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How to Select the Proper Lampshade

A carefully selected lampshade will make your lamp really special as well as maximize the function of the lamp. You should choose a shade with a shape that follows the general contours of the lamp. Square lamps look best with square shades and round lamps look best with round shades. A shapely lamp can take a shapely shade. An interesting alternative is to repeat the shape of the BOTTOM BASE of the lamp in the shade’s shape. For example, try a square shade on a round ginger jar with a square wood base.

The height of the shade should never exceed the height of the body of the lamp. Generally, the shade is 1/3 the total height of the table lamp. The more slender the body of the lamp, the shallower the shade can be. Often you will need to change the size of the harp on your lamp when you change the lampshade. The more flared the shade, the shorter the harp you need. The bottom of the lampshade should come to the top of the body of the lamp so that no mechanical parts except the neck show. The bottom of the shade should also fall at the eye level of the user.

While shades add the finishing touch to a lamp, they should also be selected to produce the amount of light required. Translucent white and ivory shades give off a gentle overall light while opaque shades focus light down for reading or illuminating objects on a table. Although it’s best to keep all the “white” shades in a room the same color (keep to the tones of the wall or trim color), an occasional colored or black shade can add pizzazz and diversity.

©2005 Ashton Harrison. All Rights Reserved.

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8 Responses to “How to Select the Proper Lampshade”

  1. Bob Bourret says:

    We recently bought 2 replacement SOL lampshades. The lable says that they are washable. How does one safely wash a lampshade? Thanks.

  2. ashton says:

    How to wash a lampshade:
    Most better-quality lampshades are washable. Look for real brass frames (steel will rust) and fabric (not paper) linings. Soak in tub of lukewarm water and mild soap like Woolite or clear hand dishwashing liquid, then rinse and hang to dry. We also sell a shade cleaning brush for light cleaning or dusting.
    Ashton Harrison

  3. Jennifer says:

    How does the diameter of the shade figure in the equation?

  4. ashton says:

    The bottom diameter of the table lamp shade should NOT exceed the height of the base of the lamp.

  5. Judy Scruggs says:

    Thanks. Website is very helpful.

  6. Judy Scruggs says:

    Qhestions and answers very helpful.

  7. shiloh smith says:

    I have a table with a lamp that comes up out of it. the light bulb hangs down over the table. It seems that I would need a uno type lamp shade but the socket doesn’t have any threads on it for the lamp shade to screw onto. Is there another type of shade that I can make work?

  8. ashton says:

    If the lamp is a “downbridge” lamp, you can simply go to your closest lighting repair store and ask for a socket shell that has uno threads on it. Use a screwdriver to press and loosen the socket shell top half on your lamp and it will pop off. Then snap the new piece on and you are ready to screw on an uno shade! Our retail store in Richmond, Va (804-288-6515) can send you the part & a new uno shade if you like.

    Let us know if we can help with anything else!
    Ashton Harrison

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