How Big Should a Lampshade Be? [by Lamp Location]

Lampshades are comparable to hats – if they’re too small or too big, they’ll look rather ludicrous on the wearer’s head. If you pick out the right shade proportions, the result will be remarkably satisfying. In this post, we’ve looked up some of the ideal lampshade sizes to help you decide just what you need for your lamp base.  

So, how big should a lampshade be? Here’s how to determine the ideal size for a desk, floor, or ceiling lamp:

  • Desk lamps – The size of your lampshade should be about 60 and 80 percent of the base’s height. For example, if the base is 15 inches high, the lampshade size should have a height of about 9 to 12 inches. 
  • Floor lamps – The size of any floor shade should range between 30 to 50 percent of the lamp base’s height. If the base has a 50-inch-height, the lampshade size should be between 15 and 25 inches. 
  • Ceiling lamps – Add the length of your room to its width to find your ceiling lampshade’s right size. If the room measures 12 feet by 14 feet, your lampshade size should be 26 inches wide.

It’s alright if you still need more explanation on lampshade sizes. That’s why we’ve taken the time to do some extensive research to provide you with factful and helpful information. We have it all covered in this post. We hope you’ll be inspired to get just the right cover size for your lamp by the end of it!

Cozy living room with sofa and lampshade and glass window, How Big Should a Lampshade Be? [by Lamp Location]

How Big Should A Lampshade Be? 

Desk Lampshades

Desk lampshades come in various shapes and sizes; there’s no such thing as an ideal bigness or smallness of a lampshade. Therefore, it’s essential to keep your shade proportional to the shape and size of the base of your lamp. 

To find the right shade size for your desk lamp, there are two ways to go about it. One way is to measure the diameter across the base of your lamp. If your lamp base measures 30cm, your lampshade should automatically measure 30cm. 

Another way to do it is by measuring the height of your base. The size of your lampshade should be approximately 60 to 80 percent of your final result. If your lamp’s base has a height of about 50 inches, then the lampshade’s size should be somewhere between 15 to 25 inches. 

Shallow focus of a generic metal table lamp seen on a modern, wooden work table

When picking a shade for a smaller lamp base, choose one with a width of between 15 and 20 inches. Your preferred lampshade should have a 5cm diameter (plus or minus of the base height. Therefore, if you have a 40-inch-tall lamp, choose a shade that’s between 35 and 35 inches wide.

Floor Lampshades 

You can get the right shade size for your floor lamp by measuring the lamp height and calculating 30 to 50 percent of that figure. The measurement should be done directly from the base up to the bulb holder’s tip. For example, if your lamp’s height is 12 inches, the shade’s best size should be approximately 10 to 14 inches.

Generally, floor lamps should be 18 inches (45cm) or bigger at the base’s diameter. This size provides a practical proportion that’s respective to the base of the lamp. When shopping for a lampshade, you also need to consider where you’re going to place it.

A huge shade won’t look all that great in small rooms with a load of clutter. In bigger spaces, however, you won’t have to worry about getting sizeable lampshades. “The bigger, the better” works pretty well in such a space.

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Ceiling Lampshades 

Getting the right lampshade size for your ceiling lamp is achieved by getting the room’s length, width, and height. Start by adding the length and width of the room. The result will be the ideal diameter for your lampshade. Get the measurements in feet, then swap the total value for inches, and add them together. 

For example, if your room length is 10 feet, and the width is 12 feet, add the two values together. The 22 feet – now 22 inches – is the ideal diameter for your shade.

To get the height of the lampshade, measure your room’s height from floor to ceiling. Multiply the value by 2.5 inches to 3 inches per foot. For example, if your room height is 10 feet, multiply it by 2.5” to 3” to get 25 to 30 feet. Swap the feet to inches so that it becomes 25 to 30 inches, and that’s your absolute lampshade height. 

