Lampshade Buying Guide by Blue Marble LightingClick Here to View Available Shades in my Ebay Store
This is part 1 of a 5 parts series on how to correctly size and purchase lamp shades for table lamps, floor lamps, chandeliers, wall sconces, etc. Be sure to read all of the parts in this series for the most complete information.
Part 1 How Do I Choose the Right Lampshade?
Part 2 How are Lampshades Measured?
Part 3 How Do I Know What Fitter My Lampshade Has?
Part 4 What Shade Should I Buy for my Chandelier or Wall Sconce?
Part 5 Lampshade Glossary of Terms
Part 1 of 5: How Do I Choose the Right Lampshade?
Sizing Rules of Thumb - The taller the lamp, the larger the shade.
Shade Height should be about 3/4 the height of the base. The overall height of the shade is directly related to the height of the harp. As a general rule, the overall height of the shade should not exceed the height of the harp (plus 1/2 inch) and should not be smaller than the height of the harp. Note: Fringe and tassel should not be included in the height measurement.
Shade Width should be wider than the wisest part of the base. Shade width should approximately be equal to the height from the bottom of base to socket. Most table lamps take a shade with bottom diameter of 16-18 inches or larger.
Match the Base - Think size, shape, style, and color. Larger lamp bases require larger shades. Square bases may look better with a square shade. Victorian bases need a Victorian shade, etc. Your goal is to match the mood of the base.
Compliment the Base - A Shade should make the base look better without competing with it for attention. Decide if the lamp base will be the focal point. If your base is really unique, choose a simple shade to draw attention to the special features of the lamp.
Hide the Switch - Your shade should just barely cover the switch. Try different sized harps or add a shade riser to fine tune your shade fit.
Consider the Use - Reading lamps need a wider shade to provide plenty of light.
Consider the Room - What is the color and style of your room? Will the lamp have a starring role or compliment its surroundings?
Consider the Bulb - Be sure you have 2-3 inches of separation from the bulb to shade, especially for higher wattage bulbs. Be sure the top opening is wide enough to vent the heat. Compact Fluorescent bulbs are great for most lamps because they burn cooler.
Consider the Shade Drop - Shades with a spider type or UNO type fitter usually have some distance between the top edge of the shade down to the center of the fitter. The larger this distance is, the less visible the shade hardware, but keep in mind that this raises the position of the shade equal to the drop distance. Shades with spider type fitters typically feature a 1/2 to 1 inch drop.