How to choose a lampshade

If you have spent anytime online or in a shop looking for lampshades you will know the choices available are mind boggling!

To choose the right lamp shade there are lots of factors to consider, such as the size of the shade, colour, shape and fabric. It can feel very overwhelming and no one wants to be disappointed once they get their lampshade home and find it doesn’t quite work in the room or on their lamp.

We have created this guide to help you to choose the perfect lampshade, so you get it right first time.


Start with the lamp base

Take a closer look at what shape and size the base of the lamp is. As a general rule if the lamp base is square or angular, then look for a square or angular shade, if round then stick with a round shade. The aim is for the shade to flatter the lamp base bottom, not work against it and look out of place.  There are plenty of examples where this isn’t the case though – We have many customers who like a round shade on a square bottomed brass lamp! As with all rules it’s ok to break it if you have a more eclectic style and want to make a statement!


Lampshade shapes

There are many designs and shapes of lampshades but the most popular are

Empire – The empire lampshade is a classic all-rounder, it is wider at the bottom than the top so is a great choice for floor lamps in dark corners of the room or a bedside table lamp.

Empire Lampshade

Square – The Square lampshade works well with both classic and modern interiors and works perfectly on a square base table lamp and in corners where there isn’t much room.

Square Lampshade

Drum – The drum lamp shade is a more modern choice of shade for your room and works particularly well on floor lamps and more modern lamps.

Drum Lampshade

OvalOval lampshades work best in smaller areas. They would be the perfect lampshade for a thin console table where there isn’t much space.

Oval Lampshade


Size matters with your shades

Next up you need to choose the right size of shade for your base. If the shade is too large it could make it look top heavy and too small and neither the lamp or shade will look its best. When referring to the size of a lampshade it is always the bottom diameter being used.

Keeping everything in proportion is important here so we would suggest that the diameter of your lampshade should be approximately the same as the height of the lamp base (using a tape measure from the bottom to just under the bulb holder). This is just a guide though and won’t necessarily always be right. For example, thin and stick bases don’t need as large shades.

A Floor lamp generally measure around 1.5 meters – You want to be looking at shades with a 45 – 55 cm diameter. As with the table lamps if your base is thin, you could use a smaller shade. You also need to take into consideration any furniture you might have nearby and adjust the size of the shades accordingly. You want to achieve the perfect balance between shades, lighting and furniture in your home.

With all types of lamps, it is key to ensure the fixture and bulb is covered by the shade. The lighting effect can vary based on the make, wattage or design of bulb.


What fabric and colour should my lampshade be?

When deciding the fabric and colour of your lampshade it’s important to keep in mind what the light’s function will be. Is it in a cosy reading corner? If so, go for a light coloured shade to ensure maximum light for the reader.

Choose a fabric texture and colour that coordinates perfectly with the rest of your interior. You may want to create an ambient light throughout your room and for this pleated shades always look good.

Are pleated lamp shades out of style?

Pleated lampshades are classic but not at all old fashioned. They lend themselves to a space decorated in a classical style but also if you are a fan of vintage pieces but with a modern twist. There is also a box pleat design, which has a wider pleat and will let more light through. Pleated lampshades can give a room a lovely cosy feel.

Pleated Lampshade


Does each lamp shade in the room have to match?

All the shades in your living room do not have to match, in fact having several identical shades in one room can sometimes end up looking a bit over styled. If you have eclectic tastes, then feel free to have none of the shades matching. However, we would generally advise that your lamps all have some element of them in common. This could be they are all the same shade of colour or perhaps the same shape. One of the best tips is to try and match or blend a colour in your lamp with the shade on top.


What kind of lamps are in style?

This totally depends on what you like! But this year one of the main trends for home interiors has been towards more natural materials, think pure wool rugs in neutral tones, rattan furniture and house plants bringing a bit of nature into our lives. To compliment this trend, you can’t go wrong with choosing a lamp with a high quality shade made of linen and a base of wood or brass. This classic but contemporary style of lamp will never date and will work well in any space.

If you are looking to create a real statement then floor lamps with fringed lampshades are very popular after the success of shows like Peaky Blinders and Downton Abbey. Dramatic colours and patterns are also very popular at the moment, and are a great way to add a pop of colour without the expense of having to redecorate.

Ultimately you have to follow your gut when choosing the right lampshade that not only is practical but also suits your taste and the décor of the room. Don’t worry too much about current trends and choose a shade you really love, even if it’s totally different to what the experts say!


Need more help?

If you’re still unsure about choosing the right lampshade, we are here to help. Come and visit our showroom or Give us a call or follow us on Facebook or Instagram where we share tips and ideas on the best lamp shades designs.