How do i determine correct lamp shade size?

  9 answers
  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Jun 22, 2021

    Here's the "Golden Rule":

    First, measure the base and height of your lamp. The shade should be twice as wide as the lamp base, and one third of the total height of the lamp. So for a 6-inch lamp base, the shade should be at least 12 inches wide. And if the total height of the lamp (including the bulb and harp) is 24 inches, the shade should be 8 inches tall.


  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Jun 22, 2021

    I like the "rule" above but if you don't have a lamp base or it's a floor lamp, it won't really work.

    I would go "trial and error" by placing similar type item like an old shade, trash can or container that is somewhat cylindrical or DIY something out of paper to place and get an idea of what is pleasing to you.

    This will help prevent purchasing and returning shades.

  • on Jun 22, 2021

    The answer above is great! Another way is to take your lamp to the lighting store and try a bunch of different shades until you find one that you like best. :)

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Jun 22, 2021

    Great question to figure out if there’s a specific mathematical formula. I have always taken my lamp up to the shade aisle and played with options to see what shape color or height that I find attractive.

  • Mogie Mogie on Jun 22, 2021

    • Start by removing the lamp shade from the lamp to make it easier to measure.
    • Place a measuring tape across the top of the lamp shade, from edge to edge and as close to center as possible, to find the top diameter. Write down this measurement.
    • If you have a square lamp shade, measure along its width from corner to corner to get the top measurement.
    • Flip the lamp shade upside down and measure from one edge to the opposite edge across the bottom diameter, just as you did when measuring the top. Write down this measurement.
    • Flip the lamp shade right-side up. Find the length of the slant by measuring from the top edge of the lamp shade to its bottom edge. The measuring tape should lay flat against the shade’s slope. Write down this measurement.
    • If you are measuring a square lamp shade with no slant, measure its height from top edge to bottom edge. Use this measurement as your “slant.”
    • You can also measure the height of the lamp shade by starting at the bottom edge and measuring straight up. The height will be the measurement that is level with the top edge. While not usually a part of a lamp shade’s measurements, knowing the height of a lamp shade will help you pick a shade that best suits your lamp.

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Jun 23, 2021

    1/3 of the lamp size

  • Betsy Betsy on Jun 25, 2021

    Hi Bonnie: A lot depends on the look you want. If you like the tubular look, get a shade that's the shape you wnat and the length you want. Some people like shades that are flared out a lot, some just a bit. I found this:

    The width of the shade should be at least as wide as the widest part of the lamp and can be up to 2x the width.

    The shade should be 40% to 60% of the height of your lamp. For example a 30″ lamp might have a 13″ shade.

    If you buy a lamp without a shade, it typically comes with a harp, measure the harp and add an inch or so for the minimum height for your shade.

    Be sure to leave 2 to 3 inches of space between your bulb and the shade.

    Match your shade to the mood of the base.

    You'd think it would be easy, wouldn't you? :)

    Good luck and hope this helps

  • In all honesty, there are no rules. Go with what makes you happy and looks proper to you.