Tips for Buying Lampshade

glass lampshades

Lampshades can have a big impact on the design of a room and help you get the most from your brand new lamp. Some lamps can stand on their own with no lampshade, however, for the majority, a lampshade that fits the room’s aesthetic is an absolute must.

As a warning to start with, you can’t just buy any random lampshade for a lamp and hope for the best! It requires a carefully considered process to make sure that your new lampshade is the best fit for the light and the room.

In this article, we’re going to teach you how to find and buy your own lampshade for any lamp. With a few tips and some additional lamp and lampshade knowledge, you too can easily find a lampshade that you love!

glass lampshades

How Do I Choose a Lampshade?

There are a number of things to consider when buying a new lampshade:

  •         How can I match its size to the lamp’s base?
  •         How can I match the lampshade type to the room it will be in?
  •         How can I choose the design and colour of the lampshade?

We will cover each of these three main questions individually so that you will know exactly what you need when you start looking. Make sure you have an answer to each question before you begin your search for a new lampshade.

There is no sense in buying a lampshade hoping that the design you like is a perfect size, type, design, and colour for your needs. It’s much more efficient to determine what you need first so that you can filter out options that don’t fit the bill.

What are the Different Types of Lampshade?

There are five main types of lampshade:

  •         Empire – The empire lampshade is the traditional cone-shaped lampshade used often for lamps in the living room or bedrooms. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use this type in another room if it fits in!
  •         Straight-Empire – Straight-empire lampshades are almost identical to empire lampshades. The only difference is that the top of the lampshade is straighter and more outward than with a usual empire lampshade.
  •         Square – The square lampshade is much like an empire lampshade as well, except that it is shaped like a prism (meaning it has more than one side) instead of a one-sided cone.
  •         Drum – A drum lampshade is a perfect cylinder with the top and bottom sides missing.
  •         Tall Tapered – Tall tapered lampshades look like straight-empire lampshades except that they are taller. They tend to be closer to the bulb yet reach higher than other lampshades.

So, how do we know which of these lampshade types we should pick? Well, the first thing we can do is check the base of our lamp. If the base of your lamp is a square, then use a square lampshade. If it is circular, then you would use one of the other lampshade types.

When choosing between the four circular lampshade types, try to pick the one that matches your base best. For example, if your base is quite small and doesn’t extend far from the center, your best bet would be to use a tall tapered lampshade.

At the end of the day, the best way to determine which type of lampshade should be used is based on what you think would suit the lamp best.

It’s important to keep in mind that each of the different lampshade types come in a huge variety of different designs and sizes, so if one isn’t your taste, there are plenty of the same type that can do the job.

table lamp

What Size Lampshade do I Need?

There are various factors that help you determine the right size and this depends on what kind of lamp you have. If you are using a table lamp, follow these guidelines:

  •         Your lampshade should have a 3-4 ratio with the lamp’s height – your shade should be around ¾ the height of the rest of your lamp.
  •         The width of your lampshade base – the widest portion of your lampshade – should be a similar length to the distance of the table to the shade.
  •         The lampshade should be a minimum of half an inch wider than the base of your lamp.
  •         When in doubt, go for a slightly larger lampshade over a smaller one, unless the lamp that you are fitting the lampshade to is particularly short.

However, if you try to follow these guidelines for a floor lamp, you might end up with a ridiculously large lampshade! For floor lamps, you’re looking for a lampshade that is a minimum of 18 inches in diameter at the base, or approximately a 1-5 ratio with the lamp’s height. Adjust these measurements when your floor lamp is particularly thin or thick in appearance.

floor lamp

How to Choose a Lampshade’s Design and Colours?


When it comes to a lamp’s brightness, it really depends on its purpose. If the lamp is intended to illuminate a work desk or work surface the lampshade should be quite thin and allow more of the bulb’s brightness to shine through.

On the other hand, if your lamp is for accent lighting alone, a thicker lampshade will provide a more cosy warmth that a bright light simply couldn’t.


The colour of your lampshade depends mostly on your preference and the light’s surrounding design. Take a look at the room you are using your lamp in: imagine how it might look in some bolder colours, such as red or blue.

Once you find a colour that you think would fit perfectly with the room’s aesthetic, go for it. You can even get more than one lampshade if you wish to change up the colour every now and then.


If your lamp is for task lighting, you would most likely want a moderate warmth or slightly cold temperature emanating from the lamp. If your lamp is used to highlight specific areas of the room, it should always be warm, inviting, and cosy.

While this is mostly accomplished by the type of light bulb you’re using, you can further alter the temperature by using lampshade materials that either block or allow heat to travel through them.

You now have the knowledge necessary for successfully buying your own stylish lampshades and we look forward to seeing what some of you come up with!

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