How To Measure a Lampshade Size - OKA
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  • How To Measure A Lampshade

    Navigating the world of lamps and lampshades can be a tricky business. You’ve fallen in love with a lamp base but now you need to choose a lamp shade to go with it and show it off to its full glory. Where do you begin? You could go through every single lampshade and try it on the lamp but that is both a) time consuming and b) not possible if you’re buying online. To help, we’re sharing our handy guide to picking the perfect lampshade, and all you need is a tape measure and knowledge of simple ratios.



    Start by measuring the lamp base itself and making a note of the width and height. There are three golden rules to remember when sizing up your lampshade:


    Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Keeping everything in proportion is vital so your lamp isn’t dwarfed by a giant shade or unbalanced by a small one. Should you be in a dilemma when your lamp is in between two sizes of lampshade, choose the larger of the two as proportionally it sits better and distributes more light. A shade that is too small for a lamp looks parsimonious!

    The perfect sized lampshade should hide the fittings underneath without encroaching upon the lamp base itself. Bear in mind where you will be positioning your lamp in the room; will there be plenty of space around it, or will it be in close proximity to a wall, a piece of furniture or placed near the path of frequent footfall? If so, it makes sense to choose one with a narrow profile and pair it with an equally narrow shade, then it’s less likely to get damaged.



    Now you’ve worked out the correct size of lampshade, you need to decide which shape suits the lamp best. From the classic shape of an empire-line shade to the more modern rectangular style, there’s a wide selection to choose from (and too much choice can sometimes be a bad thing). A general rule of thumb is that you should aim to mirror the shape of the base in your lampshade, but column lamps are the exception as they suit any shape of lampshade.

    • If the base is tapered or round, the lampshade should be sloping, or rounded i.e. empire, drum or cone.
    • If the base is straight, square or rectangular, the lampshade needs to reflect the straight lines and be square or rectangular as well.



    The colour of your lampshade can alter depending on the time of year, as well as your own personal taste and the decor of the room it will be living in. During spring and summer, opt for pale, neutral hues such as off-white and cream, then switch to darker colours when autumn arrives. A natural or grey toned lampshade looks good from January to December and will work in any scheme, so it’s a safe choice if you’re undecided about what colour to choose. If your lamp base features a multitude of colours, picking one and highlighting that particular colour in your lampshade can also look really effective.



    Depending on the style of lampshade, some fabrics make more sense than others. If you’re searching for a simple lampshade, one made from card, cotton or linen ticks that box nicely. These work well all year round so if you’re not likely to swap your lampshades seasonally, they would be the obvious choice. For something more elegant, silk is a wonderful alternative, and the best choice of fabric for a pleated lampshade. The style and material of the lamp itself can also influence the fabric used for the lampshade. A base with a smooth finish might call for a contrasting lampshade with lots of texture and detail; likewise, a lampshade with a similar feel as the base helps to unify the lamp.

    Tracery Table Lamp



    If you tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to using bold patterns in your home decor, now is your chance to experiment with a design you love on a lampshade. For simple lamp bases such as the traditional column style, a patterned lampshade can draw attention to a previously unremarkable lamp. Don’t let the lampshade compete with your lamp base; a show-stopping lamp base that features multiple colours requires a more subdued lampshade so it remains the focus. Or use a plain lamp base like the red one below, sit modestly for the pattern on top. Most of the fabrics used for our lampshades are also used on cushions as well, so it’s easy to match your shade with other accessories for a co-ordinated scheme.

    These five tips are a great start for those previously unversed in fitting a lampshade, but most of the time, just trust your instincts; your eye will naturally know what type of lampshade looks best with each lamp base. But if you need a little help, why not take a look at our do’s and don’ts to remember when choosing your lampshade.




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