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How to choose the perfect lampshade

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

Lampshades are our best seller and they’re more than just functional accessories; they play a crucial role in enhancing the look and ambiance of your living space.

I’m often asked which would be the best size for a lamp or ceiling light shade. So in this guide, we'll delve into the key factors that influence your lampshade choices, helping you make informed decisions that perfectly match your decor and lighting needs.

1. Consider the Lamp Base

I love table and standard lamps! They can add ambient, task or accent lighting and be a design statement in themselves. But to choose the perfect shade, take a closer look at the lamp base. Its proportions and design will greatly influence the size and shape of the lampshade.

A general rule of thumb for table lamps is to choose a lampshade width roughly equal to the height of your lamp base, and a height approximately two thirds of that. Your lampshade should always be wider than the widest part of the base.

For floor lamps I usually recommend a diameter of at least 40cm, bigger if you really want to make a statement!

2. Determine the Purpose

velvet lampshade featuring Deathshead moth design

Are you looking for ambient lighting or task lighting? The purpose of the lamp will dictate the style of the lampshade.

For ambient lighting, opt for a lampshade that diffuses light evenly in all directions. A wide drum shade in a semi transparent material is excellent for this, as a lot of light is cast from the top, bottom and sides.

For a dramatic effect, consider lampshades in a more opaque fabric like velvet, or with coloured linings. These will cast a more concentrated pool of light and draw the eye. Our Deathshead velvet shade is a favourite of mine for this!

3. Consider the Room Size

The size of the room matters when choosing a lampshade, especially for a ceiling light. In larger rooms, you can go for bigger lampshades that make a statement without overwhelming the space, whereas a smaller one could look lost. In smaller rooms, opt for smaller lampshades that provide the right amount of light without crowding the room visually.

4. Think About Proportions

Maintaining proper proportions is key to achieving a balanced look. If you have a tall and slender lamp base, a slightly taller, narrower lampshade will create an elegant and cohesive look. Conversely, a chunky base pairs well with a wider lampshade. Keep in mind that proportions contribute to both aesthetics and the dispersion of light.

5. Ceiling Height Matters

High ceilings can accommodate larger lampshades without overwhelming the space. Bear in mind that the inside of the lamp shade will be visible from below, so a feature lining is a great design statement. Alternatively, consider a diffuser if you want to hide the bulb.

If your ceiling is lower, a shallower lampshade can help even up the proportions of the room. Or try thinking outside the box. I moved my light fitting into the corner so I could still create a statement without anyone bumping their head!

In conclusion

Choosing the right lampshade size and shape can involve a delicate balance between functionality and aesthetics. By considering factors such as the lamp base, room size, purpose, style, and proportions, you can confidently select a lampshade that elevates your space while providing the desired lighting effects. But remember, it's all about creating an atmosphere that reflects your personal style so don't be afraid to break the rules and just go for a look you love!

As all of our lampshades are hand made to order, check them out here and if you have any special requirements, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help! For a small fee we can change shapes, linings, fittings, trim, colours and text in existing designs. And we can make a huge range of sizes from 10cm to a meter wide! Anything to make the perfect shade for your space.

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