Proper Lamp Shade Sizes


Selecting the proper lamp shade size is important for both the function and aesthetic appeal of your lamp. A too large or too small shade takes away from your décor and may negatively impact how well the lamp distributes light in your room.


  • Measure the height of your lamp from its base to the bottom of its socket (where the light bulb goes.) The diameter at the widest point of your lamp shade should measure the same or only 2 inches larger or smaller than this height.


  • Determine the height of your lamp shade based on the measurement of your harp, the u-shaped metal piece that fastens the shade to the lamp. Your shade height should measure the same or only a half-inch larger or smaller than this height. If you need to obtain a harp, choose one that measures approximately one third the height of your lamp base.


  • Selecting a lamp shade more than 2 inches smaller in diameter than your lamp’s height is advisable when placing the lamp on a narrow console table or buffet. You do not want the shade to stick out past the edge of the table, as it is easy to bump into the shade and knock the lamp over.

Expert Insight

  • Bring your lamp base with you when selecting a lamp shade so you can try on different shapes and sizes to see what works best with your lamp style.

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  • Photo Credit lamp image by Dmitry Veryovkin from
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