Getting it right

Shade Types





To Measure the Width
A pretty standard way to get the right width is to double the width of the largest part of the lamp base. Another way, is to take the width of the lampshade (diameter at the bottom) and it should be about equal to the height of the lamp base.Lampshade measurements for empire and coolie shapes are listed with three main dimensions: Top x Bottom x Height. Drum lampshade will have two dimension: Width x Height.


Next, the height – Your shade should be about two-thirds the height of your lamp base or 40% shade to 60% lamp base, measured from the bottom of the lamp to the socket. Just like a slip, you never want your harp to show. So if your lamp sits on a mantel or close to eye level, this is especially important. If too much of the neck is shown or the socket is exposed, choose a smaller harp size like a 6” or 8” harp to lower it on the base. If the shade is covering up too much of the lamp’s silhouette, use a taller harp like a 10” or 12”. You would be surprised how you can get the perfect look just by changing the harp and keeping the beautiful shade you want.

If your base is about 16.5” high, then to find two-thirds of the height of the lamp, multiply the height, 16.5” by 60% and 70%. (16.5*.6=9.9) and (16.5 8 .7=11.5) This lamp can take shades between 9.9” and 11.5” high.

To find the right size for floor lamps, multiply the height by .25 to determine one-fourth the height of the lamp. If the lamp is 35”, multiply by 25% and 35% (35*.25=8.75) and (35* .35=12.25) This lamp can take shades between 8.75” and 12” high.

Other Aesthetic Factors to consider
Repeat the shape in the lamp body with a similar shade shape. Square lamps look great with rectangular or square shades, and globe lamps look great with cylindrical shades like a coolie! Drum shades work well with tall lamps. An empire shape is a goto look for the majority of lamps.

Match lampshade colors to accent colors in the room or to the tones in the lamp to pull your decor together.

Dare to be rare! These formulas are a great place to start but don’t be afraid to break some rules if the shade speaks to you and you want to make a statement with an oversized shade.

Illumination of the shade you choose will affect how bright the lamp is. Shades in light colors and made of a light weave fabric will usually allow some light to pass through the shade itself, increasing the light. Shades in dark colors, tight weaves, or opaque materials only allow light to shine out of the top and bottom, and so are more suited to use as mood lighting or accent lighting in rooms with other fixtures.

Shade Position The bottom of the shade should fall at eye level to avoid annoying glares—if you intend to use the lamp next to your sofa, the shade should block the light when you’re sitting on the sofa. Only about half the neck of the shade should be visible—with no harps or sockets showing. You may need to purchase a new harp that fits your new shade to get this positioning just right!


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