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How to Choose a Lamp Shade - Lamp Shade Buyers Guide

Mitchell Elworthy June 23, 2023 at 6:22 am

Psychology experts have proven via multiple studies that effective interior design can have a positive or negative effect on one's mental health. Therefore, it's important to choose interior design elements carefully. Your lamp shades are no exception.

Choosing a lamp shade that is inappropriate for a room can have several negative effects on the room's appearance. The wrong lamp shade can make the design elements of a room look less balanced. It can also give the room too much or too little light.

If you're not sure how to prevent such an interior design disaster from occurring, read on. This article will teach you how to choose a lamp shade that is perfect for any space.

Table Of Contents:

What Size of Lamp shade Do I Need?

To choose a lamp shade size that complements a room's interior design, there are a few features you need to consider. Firstly, you need to consider how the lamp shade size complements the lamp base and the room size. Secondly, you need to consider how much light you want in the room.

The answer to how to buy a lamp shade that complements your lamp's base is more precise than you may expect. Experts have determined specific measurement ratios you can use to match your lamp shades to lamp bases. You can find out more about these in the sections below.

Lamp Shades For Table Lamps


Some of the general rules for table lamps are as follows. The height of the shade should take up around 1/3 of the lamp’s height.

The base width of the lamp shade should be about twice as wide as the base of the lamp.

Lamp Shades For Floor Lamps

As far as floor lamps go, they can usually take a shade with a base diameter of 45 centimetres or larger. However, keep in mind that a large lamp shade works best in a large room. Likewise, a smaller lamp shade works best in a smaller room.

Continue reading:  Floor Lamp Buyers Guide.

Amount of Lighting

Lighting-wise, a large lamp shade will let more light into a room and a smaller one less. The ideal amount of lighting you want in a room usually depends on a room's function. However, there may be some other mood decisions that you want to make.


If you're attached to a too-small style of lamp shade, though, don't despair. You can use a size fitter. This will allow you to adjust the size of the lamp shade a bit.

What Shape of Lamp shade Do I Need?

The visual effects of a lamp shade shape can be clashing or complementary depending on your interior design. There are a few ways that you can make sure that your lamp shades look like they belong in a certain room.

To start with, you can find a picture of a shade that's the same or similar to the one you're considering. Display it on your phone or print it out. Then you can hold it up in your room and see if it looks complementary to you and anyone else you ask.

Beyond that, you can use the tips from the lists of shapes below.



This style was popular during the Victorian Era. As such, it provides a great classical elegance. Consider using it with a home that has traditional decor.

Drum or Square

Geometric, inorganic shapes are always best suited for more modern designs. As such, you can choose either of these styles to match a home with modern decor. Be sure to pair either of them with a geometric base.


The empire is the most familiar modern-day style of lamp. It's also very versatile and works with nearly every style of home. However, you should probably stick with more geometric shapes in a home with modern decor.

What Material of Lamp shade Do I Need?

You can use the techniques mentioned above to above to choose your lamp shade's material.

In addition, you can also find pictures of possible lamp shade styles in their ideal types of rooms. Interior design magazines will likely have good examples of these. You can then examine each room and compare its style with the room where you want to place a new lamp shade.


Shades with this material usually have a simple shape and solid colour. For this reason, they'll probably work best with modern decor. They're also great if you're trying for a minimalist look.


Silk shades are likely to be fashioned into decorative and elaborate styles. In addition, most associate this material with luxury. Thus, choose this lamp shade style in a home that you want to look ornate and luxurious.


If your home has an industrial look to it, then metal should be your choice. However, keep in mind that the density of the metal can affect the amount of lighting that gets into your room. You're not going to want to use them in a room that you want to have a lot of light.

What Colours and Patterns of Lamp shade Do I Need?

The best tool for making colours work in a room is colour theory. This is a set of rules and guidelines which help designers pick colours that will look appealing with one another. You can also use them yourself when you're designing the decor of your home.

Analogous Colours

Certain pairings and groupings of colours have different effects. Do you want a lamp shade that blends in well with the rest of the room's colours? Pick a lamp shade that's an analogous colour to the others.

Analogous colours are the colours that border a colour on either side of the colour wheel.

Complementary Colours

Do you want a lamp shade that stands out from the rest of the room? Pick a lamp shade that has a complementary colour. These are the colour pairings that are directly across from each other on the colour wheel.

Some good examples of these paintings include red/green and blue/orange.


Pattern choices are a bit different. It's usually not a good idea to put two complicated patterns in the same room together. For example, striped wallpaper and a polka-dotted lamp shade will clash.

Instead, mix a solid colour with a pattern or a solid colour with a solid colour. Remember that you have to consider both the lamp base and the rest of the room when doing this. You may consider matching the pattern on your lamp shade with something in the room if you can.

Also, keep in mind that the patterned object will probably draw the most attention. Don't choose a patterned lamp shade if you want the viewer's attention to focus on something else.

What Other Lamp shade Accessories Do I Need?

There are two more features you need to pick from beyond the basic lamp shape. For one thing, you may need to decide on a lamp assembly. You may also want to attach a decorative finial to the top of your lamp shade.


Lamp assemblies are how a lamp attaches to the bulb of a lamp. The three main types of assembly are uno, spider, and clip-on. Spider is usually the default style that comes with lamps, but you can trade this out for other assemblies if you so choose.

Your assembly will usually not affect how your lamp appears in a room. The main reason that you'll want to change from spider and uno to clip-on had to do with your styling preferences. If you're a person who likes constantly changing the lamp shades in your home, a clip-on assembly facilitates this better.


A finial is a fastener that holds a lamp shade in place. These can be normal and boring. However, several decorative versions can add a whole other level of design to your piece.

Just be sure that the finial style you choose matches the rest of your decor. You don't want it to cause a clashing issue.

For a Wide Variety of Lamp shades, Search Through Our Selection

As you can tell from this lamp shade guide, it should take a lot of time and effort to find the right lamp shades for your home. You may end up feeling frustrated and impatient as a result of this. If you do, remember that the beautiful way your home will look will be worth it in the end.

Also, while you're searching for the perfect lamp shade, check out our selection. We stock the widest range of light fittings under the roof of our eastern Sydney suburb home. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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