Guide to Buying Lampshades Online

Lampshades function as far more than just a practical source of light. They can serve as decorative features, help tie together the theme of a room and create a sense of atmosphere and ambience. Sizes, shapes and styles vary however the vast majority of lamps will usually feature a lampshade. This acts as the focal point of the item, complementing the lamp base as well as hiding the bulb from view and diffusing the light.

Browsing online is a great way to shop for lampshades, giving you a far better range of styles to choose from than you would find in a walk-in store. However, given as you can’t physically see the lampshade in question there are a few things you need to consider before making an online purchase:


1)    Find the right width

If you’ve already got a base you’ll need to find a lampshade that suits the size. Home Base agree, explaining “choose a shade in proportion to the size of the base, too big or too little and the lamp will look odd and out of place”. A great way to determine the perfect size is to measure from the base of the lamp to the bottom of the bulb socket. This will give you an ideal width for the bottom of the shade. If you’re also shopping for a base, take note of the listed sizes and use that as an indicator.


2)    Find the right height

Once you’ve determined the ideal width you’ll need to think about what sort of height is going to be suitable. Fred Albert from Houzz suggests this:” As a rule of thumb, choose a shade that’s two-thirds the height of the base. That proportion assures that the lamp won’t look top or bottom heavy. You also want to make sure the shade doesn’t expose any of the hardware underneath, such as the harp (the wire frame around the lightbulb)”.

Once again, if you already have the base you can use it to help you out. Measure the length of the harp (this is the fixture that secure the lampshade to the lamp) and there you have the perfect height!


3)    Choose the ideal shape

Making sure that your lampshade matches your lamp is absolutely essential! Just because you love that modern square shaped lampshade doesn’t mean it’s going to look good with your ornate period style base.

Generally speaking, drum shaped lampshades are well suited to column bases, square shapes suit chunky rectangular bases, bell and oval lampshades are great for urn shaped bases while coolie and empire styles can pretty much be paired with anything!


4)    Think about the effect

As you won’t be able to flick the light on and off in-store it’s essential to gauge a good idea of what sort of lighting effect a lampshade is going to cast on the room. If you want the light to diffuse across the whole room it’s best to go for a lighter coloured shade in a thin material such as linen on fine silk. If you want to create a moody, dramatic effect look at shades made from darker, thicker materials like velvet, leather or even wood.


5)    Think about the colour

Picking the right colour lampshade for your room is essential. It should compliments the colour of the base, and also the room. According to Ronique Gibson from Fresh Home, “Your living room, bedroom and any space that requires illumination should be looked at as a whole when it comes to choosing lampshade colours. Whether you want your lights to be the focal point of the room – then choose bold colours that will stand out amongst other décor. For a more subtle approach use neutral tones in lampshade colours.”

Follow these simple steps and we guarantee that when your lampshade is delivered in the post it embodies the perfect combination of width, height, shape and light diffusion!


Happy shopping!   

Written by Ian Holbrook – owner of Premier Lampshades, the home of handmade bespoke lampshades and lampshade repair services. You can find Premier Lampshades at


Image Source

Photo by Louise Lynn from Flickr

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 27th, 2014 at 9:43 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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