The Different Types of Lamp Shades, Explained

Did you know that the lighting in your home can impact your mood, emotions, energy levels, and behavior? On top of that, it can even affect your appetite. When you are decorating your home, the lighting is an essential part of the equation. Not only do your light fixtures provide you the necessary light to go about your daily life, but it also adds to the environmental vibe of both decor and lighting.

If you’ve just started your journey into the world of lampshades, you might find yourself a bit overwhelmed. There are so many different shapes, materials, and options that you can start to lose your footing. However, it can be helpful to break down the different types of lamp shades to help you understand what the standard sizes and materials are so you can make an informed choice you will be happy with for years to come.

Choosing the right lampshade can add more to the decor of your room than you might imagine. Let’s take a look at the best lamp shades for different bases and styles.


How to Choose a Lamp Shade

When you are buying a lampshade, you want to find one that will complement the lamp’s base. Lamp bases are typically found in three different styles, which are candlestick, angular or square, or round. Let’s take a look at some general design rules to help you find the perfect pairing.

A lamp with a candlestick base can look good with just about any type of lampshade. This type of lamp base incorporates both angular and round elements.

For square or angular bases, shades that are rectangular or square can look best.

For round bases, look for a lampshade that is round or hexagonal.


types of lamp shades


How Do Lamp Shades Work?

Lampshades filter, direct, and block light that comes from a lamp. The openings that are at the bottom and the top of the shade allow both heat and light to escape. Lampshades attach to lamps with the use of a fitter that can be attached right to the frame of the lampshade.

Taking a measurement of your lamp can help you determine the size of lampshade you’re looking for. In general, the lampshade should be roughly two-thirds of the height of the base of the lamp. As far as width goes, you can multiply the measurement of the lamp base by two to find a rough ballpark of lampshade width.

Lampshades look best when the widest part of the lampshade is wider than the widest part of the base by at least 1 inch.

Lamp Shade Shapes

You can find lampshades in standard and unusual shapes, so you should have no trouble tracking down the perfect lamp shade for your space. While there are no hard and set rules when it comes to lampshade shapes, there are some standard shapes that can help you familiarize yourself with your options.


An empire lampshade is a classic lampshade style. With a flare the bottom that allows most of the light from the lamp to emit from the shade’s bottom, they match with just about any style or base.

This is one of the best lamp shades for table lamps and is an incredibly popular choice. If you’re adding accent lighting to your room, empire lamp shades are always a safe bet.


Round lampshades provide focused and ambient light. They do this by directing most of the light from the top and bottom of the shade.

Oval lamp shades, drum lampshades, and cone lampshades are all considered round shapes. They can work well on a call floor lamp or over a table.

For accent or task lighting, cone and oval shades work well. They also go with most decor. Drum lampshades are a wonderful choice if you decorate in contemporary, modern, and traditional design styles.


If your home is filled with traditional decor, bell-shaped lampshades can be a good choice. Their sides curve and slope outwards towards the bottom of the shade. This provides soft ambient light while also distributing the maximum amount of light outwards from the bottom.


Rectangular and square lampshades look fast when paired with modern and contemporary decor and lamps. Rather than having circular edges, they have flat edges that give them a modern look. This can be used for both general lighting or task lighting as they emit a good deal of light.


This type of lampshade is primarily used for large floor lamps or overhead light fixtures. They look great with traditional or classic decor and are shaped like a semi-sphere. Most of the light from dome-shaped lampshades is emitted downwards.

Lamp Shade Material

Lampshade shape isn’t the only thing to consider when you’re picking out a shade. The material can impact both the aesthetic of the lampshade as well as the quality of light it gives out. They can range widely in price, fragility, and how easy it is to clean them.


This type of lampshade can be fragile but is very easy to clean. They can either be made of opaque glass or clear glass, as well as art glass and Tiffany glass.

Glass lampshades can be found in a number of different styles, from Arts & Crafts to modern to traditional.


You can find silk lampshades in a wide variety of colors and textures. While they are not the easiest to clean, they provide beautiful filtered light to any room. To learn more about why silk lampshades might be right for you check out the article 10 Reasons Why You’re Going to Love a Silk Lamp Shade”.


You can find metal lampshades in dome shapes or round shapes. They work well for task lighting or for overhead pendant fixtures that hang over tables.


If your style has always incorporated a little bit of red-carpet glamour, consider a crystal lampshade. These shades consist of individual crystal prisms that are connected to create a crystal shade.


If you are looking for an affordable option when it comes to types of lampshades, consider paper. You can find them in a lot of different textures and colors. To help make them rigid, there’s usually a laminated back.

While they are less expensive, paper shades tend to be more fragile than some other lampshade materials.


If you would describe your decor style as rustic, burlap lampshades might be a good choice. Perfect for ambient light and accent light, they offer a natural and earthy charm.


Rattan is a great choice to offer a warm, rustic glow. If your environment of choice would be living on a tropical island, take a look at your rattan lampshade options.


These lampshades are made out of a mineral called mica. Mica flakes are mixed with an organic shellac material to make unique shades. You can mostly find this type of lampshade in Arts and Crafts decor.


A great way to provide soft, pleasant light in your home is with a linen lampshade. Made from the fibers of the flax plant, this is sturdy material can offer a warm and natural style.


You can find fabric lampshades in a ton of different textures and colors. Reinforced by metal frames, these lampshades are incredibly versatile and are hardly ever a bad design choice.


You can find wood lampshades in a variety of different styles, from rustic to ultramodern. Different lampshades will provide a different amount of light depending on their design. Some can offer a delightful and subtle accent light while others can offer bright diffused light.


Bamboo lampshades can offer a tropical and rustic feel to your home. If you’re looking to add a warm glow and a sense of island life, consider bamboo when it comes to lampshade materials.

The Different Types of Lamp Shades: Which One Is Right For Your Home?

Creating the perfect lighting situation in your home can help create the inviting and comfortable environment you’ve always dreamed of. Both the shape and material of lampshades contribute to the overall feel of your room, while also having a practical impact on how much light is available in the space. Understanding all of the various types of lamp shades can help you make a choice that is best suited for your style and your space!

Did you find this article on the different types of lamp shades interesting? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for everything you need to know about interior design!

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