Shapes, sizes: how to choose the right lampshade?

In our shop, you have an endless choice of custom-made lampshades. It is therefore very easy to get lost between all these sizes, shapes and colours. In this article, you will find all our advice on how to choose the size, shape and colour of your ideal lampshade!

Of course, our advice is based on the standard criteria, but if you are interested in a less classic size or shape, please feel free to try it out, or send us the dimensions of your lamp to discuss.

I. Shade shapes

At Abat-jour we offer two types of lampshades, round and rectangular.

Shades with a round base:


The conical shades, with their slender and light shape, fit perfectly with classic decorations or lamp bases.


Less sloping than the conical shade, the drum shade is also known as the American conical, and works well with single or hanging legs.


With a base that is much wider than the top, and a more squashed appearance, the empire shade is perfect for straight lamp bases, giving them the softness of their curve.


Round lampshades are imposing and modern. They have the advantage of being able to fit on all types of stands by adopting the right dimensions.


The oval shades with their trendy curves give your lamp a modern touch and optimal lighting. They are perfect for shallow sideboards or bedside tables.

Lampshades with a rectangular base:


Square shades have an imposing shape but fit perfectly with rounded lamp bases by breaking the shape of the lamp.


Like square shades, rectangular shades have the advantage that they can be placed on shallower furniture.

Pyramid square

More slender and less imposing than a classic square shade, the pyramid square will be perfect for simple lamp bases for a classic theme.

II. The dimensions of the lampshade: the golden rules to respect

Once you have chosen the shape of your lampshade, you need to choose the dimensions, and this is often where things get complicated. Here are the golden rules for choosing the dimensions of your lampshade (once again, these rules correspond to a standard lampshade, but it's up to you to choose what you think is best suited to your foot)

As a general rule, it is advisable to choose a lampshade with a diameter of about 25cm for a bedside lamp, and a lampshade with a diameter of about 45cm for a floor lamp or a lamp stand of more than 60cm.

For a thin foot:

  • For a lampshade with a round base for bedside installation, the bottom diameter of the shade (a) must correspond to the height of the lamp base (b).

  • For a shade with a square base, the length of the front of the shade (a) must correspond to the height of the lamp base (b).

diameter a = height b

For a large foot:

  • Simply take the widest part of the foot (b), and add 5cm on each side to get the standard diameter of the round shade.

  • For a shade with a rectangular base, the same technique: add 5cm to each side of your base (b) and this gives you the size of the front of the shade (a). For the sides, let the lamp breathe: it should be at least 5cm away from the back wall.

diameter a = width b + 10 cm

As a general rule, the height of the shade should be 30% to 40% of the total height of the lamp.

The height of the shade should never exceed the height of the base.

Be careful to take into account the input in your measurements!

  • The recess is the part of the metal structure that goes up inside the shade to support the bulb.

  • On classic structures, this recess measures 4cm in height, so be careful to take it into account in your measurements, especially for a small lampshade, otherwise the bulb may protrude from the shade.

  • If you need a smaller or larger shade, it is perfectly possible. Just specify it in the comments of your order and we will send you a quote for the specific recess.

Where to measure the shade's inset?

For a standard inset, measure the straight height from the bottom of the shade to the mounting washer

For a specific re-entrant, measure the height straight between the top of the shade and the mounting washer

III. The colours of the lampshade

Once the shape and size have been chosen, all that is missing is the colour! It's up to you to choose between plain and printed, coloured or in neutral tones, depending on your style of lamp and decoration.

Note that :

  • In general, neutral colours are used for living rooms and rooms with light tones.

  • Coloured shades (solid or printed) are used more for bedrooms, and on feet with neutral tones.

  • Luminosity depends on the shades chosen: light shades are preferred for a brighter decoration, and dark shades for a more subdued atmosphere

Are you unsure about the dimensions of your lampshade? Send us photos of your stand to and we will advise you!

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