Collections Banner
Tips Banner

Glossary of Terms

Candelabra Shades:

Small shades that usually feature a clip-on fitter. Candelabra shades are designed for chandeliers.

Drop:

Distance from the top of the shade to the center of the fitter.

Drum/Cylinder Shades:

Drum and cylinder shades typically feature vertical or near-vertical sides and differ mainly in their proportions. Drum shades tend to be wider, and cylinder shades tend to be taller.

Finial:

An ornamental decoration made of ceramic, metal, stone, crystal, wood, etc. used to securely fasten the lampshade to the harp.

Fitter:

The metal structure that attaches the shade to the lamp base.

Floor/Empire/Coolie Shades:

Slope-sided shades of varying degrees. Floor shades feature steep sides. Empire shades feature a medium slope and are typically in proportion for table lamps. Coolie shades feature the most gradual slope with a smaller top diameter and wider base.

Frame:

The metal structure of a lamp shade which maintains its shape and extends toward the center of the shade in the form of a fitter. The fitter is a part of the frame and in many cases is the only visible part of the frame. The frame’s outline is often covered by a trim.

Hardback:

A stiff backing applied to the inner surface of a lamp shade to keep its shape over time. During the creation of a hardback lampshade, the fabric is laminated over a sturdy but flexible backing material, typically a plastic such as a styrene. The hard backing helps the shade to keep its form, prevents drooping or warping, and extends the life of the shade. With a hardback shade it often becomes unnecessary to use extra metal framework running between the top and bottom of the shade, since the backing maintains the shape. Hardback shades are used more often in modern settings.

Harp:

A vertical U-Shaped metal support used to attach the shade to the lamp base. Harps are typically 6-12” high. Changing the size of the harp often helps your shade fit better.

Lamp Base:

The actual body, typically made of crystal, brass, ceramic, resin, stone, etc. The base is wired with a socket and cord.

Lining:

An additional surface applied to the inside of a lamp shade, used to filter or reflect light.

Pleated:

Where the shade fabric folds back on itself creating a pleat. There are many forms of pleating creating different patterns, pleat sizes, edging and shapes.

Riser:

A small metal cylinder used to raise the shade. Usually 1-2”, a riser screws in to the top of the harp and the shade sits on the riser and the finial screws on top of the riser. Risers are an alternative to changing the harp to properly fit your shade.

Slant Height:

The measurement from the outermost tip of the top edge of a lamp shade, to the outermost tip of the bottom edge, on a diagonal and in a straight line. We use the slant height to describe the `height` (length of the side) of the shade. The slant height is easily measured outside the shade, even when the shade is installed, and should be measured in a straight line regardless of any curvature in the shape of the shade.

Socket:

Metal receptacle at the top of the lamp base that holds the bulb and usually contains the switch. A slip UNO fitter or a harp generally sits beneath the socket.

Softback:

Any lampshade with a fabric lining. Softback shades are usually pleated or stretched and found in more traditional settings.