• Jen | Squiffy Mill

Favourite Finds | Paper Lighting

Updated: Jan 12, 2020

So you thought paper lanterns and lampshades were a thing of the past? Think again, they’re making a come-back but this time around they’re more intricate and pretty than ever before.

The more traditional round rice paper lampshade that we’ve become accustomed to, still fits perfectly in Scandi minimal homes, mid-century spaces as well as homes with a boho feel. But now the origami and pleated designs are picking up on the ribbed and reeded trends we’re seeing. Throw in the increasing desire to be more environmentally friendly and using more renewable materials, we have a winning combo on our hands.

So, if you have dismissed them because they instantly take you back to your parents or even grandparents’ homes, perhaps it’s time to shake those thoughts and take a fresh look at them?

I bought one for our master bedroom, for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted something a little more ‘sculptural’ which provided soft lighting, and these work perfectly for that requirement. Secondly, I had a small budget and again many of these are much cheaper than their glass/ceramic/plastic alternatives, although not all - some of the intricate work required can result in high costs still.

Here I’ve pulled together my favourite paper lighting finds, where I can I have included any sustainability information that I have been able to glean. So sit back and have a nosey on through these.


1. Natural Origami Teardrop lampshade by Ian Snow

This is one of the lampshades I bought myself, it’s such a beautiful shape and the pleats make it feel very sculptural and look more expensive than it is. It’s handmade in India using traditional techniques. The raw materials are largely recycled and the company provide employees with medical insurance and a pension as well as supporting a school for children with learning disabilities. My only advice with this is, it concertinas around and fits together with magnets - ensure that the magnet section is facing away from the door or bed or somewhere you're going to see instantly as it is visible when the light is on.

2. Beresford Pendant by Aster & Quail

Wow. Surely this has to change the mind of any paper lighting doubter? A beautiful and dramatic statement pendant light, constructed from hundreds of paper triangles. Each light is handmade in New York and custom orders can be made.

3. Striped Indian Paper Light Shade by Artisans and Adventurers

A geometric monochrome lampshade, this feels so modern and would most definitely and seamlessly be at home in a minimal, contemporary space. It's another example where the shade is made from 100% recycled paper in a socially accredited factory in India. This company are trying to become a zero plastic business and so they do not provide a plastic bulb holder, instead this sits happily on top of the standard light cord and the bulb holder is unnecessary.

4. Origami Lampshade by Cam Cam Copenhagen

Could it be any more perfect for a child’s bedroom? The lampshade provides a muted soft light, just what’s needed in a bedroom and the dotted print gives it a playful feel. The paper is produced sustainably and under socially responsible conditions.

5. Krusning by Ikea

This is a great idea and a bargain at £10! You take it out of the box, fluff it and crumple it a little and create a cloud like effect which gives a diffused and decorative light. It’s made from paper, obviously, and so it’s a renewable material – however I couldn't find anything further about the source and whether it is sustainable i.e. are trees being responsibly managed and replaced.

6. Mushroom Origami Paper Table Lamp by Ian Snow

Yes, you read that right; a table lamp! It is self-standing, and folds into the mushroom shape around the light fitting with magnets to join it together. Another beautifully sculptural piece, made of handmade paper from recycled rags which gives an ambient soft light. This product is 100% fairtrade, 100% recycled, the factory even harvest rainwater and dispose of any leftover paper in an eco-friendly way.

7. Paper Lantern String Lights by Pale & Interesting

These are not just for Christmas. Most definitely not. These would cheer up any dull corner, look pretty draped over a large mirror or headboard or could be used as tasteful decoration for celebrations and parties. I adore them, and as I sit and write this in January, post-Christmas while the weather is miserable, I can't think of a better way to brighten my home!

8. Humpback Whale DIY Pendant by Owl Paper Lamps

I think this would be a great gift for a child. Not only do they get a playful animal light for their bedroom, but it’s also a crafting afternoon with their parent creating this origami lampshade. This is just one example of what Owl Paper Lamps produce, there are parrots, rabbits, hippos, elephants, all just as beautifully designed.

9. Akari A Series Pendant by Vitra

Considered the original, first produced in the 1950’s and inspired by classic East Asian forms and mid-century styles, these are handmade in Japan from the bark of the mulberry tree and reinforced with bamboo. The designer was Isamu Noguchi, and by creating these lampshades he was able to sustain the ancient Japanese lantern craft.

Not convinced? How about this instead, not paper but my wooden wildcard for those non-paper-believers amongst you;

Wild Card: The Skipper pendant by Tom Raffield

It takes inspiration from traditional woven Cornish baskets, it’s made from sustainably sourced ash, oak or walnut, and uses the traditional craft of steam bending. This pendant light is at a different price point to many of the paper alternatives, but its one of my all-time favourite light fittings as it’s more than just a pendant – it’s a piece of art due to its sculptural form. All wooden components are made from FSC certified timber and the process of steam bending is used as the main form of production - a low energy method that produces little waste product.