personalized grandpa gifts How Do I Choose the Right Lamp Shade- funny cushion covers

This post was originally published in July 2011 and updated March 2019.

How do you choose the right lamp shade? Picking the perfect shade for your table or floor lamp is all about scale, style, and supporting your lamp base. So it has to fit the place and occasion, complement without overwhelming, and draw just enough attention to be noticed. But while it may be intimidating, learn how to choose the right lamp shade. Follow our guidelines so you can feel confident in your choice.

linen pillow covers

The first thing you do when you’;re trying to choose the right lamp shade is to look at your lamp. What’;s the general shape?

Of coursepersonalized grandpa gifts, there are always exceptions to any decorating rule –; candlestick lamps, with their combination of curves and angles, can handle just about any shape. And, if your lamp is square and your table is round, a round shade can complement both.

So now that you know your Lamp base shape, it’;s time to grab a tape measure. Your shade should be about two-thirds the height of your lamp base (give or take an inch).

To choose the right lamp shade width, measure your lamp base and multiply by two. For a round base, measure straight across; measure diagonally for a square base. The widest part of your shade should be at least a half-inch wider than the widest part of your base on each side.

And when you’;re considering width, don’;t forget location. So if your lamp is going next to a bed or in a busy hallway, pick a narrower shade to avoid flying elbows.

Translucent or Opaque?

Well, It all depends on what you want your lamp to do. Translucent shades of sheer fabric, paper or alternative materials are great for reading and adding ambient light to your room.

But Opaque shades of silk, thick parchment or laminated card will direct light in defined, up-and-down beams, perfect for highlighting objects and setting a mood.

Tips for picking the right bulb and brightness —; How to Light Your Room with LED Lighting

Now we’;re talking fashion. Smooth shades say cool, refined and contemporary. But Pleats are cozier, more traditional and tend to pair well with antiques. And custom details like embroidery, decoupage and paint can transform your lampshade from accessory into a show-stopping focal point.

Four dimensions are important when measuring for shade replacement; top and bottom diameters, depth and drop. The following diagrams illustrate the necessary measurements.

Browse all of our table lamps, lamp shades, and lighting options.

Or learn about LED bulbs and see our chandelier buying guide.

Hello! I’m Jane Sassaman and I am a fine art quilter and fabric designer. Recently, I have been making some small abstract appliqué quilts as a way to play with random shapes and colors.