make your colour scheme sing…

1. Use lamps and shades to make up your colour ratios

The established rule of thumb for a balanced, harmonious use of colour in a room is the ‘60-30-10’ ratio. The idea is simply that you choose three colours and use them in those proportions. So 60% of the room is one colour (for example, a neutral for walls, ceiling and perhaps a sofa), 30% is a complementary second colour (perhaps the rug and curtains) and the remaining 10% is a bolder accent colour, which gives the scheme depth and interest. Table and floor lamps are an exceedingly useful component of the three-way colour ratio, especially as you can have the lamp and shade in different colours. So when picking your combination, think about how your colours fit the scheme: perhaps the lamp base goes with the main 60% colour, while the shade can give you a good chunk (perhaps all) of your 10% accent colour.

Image: Brooke Copp-Barton

2. Use a lamp to create a ‘pop’ of colour

Of course, rules are made to be broken, and many interior designers take a much more instinctive approach. Painted table lamps and striking shades are brilliant for dramatic ‘pops’ of colour – especially bright hues in a darker scheme. You can see some fine examples of Pooky lamps being used for popping purposes here.

Image: Luke Edward Hall

3. Make lamps light up a monochrome room

To clear up a common misconception, a monochrome scheme isn’t necessarily black and white: ‘monochrome’ just means one colour. There are some stunning rooms out there consisting of a single colour – often surprising ones like yellows, greens or purples. The trick with a monochrome scheme is to use different hues and shades of your chosen colour so that you retain visual interest without losing the immersive effect. And the beauty of incorporating a well-placed lamp or two into your one-colour scheme – particularly with a translucent shade – is that when lit they give you instant visual variety.

4. Use lamps to create a colour feature

As we’ve always said at Pooky, lamps aren’t just for light: they’re beautiful objects in themselves and you can treat them as eye-catching features, talking points, little bits of sculpture. Imaginative use of colour is a great way to emphasise that decorative element. You can use a neutral lampshade to highlight a boldly-coloured base, or vice versa. Or you can go for a deliberate, vivid colour clash. Whatever floats your visual boat.

5. Bring a room to life by doubling up on lamps

Mixing and matching lamps and shades gives you a multitude of colour options – and if you make it a pair of table lamps you open up a multitude more and can really bring a room’s colour scheme to life. Identical lamp bases in different colours but similar shades? Twin bedside lamps with shades that match each others’ bases? Different base shapes painted in identical colours? Table lamps and floor lamps in identical colours but contrasting shades?... The sheer quantity of possibilities is somewhat mind-boggling… Best not to think about that. Just jump in and have some colour fun!

Orchy lamp in Grey Teal
Lisa lamp in Carmine

Moonshine lamp in Jewel Beetle

Pooky x Little Greene

Little Greene is an independent British paint manufacturer committed to the socially and environmentally responsible production of high-quality paints and wallpapers. Their reassuringly high pigment levels (over 40% more pigment than many ordinary paints) gives Little Greene paints an unequalled depth of colour. The Pooky and Little Greene collaboration allows you to choose from 13 Pooky wooden table and floor lamps, pick out a beautiful Little Greene colour for it, and we’ll send you your painted lamp in a couple of weeks. You can choose from 20 beautiful Little Greene colours from their Intelligent Satinwood range – but if you decide you’d like one of the other Little Greene colours then contact us ( and we will arrange it. See all the options and pick your perfect Pooky - Little Greene combo here