Special Nonexistent Furniture

How to fit a lamp shade

We help you size up lamp shades, showing you how to correctly measure them so you get the right proportions for your lamp bases, plus we break down the different types of lamp shade fittings, so you can ensure your new shade fits properly to your base every time.  

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How to measure lamp shades

When it comes to measuring lamp shades, you need three dimensions:

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Top width

The top width of your lamp shade should ideally be twice the width of the lamp base.

Bottom width

The bottom width of your lamp shade should ideally be twice the width of the lamp base.

Vertical slant or vertical height

The vertical slant or vertical height of your lamp shade should ideally be one-third of the total height of the lamp. This measurement should be measured in a straight line regardless of whether the shade has straight, vertical, sloped or curved edges. Measure from the outside edge of the top of the shade, to the outside edge of the bottom of the shade. It's okay for this to be diagonal when the top of the shade is smaller than the bottom.

Lamp bases and lamp shade fittings

The way that lamp shades attach to lamp bases is often what causes the most confusion when shopping for replacement shades, and the most common question we get is: "why won't my new lamp shade fit on my lamp base". Let's look at the different lamp base fittings first. 

Australian standard lamp base

The Australian Standard lamp base was designed for a bayonet cap (B22) and a 28mm diameter shade ring or washer. 

European standard lamp base

The European Standard lamp base was designed for an Edison screw (E27) bulb and a 43mm diameter shade ring or washer. 

Now, let's look at the different lamp shade fittings:

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Finial Fitting or spider fitting
Finial or spider fittings are used with 'harps'. The fitting is installed on top of the harp, which is the curved piece of metal that's generally included with a lamp base. The lamp shade is often secured to the harp with a finial, which is usually decorative.

UNO fitting 

Also known as Universal fitters, UNO fittings are used on smaller lamps. No harp is required as the UNO fitting attaches directly to the light bulb socket. It is secured by a shade ring that's held in place by the light bulb. The UNO fitting can either be a:

Drop Fitting - where the shade wire drops down from the top of the shade
OR
Base Fitting - where the shade wire is fixed to the bottom of the shade

European Standard fitting

The European Standard (or Edison Screw) fitting also sits over the light bulb socket and is secured by a shade ring that's held in place by the light bulb, but the size of its inner shade ring is slightly larger and measures 43mm in diameter to fit a European Standard lamp base. While the shade rings are larger in size, they are thinner than the shade rings of UNO fittings. 

Most of the lamp shades on our site are 'Euro fitters' and are designed to fit onto a European Standard lamp base (i.e. one for an Edison Screw bulb). Having said that, the shades are supplied with adapter rings to allow them to be fitted onto an Australian Standard lamp base (i.e. one for a bayonet cap or small Edison bulb). 

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Shade recess

Apart from the type of lamp shade fitting you're dealing with, the 'shade recess' is the other important consideration to make when shopping. The 'shade recess' refers to the distance from the edge of the shade to where the shade fits on the lamp. There are several recess types, illustrated below to assist you to identify them, but the most common on tapered shades is the dropped harp (DH) and on drum shades, it is the standard harp (SH). Most of the lamp shades on our site have a recess of 4cm, making them suitable for most lamps.
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