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Lamp Shade Replacement 101: Everything You Need to Know

Has your home been feeling blah lately? Is your living room decor feeling passe and uninspired? Are you ready to learn about an easy way that you can fix that dull feeling in minutes? Well, wait no longer, for we have the perfect quick fix here.

As any true professional interior decorator knows, it’s often the smallest design change that can make the largest impact on your space. Adjusting your lighting, your color scheme, even your fixtures, and lampshades can change the whole mood of the room. If you’re wondering what you should look for in lamp shade replacement, wonder no further. Our guide will show you what you need to seek out!

How to Size Your Lamp Shade Replacement

Your first concern when finding a lamp shade replacement should be finding the right size. Nothing makes a lamp look worse than an ill-fitted shade. So, how do you figure out the right size? There are some general rules that you should follow when looking into the matter, depending on whether the lamp is a floor or table lamp.

Sizing a Shade for a Table Lamp

If you want to find replacement lamp shades for table lamps in the right size, you should keep one general rule in mind. This rule states that the width of the lampshade should equal the height of the lamp’s base. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, by any means, and you should always trust your eye in the long run. However, this should give you a general idea of the appropriate proportions.

If the measurements fall between two lamp shade sizes, you should opt for the larger of the two. The proportions will look better, and it will offer greater light distribution.

Sizing a Shade for a Floor Lamp

For floor lamps, you need a shade with a base diameter of eighteen inches or more. However, you need to keep in mind your room and its surrounding clutter. If the room is cluttered, you shouldn’t opt for a shade that’s too large. However, a larger, emptier room would benefit from having a larger lamp shade.

How to Pick the Right Lamp Shade Shape

Your potential replacement lamp shades come in a wide variety of shapes. Below, we’ve listed the most common shapes and the bases with which they’ll work best.

Cylinder or Drum Lamp Shade

The drum or cylinder lampshade is one of the most common types of lampshades in a contemporary home. However, they can sometimes crop up in transitional or traditional styles.

These shades are a simple cylindrical shape with no difference in width from top to bottom, like a taut drum. As such, depending on the material and pattern, they can go with almost any lamp base.

Tapered Drum Lamp Shade

The tapered drum lampshade mimics the shape of the drum lampshade, but with a slight tapering at the top. This shape, like the cylinder lampshade, goes well with almost any lamp base. This makes them exceptional all-rounders if you want to pick one shade shape and stick with it in a room.

Square Lamp Shade

Square lampshades are a contemporary fixture with equal height and length. In order to pair well with its base, you’ll need to have either a square-shaped or thin and dainty base. (You can check out this store if you’re curious as to what square shaped lamp shade replacements might look like!)

Rectangle Lamp Shade

Rectangle lampshades, like square lampshades, work best when paired with a lampshade that mimics its strong internal structure. These shades also look quite contemporary or even industrial, depending on the base they’re paired with.

Bell Lamp Shade

The bell lampshade is a more classical design, better suited to traditional home decor. As the name would suggest, it’s tapered at the top and flares out like a bell. It works well with extremely ornate bases.

Hexagon Lamp Shade

Hexagon lampshades are a bit of an odd duck, straddling the line between classic and contemporary. Due to their somewhat off-the-wall look, they need geometric or bold-colored lamp bases paired with them.

Empire Lamp Shade

When you think of lampshades, the empire lampshade is the shape that most likely comes to mind. What sets them apart from tapered drums and other similar shapes is their specific proportions. The top of the base is specifically around half the width of the bottom. This lampshade can go with pretty much any decor style, depending on what you pair it with.

Coolie Lamp Shade

Coolie lampshades have an extremely distinct conical shape. They’re a great match for contemporary and modern decor styles. You need to opt for a simple base with this shade, however, as anything too distinctive will make the entire fixture overwhelming.

Dome Lamp Shade

Dome lampshades have an antique, vintage feel to them, and often come in glass. These shades work best with thin, dainty, or cylindrical bases.

What Materials Can You Find?

Replacement lampshades can come in a wide variety of materials, each with its own decorative flair and benefits. While almost any material, including metal and mica, can be made into a lampshade, we’ll focus on the most common ones below. These common materials include, but are by no means limited to:

Parchment or Paper Lampshades

Parchment and paper lampshades both are simple, rolled, clean structures that suit minimalist and contemporary esthetics. This goes double if the lampshade is painted and printed in a block color. However, the design limits for paper and parchment lampshades only extend as far as your imagination, since you can print almost any pattern on the shade.

Silk Lampshades

Silk lampshades are quite popular, especially with traditional decor styles. Pleated silk shades are a classic symbol of antique decor and can add a touch of elegance and class to any room they’re in. The only downside to them is that they’re sometimes expensive and difficult to clean.

Cotton, Polyester, and Linen Lampshades

Cotton, polyester, and linen are other common materials used for fabric lampshades. Unlike silk, they’re easier to keep clean and can come in a wider variety of colors and patterns. They often have wired frames and hard backing to give them reinforced structures.

Glass Lampshades

As mentioned above, most dome-shaped lampshades you find will be made of glass. However, you can find replacement glass lamp shades in any shape, including rectangular. The stronger geometric shapes will have a more contemporary or art deco look. You can find glass lampshades in clear, opaque, or even stained-glass varieties. 

While glass lampshades are gorgeous and easy to clean, they’re fragile. Be careful when relocating a lamp with a glass lampshade on it.

Crystal Lampshades

Most crystal lampshades are created on a rounded base. They’re made from a cluster of prismatic crystals wired into a single shade. They scatter light like a chandelier, and add a hint of old Hollywood glamor to any room they’re placed in.

How to Pick the Right Color and Pattern

Now that you have your choice in size, shape, and material in hand, you need to figure out what color and pattern will work best with your space. Below, we have some considerations to keep in mind when choosing your lampshade’s color.

Complement the Color Scheme of the Room

As with any other element of interior decoration, you need to ensure that you’re complementing the color scheme you have in the room. While a bold pop of a contrast color can make for a great focal piece, a bright neon orange lampshade would ill befit an otherwise traditional room. Likewise, you wouldn’t want a subdued, austere stained-glass lampshade in an otherwise modern and minimalist room.

How Much Light Will the Shade Allow?

While the primary function of a lampshade is to prevent the bare lightbulb from searing your retinas, you should still consider how much light the lampshade will let through. Bad lighting can ruin a room’s mood, so if you can, try to test the lamp with the shade you want to use in advance.

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Bold and Make a Statement

As mentioned above, you don’t want to clash with your existing decor. However, you shouldn’t be afraid to choose striking colors and bold patterns. Floor lamps make for exceptional visual focal points for a large living room, so get creative with the shades you place on them. Bolder lampshades can add a touch of drama to a room without the need to purchase some other piece of kitschy decor.

Finding the Right Lamp Shade: A Review

So, if you’re looking for a lamp shade replacement, what do you need to consider? First, you must keep in mind the lampshade’s size and shape. Then, consider its material and the color, and how each will fit into your existing decor. With each of these in mind, you’ll be able to find the perfect replacement lamp shades every time.

If you need more assistance with your next interior decoration project, check out our blog each day for more in-depth articles like this one!