Lamp Shade Size Guide

So just how do you determine which size lamp shade you need?

What are the rules in deciding what is the correct size of lamp shade for your lamp?

These are two common questions, and we'll try to shed some light (excuse the pun) on the subject.

Lampshade and Lamp Bases


What size of lamp shade should I choose for my lamp?

Lamp shades come in common sizes, and this is clearly shown, certainly on lampshades in the UK.

Some simple rules of thumb can help you make the correct choice and get the proportions just right. Just follow these simple steps:

STEP 1. Measure the lamp base to obtain the width and height measurements.

STEP 2. Apply the following rules to choose the correct size of lamp shade:

  • Rule 1 - the width of the lamp shade should be similar to the height of the lamp base.
  • Rule 2 - the height of the lamp shade should be approximately two thirds of the height of the lamp base.
  • Rule 3 - the lampshade should be wider than the widest point of the lamp base.

By applying these simple rules, you should be able to keep the proportions correct and ensure that your lamp and shade work in harmony. As with all 'rules', there are exceptions, so if you get chance put the lamp base and lampshade together and see if it looks right.

How Do I Choose The Right Shape Of Lamp shade?

Different shape of lamp bases need different shape lamp shades. Choose the wrong shape and your lamp will simply look odd. Odd is not good; stunning is what we are after.

Tapered Lamp Shade On Horse Sculpture Lamp Base

Here are our simple guidelines for choosing the right shape lampshade:

  • Tapered or Round Lamp Base = Sloped or Rounded Lamp shade (known as Empire or Drum)
  • Straight, Square, or Rectangular Lamp Base = Square or Rectangular Lamp shade

Apply these simple guidelines and you will ensure you avoid an odd looking lamp.

What Is The Best Material For A Lamp shade?

The 'best' material for a lamp shade is subjective. Most materials will be hard wearing if looked after properly.

Card, cotton, or linen are all effective materials that will go with most lamp bases and will look good in most room settings. If you want something more elegant, silk can look stunning, and silk is certainly the best choice of material for a pleated lamp shade.

Table Lamp On Table

To achieve a contrast between your lamp base and lamp shade, consider using a smooth lamp shade on a textured base, or vice versa. To achieve a unified feel, match the texture of the shade with the base i.e. texture on texture, or smooth on smooth.

What Colour Lamp shade Should I Choose?

This question is not quite so simple to answer as it will depend on your overall colour scheme and personal preference. If in doubt, choose a lamp shade with a natural tone in a single colour. This works perfectly on lamp bases of a single colour. If your lamp base has colour variations within it, you can pick up a colour from the base in the lamp shade. This works for both a single colour shade or patterned shade.

Patterned Lamp Shade On Wooden Lamp

We are not so keen on patterned lamp shades - getting the look right can be tricky. However, if you want something vibrant, make sure you pick up a colour that is in the lamp base.