how to choose the perfect lamp shade - the complete guide

Concerned about clashes, mismatched styles or choosing the wrong size? Fear not! We’ve made it easy for you to select the ideal decorative lamp shade with this comprehensive guide.

Choosing a lamp shade seems straightforward, but the challenge lies in harmonizing it with two key elements: the room’s décor and the lamp base. With an array of lamp shade patterns, shapes, sizes and materials, finding the perfect match becomes crucial.

Let’s dive into our top tips to help you learn more about the many different types of lamp shades on offer.

Choosing the right lamp shade size

Selecting the correct size is paramount when it comes to lamp shades.
Shopping for a lampshade is like finding the perfect hat - size and shape is everything. There are rules of thumb sometimes offered up (for example "For a table lamp, go for a lamp shade whose base diameter is approximately the same as the lamp's height") but in the end, it's a blend of the shape of the lamp (tall, skinny, round), where the lamp is going to be placed and your own personal preference. Our mix and match tool on the website is a really helpful tool to help get it right.

Matching shade size with the room

Consider the space where your lamp shade will reside. A large, spacious room can support a larger floor lamp shade, while a smaller space may appear overwhelmed by it. A small lamp shade might seem isolated in a vast room, especially if it's the sole source of light. For table lamps, factor in the table size and surrounding furnishings.

Choosing the best lamp shade shape

Selecting the right shape contributes to defining your interior design. Match the lamp base and shade shapes for a cohesive look.

Here are some lamp shade shapes:

lamp shade shapes

Empire lamp shades

These classic frustum shapes are suitable for various interior designs, whether it’s a contemporary, industrial, or traditional design.

Tall tapered lamp shades

Sleek, elegant and ideal for smaller, narrow spaces like an entry hall table or on small end tables.

Drum lamp shades

Clean and cylindrical-shaped, drum lampshades are perfect for contemporary interiors. They typically have a wide rim and straight sides, and their symmetrical design allows light to evenly disperse from top to bottom.

They are also incredibly versatile, available in a variety of styles including tapered drum and short drum lamp shades. With their neat, geometric design, drum shades fit seamlessly in any contemporary space.

Unique lamp shades

Unique lamp shades

Cone shades

Ideal for achieving a stylish and distinctive appearance, these cone shades, with their broad conical shape, emit a welcoming circle of gently diffused light, infusing the surroundings with natural warmth and atmosphere.

Scalloped empire shades

Enhancing spaces with their beautiful, curved edges, our scalloped empire shades create intriguing and authentic atmospheres.

Extreme empire shades

Adding depth and drama with their exaggerated angles, our extreme empire shade create a statement in any room.

Choosing the lamp shade material

Lamp shades come in various materials, each with its unique appeal. Some favorites at Pooky include...

Silk lampshades

Opt for a minimalist, modern touch by selecting a designer silk lamp shade in a neutral tone. These lamp shades, available in rolled or 'pleated' styles with textured, pleated effects, offer a warm, natural glow. Keep in mind that silk attracts dust more easily, requiring regular care for a pristine look.

Cotton lamp shades

Cotton makes a fantastic choice for your lamp shades. It's durable, easy to clean, and highly versatile. Create your desired ambiance by choosing a cotton lamp shade in the right shape and color. Explore our designer block-printed cotton lamp shades at Pooky, ideal for pairing or contrasting with your home's color scheme. For a sustainable aesthetic, consider our beautiful range of natural jute shades in delicate, beige tones, adding a rustic touch to any neutral interior.

Linen lamp shades

Explore the smart and versatile look of natural linen lamp shades, perfect in plain colors or eye-catching ikat prints. Similar to cotton, our online selection includes gathered linen shades. With a lighter weight and slightly coarser texture, linen provides a laid-back, natural feel to your interior. For added character, consider a stonewashed linen shade—a great choice for enhancing your space.

Paper and parchment lamp shades

Discover the clean, contemporary allure of rolled parchment lamp shades – an ideal choice for modernists or minimalists – especially when printed in block colors. Our parchment paper undergoes a meticulous process: hand-pressed, color-dyed, and sealed with wax, with a soft cotton lining inside. Explore the dazzling results of our marbled paper lamp shades, crafted in Jaipur using traditional techniques for a professional and authentic touch.

Once you've made your selection, it's important to pair it with the correct lightbulb that keeps it working safely and effectively too.

patterned lamp shades

Choosing the right lamp shade design and color

This is the fun part! From traditional Indian-inspired ikat patterns to simple block colors, lamp shades offer endless possibilities for complementing your room's décor. Experiment with colors and designs to refresh and transform your space affordably.

A few of our favourite lamp shade designs and patterns include;

  • Geometric lamp shades for quirky, stylish interiors
  • Fantastic ikat patterns for a striking contrast
  • Contrasting lamp shades to make a subtle design statement
  • Lovely floral lamp shades for a cozy, timeless feel

Refreshing and replacing your lamp shades is a quick and remarkably effective way to transform a room – and a lot cheaper than redecorating! With our clip-on lamp shades, you could swap and switch as you please.

Enhancing your interior with lamp shade design

Ensure your new lamp shade complements your interior effortlessly. Use Pooky's interactive "lights on" feature to see how the fabric looks when the bulb is lit.

Creating the right light with a lamp shade

Crafting the perfect ambiance with a lamp shade involves considering the luminance, or light diffusion capability, which varies based on the material's translucency.

Translucent shades, like light paper and silk shades, gently diffuse light, making them ideal for ambient or reading settings. For a brighter effect, choose shades with a white or off-white inner surface. In snug corners, a translucent ivory shade provides a soothing pool of light.

Opaque shades, available in both opaque and semi-opaque, cast light above and below but not through the sides—perfect for decorative accent lighting. Darker shades tend to be more opaque, absorbing lumens for a distinct ambiance.

color schemes

Do lamp shades have to match a color scheme?

Lamp shades are a great way to add a pop of color without adhering to a strict color scheme. A flamboyant lamp shade, particularly on a floor lamp, can make a dramatic design statement without breaking the bank. Experiment and find the perfect shade to make a design statement.

Ready to discover new lamp shades online? Use our mix-and-match feature to explore different combinations. Don't forget to filter your search by size, material and your favorite designs.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. Let's find the perfect lamp shade for you! Don't hesitate to get in touch.