The Easiest Way to Choose the Perfect Lampshade

Photo:  toundso (Shutterstock)
Photo: toundso (Shutterstock)

If you’ve ever purchased a lampshade for a specific base, there’s a good chance that when you put the two pieces together, they didn’t work. Even seasoned professionals have difficulty eyeballing it. That’s because there are multiple factors that determine whether a lampshade and base look like they belong together, or the leftovers from a yard sale.

Here’s what to know about finding a lampshade that’s the right size and shape for your base.

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How to find the right lampshade

Of course, interior design is all about your personal preferences—and making your home a place where you feel happy and comfortable—and that includes the lighting you choose to put in a room. But opting for a nontraditional lampshade is one thing; picking one that’s so small that you can see the light bulb and switch is another.

Finding the right size

To find a lampshade that fits, start by measuring the lamp’s base and height. Lampshades will look proportional to the lamp base when they are:

  • Twice as wide as the lamp base

  • One-third of the total height of the lamp base

  • At least half an inch wider than the base on both sides

If a visual would help, check out this short video from Architectural Digest that walks you through the process.

And let’s say that you’re unable to find any lampshades with the exact measurements you need, but come across two that are pretty close. Which should you pick? The larger one is usually the safer bet.

Finding the right shape

Generally speaking, lampshades tend to look best when they mimic the shape of the lamp base—whether that’s a cylinder, bell, square, oval, rectangle, or hexagon. When in doubt, round shades tend to work with most lamp bases. But, if the lamp is going in a hallway or area without a lot of room, keep in mind that a square or rectangular shade can fit right up against the wall and take up less space.

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