How to Pick out the Right Lamp Shade

You have finally found the perfect lamp for your end tables or the bedside table. But you probably have not given much thought to the type of shade you are going to use on the lamp. What many people do not realize is that the right lampshade can completely transform an average base into something quite beautiful. 

Selecting the right lampshade is crucial because purchasing one that is not proportionate to the lamp or that does not match with the decor of the room can make even a beautiful antique lamp look terrible. To help, here are some tips you can use to choose the right lampshade:

Height and Width 

As a general rule of thumb, the height of the lampshade should be two thirds the height of the lamp base. This ensures that the lamp looks evenly proportioned and is not too bottom or top-heavy. Sticking to this proportion also guarantees that you do not see any of the lamp hardware such as the wireframe around the bulb, which can look tacky when exposed. You may need to measure the lamp so that you get a shade that matches it perfectly.  

The lampshade should be at least a half-inch wider than the base of the lamp on each side. It is acceptable for the shade to be wider than the lamp itself, but you do not want it to extend as wide as the table. Depending on the location of the lamp, you do not want a lampshade that is too wide because you do not want to bump into it constantly.  

Getting the Right Shape 

The shape of the lampshade should match the body of the lamp for visual synergy. If the base of the lamp is tall and cylindrical, you might want to look for a tall drum shade. On the other hand, if the lamp has a round body and square base, the lampshade should be round with some roundness at the top. With a basic lamp, you can play around with different shaped shades.  


From burlap, silk, and paper, lampshades are available in a variety of colors and textures. You can take the opportunity to accent a particular color used within the space by opting for a lampshade that features that specific hue. Softer colors and textures blend in well in traditional settings while smooth colors express contemporary elegance.  

How do you pick out lampshades? We would love to hear your thoughts below in the comment section.