• Jo Jones

How to Choose a Lampshade

Updated: Aug 7, 2019

With over 50 shape and size combinations to choose from how do you decide which lampshade to choose?

Here’s some points to consider

Lampshade Function:

  1. If you want to use the lamp as a reading lamp then choose a lighter weight or paler coloured fabric.

  2. If you want the lamp to provide a colour accent feature or mood lighting then you can opt for pretty much anything you like providing the fabric is not too thick.

  3. The size of the shade influences the maximum wattage bulb that can be used safely, for example up to 40w for a 20cm shade and up to 60w for a 30cm shade, so consider how bright you want the light to be before you choose.

Size and Shape:

Matching a lampshade to a table lamp can be quite tricky so here’s a few guidelines.

1. Your lampshade should be roughly twice the width of the bottom of the lamp base, and at least half an inch wider on either side of the widest part of the base.

2. 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.

3. Mirror the shape of the base and the shade - a chunky rectangular base with a similar shaped shade. A large base needs a large shade to balance it.

The exception to the last three points are candlestick table lamps which can take pretty much anything!

4. Think about where the lamp is to go. If it’s a beside a bed or in a busy or narrow space then choose a smaller shade or an oval or rectangular shape that gives the same visual impact as a larger drum but is narrower so takes up less room.

5. Drum, oval and rectangular shades work well with any pattern. It can be fun to mix shapes so a spotty fabric on a rectangular shade can work well.

Mixing shapes - circles on a rectangular shade

As with all ‘rules’ these are just for guidance, feel free to break them and go with what looks right in your space!

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© 2015 by Jo Jones Creative.  Original photography by Sam Stopford