When buying a lamp shade for a new or an existing lamp in your home, the most important consideration is making sure that your new shade fits well – for both functional and aesthetic reasons. In this blog, we explore how to measure a lamp shade, to provide you with a brief lamp shade size guide, and the information you require to size your shade before you buy.
You might know the type of design or color that you would like for your new lamp shade, but do you know the size you require? Using some simple measurements and checking lamp bulb fittings will help to save you time and ensures the perfect shade size for your new, or existing, lamp base.
To help you select your new lamp shade, you can also read our blogs on Choosing The Right Size of Lamp Shade, and How To Select A Lamp Shade Shape, for more information about the types of lamp shade styles available.
How To Measure a Lamp Shade - Existing Lamp Shades
There are three main measurements that you will need to take note of:
Measuring top x bottom x sides is the main formula used for measuring all lamp shades.
(T x B x S)
Square, rectangle and oval shaped lamp shades are all measured by top x bottom x sides. This method of measuring also applies to tapered lamp shades with a smaller diameter at the top than at the base of the lamp shade.
Round lamp shades are measured by the top, bottom, and sides. If measuring an oval lamp shade, measure the diameter at the widest part and also at the smallest, and make a note of these two measurements. Do the same for the bottom of the shade if this is wider.
For table lamps, in addition to these three measurements there is a fourth dimension to note; the height from the very top of your shade to the bottom of the lamp base, in a straight line. As a rule, it’s best to ensure that the shade is around half of the total height of your lamp base.
Replacing or updating your lamp shade will be much easier now that you have taken down all of these measurements.
How To Measure a Lamp Shade - Buying a New Lamp Shade
If you need to measure a lamp shade for a lamp base only, measure your lamp base in height, and diameter.
As a general rule, your new lamp shade should be approximately half the height of your lamp base and around two times the diameter.
For ceiling shades, the most important factors are the clearance height beneath the lamp shade, and where the ceiling lamp shade will be hung (i.e., above a table or in a hall), as this will determine how wide your shade should be. A rough estimate is to ensure that you leave around 7-8 feet beneath where your ceiling light shade will be hung, to allow people to walk underneath comfortably.
If your new ceiling lamp shade will be placed above a dining table or console, the best rule to follow is to ensure that your lamp is proportionally considered to the size of the table. For a large table, measure the width of the table, and ensure that your lamp shade is no more than a third or two-thirds of the whole table width. For a small table (such as a console or bedside table) consider proportion and make sure that the difference between lamp shade size and side table size isn’t too great.
Light Bulb Fittings
There are many different types of lampshade fittings. When selecting a shade for an existing lamp base, it’s important to check what sort of light fitting your lamp has. You should find that your light has either a regular bulb clip or a candle bulb clip that keeps the shade in place. Whether a regular or candle bulb clip, this will affect how the shade fitting should be shaped, as one is rounder than the other.
A regular bulb clip is circular in shape. A candle bulb clip is shaped like the flame of a candle. You’ll be able to see a distinct difference in each one, and you will need to consider this when buying your new shade, as the wrong type means that your shade will not fit.
As a note, regular bulb clips work well with washer and spider fitters, hurricane or chimney fitters, and Nardi or slip UNO fitters.
Candle bulb clips are best suited for threaded UNO fitters, reflector bowl fitters, and euro fitters. The lampshade itself determines the wattage that emitted from the bulb because it serves as a filter for the light.
If you are unsure of exactly which bulb fitting your lamp has, contact us via our online form, and we will be able to help.