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Lighting Apr 11, 2022


Experimenting with lamp shades in new fabrics, shapes and colours is great way to instantly update your home’s style.  The perfect lamp and lampshade combination can transform a forgotten corner into a cozy nook or an entryway into a work of art.

While sometimes you get lucky and your ideal lamp and lampshade duo appear to you, the quest for the ideal table lamp isn’t always simple. So, how do you choose the right lamp shade?

DIYgirls INTERIOR shares a few tips to keep in mind while you shop for that perfect lampshade.

Getting the shape right

Before you get into color, pattern, material, or even size, it helps to identify what shape lampshade will best suit your lamp base. Take a look at your lamp. What’s the general shape?

A square or angular silhouette tends to look better with a square shade. And, a wider or rounder lamp base, on the other hand, usually works best with a rounded shade, like the Drum, Cone or Empire.

Drum Shades (the DIYgirls favourite): Shaped like a drum with vertical sides and cylindrical profile. It adds a contemporary element and complements wider or rounder lamp bases, as well as floor lamps.

Oval Shades: Looks like drum shades, but wider. It’s best suited to traditional schemes and are a great match for small column lamps, due to its narrower proportion.

Cone Shades:  It features a tapered top and narrow base. And, pairs well with long or tall lamps. It’s also a good choice if you’re trying to fit a lamp into a small space, due to it’s narrower proportions.

Empire Shades: A classic ‘frustum’ shape shade with a shape that is created by taking the top off a cone. The shape casts more light down than up and it’s used to compliment classic interiors or floor lamps.

Square Shade: Similar in style to the Empire shade, but with a square base. It compliments both traditional and modern homes.

Rectangular Shade: It has straight sides, some of which are tapered, and works well with narrow lamps that are contemporary in design or geometric in shape.

Getting the SIZE right

If there’s a situation when you could be sure that size really does matter, it’s when choosing a lampshade.  Proportion is the key to ensure a balanced lamp – too small and you have yourself a bottom-heavy situation, too big and you really are throwing shade.

There are three golden rules to remember when it comes to choosing a lampshade for table lamps:

  1. The width of the lampshade should be twice as wide as your base
  2. The height of the lampshade should be two thirds of the height of the lamp base (For your floor lamp, measure the height of the lamp base from the bottom to the top of the bulb rod, then divide the figure by four.  This measurement is the ideal approximate height for the lampshade.)
  3. Hide the lamp neck, harp and all other hardware underneath the shade, without encroaching on the lamp base itself

If your lamp is in-between lampshade sizes, we recommend choosing the largest shade that the space will allow – the larger the shade, the more light is distributed. Even in smaller rooms, oversized designs will (counter to expectations) will create the illusion of space.

Combine your shape know-how with the size estimate and you have a good starting point for selecting your new shade.


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