Therefore, the lampshade for this ceiling lamp should be 22 inches wide and stand at the height of about 25 to 30 inches. 

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Finding the right lampshade size for your lamp isn’t so complicated as you can see. Provided you get your figures right; there’s no way you can get your lampshade size wrong!

Can A Lampshade Fit Any Lamp? 

If any lampshade would fit into any lamp, then there would be no need to measure the lamp base/height or the room’s height. As mentioned earlier, every lamp comes with its specific lampshade size.

Lampshades that fit correctly will complement or match your lamp’s base in various aspects, including color, style, shape, proportions, and of course, size. Smaller lamp bases need smaller shades, while the larger bases need larger lampshades. The whole idea is basically to match the design and mood of the lamp base. 

Hanging a lampshade that goes contrary to the base’s dimensions may lead to a disastrous finish. If you want to replace your current shade with a decorated one, but it doesn’t fit, why not decorate the one you have now? Read How to Decorate A Lampshade [Best 4 Suggestions] for the best ideas. 

That’s why some manufacturers today list their lampshades with a fixed set of measurements. The values are almost always listed across the top, bottom, height, and slant (where applicable). 

Aside from the shade size, you also need to know the kind of fitter your lamp uses. Fitters are the components used by lamp shades to attach themselves to the body of the lamp. There are three major kinds of lamp fitters: Spider, UNO, and clip-on fitters. Read more about “spiders” in the next point.

A top view of a lampshade’s spider fitter with shadow in the back

Spider Fitter

UNO Fitter

Clip-on Fitter

What Does “Spider” Mean In Lampshades?

Just so you know, tarantulas have nothing to do with lampshades. A ‘spider’ or spider lampshade is simply the fitting in a lampshade. They’re also referred to as “washer fittings.” 

To know if your lampshade is a spider, look at its top part. It usually has a circular, washer-type piece of metal that’s positioned in the middle. The spider often consists of metallic arms that join to the lampshade’s top interior rim and meet at the center to a circular metallic disc that looks a lot like a washer – hence the name washer fittings.

Lampshade spiders connect a lamp base and lampshade via two vital components: the harp and the finial. The harp is a ‘U’ shaped metallic piece with two ends that slide into a saddle, and the finial joins the shade and the harp together. 

It has a screw that fits into the harp’s top that goes through the spider’s circular middle piece. The finial fits right through it to securely attach the shade onto the harp. 

If your lamp’s base has a finial and harp fixed to it, you need a shade that features a spider fitting. 

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How Do Lampshades Attach?

It’s simple. A lampshade frame is usually made with fitter parts that extend to the interior to fit perfectly with the lamp base. Lamps are made with a harp fitter that shoots up from the bottom of the lamp socket to offer a platform whereby the shade can be stationed and fastened by a finial.

Lampshades are often made with spider fitters that sometimes have notches to sit on top of the lamp’s reflector bowl. The shade then fits into the inside of a UNO fitter hardware. This tool generally extends from the socket cap and is secured tightly by a finial. Position the finial at the top of the lampshade. 

The lampshade is securely fixed in place by a screw-on washer fitter that is often made with certain decorative features. It is often structured like a regular washer and has a hollow at the center that slips directly over the harp’s rod. 

Knowing how to attach your lampshade comes in handy when you need to redesign your room décor or update your lamp’s lighting scheme. If you need to redesign your bedroom or living room walls, read 75+ Modern Wallpaper Designs You should Check Out for the best ideas!

It’s worth mentioning that different lamp shades have varying attachment methods. It’s essential to read the directions offered by the manufacturer before attempting to attach a lampshade. 

One More Thing…

To choose the right width for your lampshade, measure the base, and multiply the result by two. For square bases, measure diagonally. For circular bases, measure straight across. When considering the lampshade width, consider the location where you want to place it. 

If it’s going to be positioned in a hallway or next to your bed, settle for a narrower shade to prevent costly accidents!

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