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Here's How to Measure a Lamp Shade in Easy Steps - Rapport Furniture

Here's How to Measure a Lamp Shade in Easy Steps

Whether you’re looking to update your existing fixtures or have just purchased a gorgeous antique lamp base, it’s important that you know how to choose a lampshade that will complement your existing frame and your room.

Lampshades are effective at transforming the vibe of an interior space (in your case, hopefully for the better).

Want to know how to choose a lampshade? Choosing a lampshade involves consideration of shape and size, materials used, and the overall effect a lampshade can have on your décor. You’ll need to specifically measure your lamp base and find an option that works with the style of your room.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to measure a lamp shade in easy steps.

Choosing the Right Lampshade for Your Lamp

There are a number of considerations you’ll want to keep in mind when choosing your next lampshade.

Because lampshades can affect the ambiance, lighting, and overall appeal and functionality of a room, it’s important you know what these considerations are.

Things to consider when purchasing a lampshade:

- Shape

Lampshades come in a variety of shapes, from basic squares and circles to more interesting octagons, drums, empires, and barrels. Though this may seem intimidating at first, the good news is that your lamp base will decide the shape of your shade.

Square lamps get square shades, round lamps get round shades, etc. The basic goal is to keep the geometry the same throughout (straight lines with straight lines and curvy lines with curvy lines) for a more unified and attractive look.

- Balance

You’ll also want to consider balance so that your lamp base and lampshade do not clash. Elaborate lamp bases, therefore, demand simple shades, while plain lamp bases require more detailed and eye-catching lampshades.

- Materials Used

The material your lampshade is made of will influence both the look of your lamp and the light it is able to give off.

Translucent shades, crafted from paper or fabric, are great sources of light, while opaque shades, made from materials such as laminated cards, thick parchment, and even silk, are excellent at creating a more sophisticated atmosphere in your room.

How Do You Determine What Size Lampshade a Lamp Needs?

Of course, you’ll also want to consider lampshade size. It’s this simple: a lampshade that is too big or too small can throw off the vibes in your room (and even affect your lighting).

For this reason, let’s take a look at some specific lampshade sizing information.

If you’re working with just a lamp base, you’ll need to do more than simply guess to find the right size lampshade. Fortunately, a lamp base is all you need to determine the appropriate dimensions of your future shade.

The lamp base rule

Here’s why: lampshade fitting follows a basic rule. Namely, lampshades should be double the width of the lamp base, and they should be one-third of the total height of the lamp. You can easily take these dimensions with a tape measure.

Let’s examine a practical example:

Say that you have a four-inch lamp base that’s twenty-one inches tall. If that’s the case, you’d need a lampshade that’s eight inches wide (4 x 2) and seven inches tall (21/3).

This simple rule will help you determine the size of your lampshade no matter the shape you are going for.

What Type of Lampshade Gives the Most Light?

Looking for something to brighten up your room? If so, you’ll want to go with white (or at the very least lighter) shades.

While opaque options are great at mood setting, they tend to channel light in an up-and-down direction, making them less functional. This means you’ll want to settle for a translucent option that best fits the shape of your lamp base.

Do Lampshades Need to Match in a Room?

If you can’t find or don’t want to use multiple lampshades of the same design, don’t worry. While you can certainly use identical lampshades throughout your room, this isn’t necessary to craft a refined and visually appealing interior space.

With that being said, however, it’s important that your lampshades relate to one another in some noticeable way.

You may consider choosing lampshades that are made from the same material, are the same shape or color, or play off each other in terms of design and color scheme.

Lampshade Styles and Shapes

Finding the right lampshade for your home involves understanding the different styles and shapes out there.

Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the most popular options, what lamp bases they pair with, and their lighting characteristics:

- Rectangle

Modernist and contemporary, rectangle lamp shades can help give a room serious distinction and are best paired with rectangle bases. These lampshades emit light from both the bottom and the top of the shade.

- Bell

Bell lampshades are eternally popular.

With their distinctive bell shape (narrow at the top before curving down to the bottom), these shades have been staples in many homes for years. They emit light from both the bottom and top of the shades and work best with more intricate bases.

- Empire

Empire lamp shades are among the most easily recognizable, with their wide bottoms and narrow tops.

These ubiquitous shades can make a room appear more traditional but also work in more modernist settings. Empire shades provide light from both the bottom and top of the design and should be paired with cylindric or round bases.

- Coolie

Distinctive and cone-shaped, these classic lampshades work best with cylindric bases. Coolie lampshades give off modernist vibes and provide light from the bottom of the shade.

- Square

Another modernist option, square lampshades are equal on all sides for a neat geometric look. They work best with square bases and emit both top and bottom light.


This simple guide makes buying the perfect lampshade easier than ever. The advice here can help you understand how to choose a lampshade that works for your specific needs.

If you’re looking to buy a lampshade that complements your existing lamp base, boosts the ambiance of your room, and helps pull other elements of your décor together, make sure to use this guide as your reference.

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