How To Choose a Perfect Lampshade - A Lampshade Buying Guide

Need help on how to buy a lampshade? When selecting the perfect shade for your table or floor lamp, you need to consider different factors, from the size and materials to the style of your lamp. In this lampshade buying guide, we’ll walk you through those factors, carefully explaining their importance.

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The Bulb 

The choice of bulb significantly affects how a lampshade functions and looks within a lighting setup. The bulb's size, shape, wattage, color temperature, and type all interact with the lampshade to determine how light is emitted and how the lampshade looks when illuminated. Careful consideration of the bulb's compatibility with the lampshade and its impact on the desired lighting effect is essential for creating the perfect ambiance in a room. 

Lampshade parts

Another step in how to buy a lampshade is to understand its different parts. Familiarize yourself with lampshade components like the frame, fabric, and trim. Assess the quality of these parts to ensure longevity and proper light diffusion. A sturdy frame, durable fabric, and well-finished trim can significantly impact the shade's overall performance and appearance. 

Selecting the Shape of the Shade

Lampshades come in various shapes, including drum, empire, square, and more. The shade's shape should complement the lamp's base and the room's decor. Consider the lamp's style, your design preferences, and the balance between aesthetics and functionality when selecting the shade shape. 


Choose a lampshade color that enhances the room's ambiance. Lighter shades diffuse more light and create a brighter atmosphere, while darker shades offer a cozy, intimate feel. Consider the room's color scheme and the lamp's purpose when deciding the shade color. 

The Light

Think about the desired lighting effect. Opaque or dark-colored shades direct light downward, making them suitable for reading or task lighting. Translucent or lighter shades disperse light more evenly, providing general illumination and a softer atmosphere. 

The Room

Consider the room's purpose when choosing a lampshade. Bedrooms may benefit from softer, ambient lighting, while home offices and reading nooks require focused illumination. Match the lampshade's style and color to the room's overall decor to create a harmonious environment. 

Lamp Base

Ensure the lamp base's size and style harmonize with the chosen shade. A balanced proportion between the base and shade is visually pleasing. For instance, a large, ornate base may pair well with a larger, decorative shade, while a slender base might work better with a more streamlined shade. 


A good rule of thumb is for the lampshade to be 3/4 the height of the lamp base. Additionally, the width of the lampshade should be roughly equal to the lamp base's width or slightly wider. To ensure a balanced and aesthetically pleasing look, here are a few things you should know: 

  • Top Diameter

The top diameter of your shade will help you determine what shape lampshade you would like. If the top and bottom are equal in diameter, this is called a drum shade. If the top diameter is smaller than the bottom, there are several styles to choose from, including a bell, Pembroke, or empire lampshade shape. 

  • Bottom Diameter / Width

The bottom diameter of your shade should be approximately equal in width to the length from the bottom of the lamp base to the socket. The bottom diameter should also be 2x wider than the widest part of the lamp base. For a round base, measure straight across the widest part of the lamp. For a square base, measure diagonally. For all other bases, measure from base to socket. 

The bottom diameter is the most important measurement, as you can always raise or lower your shade using one of our adjustable harps. Shop our adjustable harps here

  • Slant / Height 

The slant is the measurement from the top of the shade to the bottom. The slant, or height, should be about two-thirds the height of your lamp base. 

How to Choose the Right Lamp Shade Fabric 

Part of the process of how to buy a lampshade is choosing a fabric. Our shades come in extensive materials to help you achieve the right look for your space. 

Linen fabric shades work well on lamps for more casual spaces or that need translucent ambient lighting. Think of these as spaces where you may need ample light for reading or having conversations, like bedrooms or living rooms. Silk shades are great for formal spaces such as living rooms, entryways, and bedrooms. If you want to create moodiness in a room or highlight an object, consider an opaque shade. Rather than diffusing light evenly across a space like the translucent shades, opaque shades create up-and-down beams of light that can add drama to a room. 

How to Choose the Right Shade Style 

Pleated, Scalloped, Smooth - Oh My! At Lux Lampshades, we offer a variety of styles, colors, and fabric options. 

If you’re going for a contemporary look, select a hardback or opaque shade to add a touch of modernity to your lamp. If you want a traditional look, consider pleated or gathered shades to up the sophistication. 

Are you looking to make your space feel a tad more coastal? Check out our raffia and jute shade options. If you want to add a pop of color to the room or simply compliment a color scheme you already have, consider one of our colorful fabric shades to add cheer and dimension to your room. 

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Browse our sample sale or take a look at our gallery for inspiration.