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Article: How to Choose the Perfect Lamp Base & Lampshade

How to Choose the Perfect Lamp Base & Lampshade

How to Choose the Perfect Lamp Base & Lampshade

Choosing the perfect pairing of a lamp base and lampshade can be quite tricky. You might be on our website and have fallen in love with one of our lampshades,  want a base and don’t know which size would be best or you might have a great lamp base at home and want to choose the right size lampshade from our ever-growing collection. I’m going to give you a bit of help on getting it right and finding the perfect fit.

Scroll down to learn some tips and tricks or watch the video we created below.

 What is the best size lampshade for a table lamp? 

drawing of a lampshade

To find the best size lampshade, start by measuring the lamp base itself using a tape measure (or ruler). For the height, measure from the lamp base to the bottom of the rod, so the rod and the bulb holder are not included in the measurement. Make a note of the height (shown as c). Then measure the width of your lampshade, measurement b. The golden rule to remember when it comes to choosing the perfect base and shade is this:
The width of the lampshade should be equal to the height of the base,
so b = c.

rainbow reef lampshade on nare head base

 Naturally, there are exceptions to every rule. Keeping everything in proportion is really important so your lamp base isn’t dwarfed by a giant shade or unbalanced by a small one. If your lamp is in between two sizes of lampshade, choose the larger of the two as proportionally it will look better and will distribute more light. A shade that is too small for a lamp looks very odd! Obviously there are exceptions to every rule, for example, our 20cm shade looks great on our Bolitho or Zennor bases as they are narrow and the shade looks very elegant,  but if you follow this guide, you shouldn't go far wrong! You can always ask us for advise as well!

Floor lamps are a little trickier when it comes to working out what size and shape of lampshade is needed. Often they are tall and narrow, so shape-wise they’ll suit drum, empire, rectangular or square lampshades. To determine what lampshade size you need for your floor lamp, measure the height of the lamp base from the bottom to the top of the bulb rod, then divide by four to get an approximate height for the shade.

Don’t forget to take into account how much room you have around your shade – you can always go a size down if it’s too close to other pieces of furniture – and also trust your eye. At the moment, we only have our Tripod bases which look good in any setting. The shade to use on this is a 45cm one for the perfect fit.

tripod lamp base with shipwreck lampshade

What is the right shape lampshade for your lamp base?
Now you’ve worked out the correct size of lampshade, you need to decide on the right shape. We have oval in our Trenwith range and all of our other lampshades are drum, as we feel this suits most lamp bases. 

If you do have another shape, such as an empire or a rectangular one, then it’s best to mirror the shape of your base with your shade. So if your base has straight lines, then go a shade which reflects this, if your base is tapered or round then you can choose an empire, drum or coolie.

The exception to this rule is a column lamp base such as our range of solid beech ones, they suit every shade and you can wax or paint them in a colour of your choice.

seahorse lampshade and bolitho base

Choosing a colour and pattern for your lampshade

 I really like changing out my soft furnishings as the seasons change: it’s so easy to make a room look completely different just by a different lampshade and a couple of cushions. Our lampshades are very decorative and really set the interior scheme of a room. We’ve deliberately chosen plain or textured bases so that they easily work with any of our shades, complimenting them rather than detracting from them.

If you're unsure of using bold patterns in your home decor, now is your chance to experiment with design. Our collections are designed to work together, so you can be confident that the cushions you buy will co-ordinate perfectly with your lampshade and base. As always, we are here to help. If you're stuck, give us a call or send us a picture of your room and we'll be happy to help with some suggestions.

Unique Luxury Rockpool Lampshade-Made in Cornwall-Homewares-Cream Cornwall
 How do I fit a lampshade?

 Our lampshades have a fixed fitting that comes with a converter ring, making the shade compatible with either an E14 or an E27 bulb holder. Attach the shade directly to the base using the socket cap provided. You can then screw in a bulb of choice. 

We make all of our lamp bases at our warehouse in Penryn. We have a dedicated lampshade making room and all of our shades are made for you when you order. This means that they aren't sitting around on a shelf getting damaged and so are pristine when they are sent out. It also means that we're quite flexible and can create shades for a particular project. We can make up to 1 metre in diameter and have sent shades all over the world.

You might like to join our Cream Collective Facebook page where we can give you tips and advice. We love interiors and can help you with your choices if you're stuck. 

Just send us an email and we'll be in touch. 

Rebecca and Allison 


I love all your stock : such amazing designs ! I am a potential customer : very tempting !

Annie Benfield

Looks amazing.unforgetable…how to choose ? very helpful comments thank you.

Linda Gardiner

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