How to Buy a Shade

We manufacture all our shades to order from our workshops in Somerset so you can have whatever you like, so please follow these simple steps….

Quick Guide

1 - Choose a Pendant Shade or a Lamp Shade from the top banner.

2 - Choose the shape you would like from the drop down menus.

3 - Choose the colour or finish for the selected shape. Click on thumbnail picture.

4 - Select the size of the shade selected. Click on the “shade size” selector .

5 - Select the fitting needed for your shade. Click the “Fitting Type” selector and choose from either UK or Euro size.

6 - Where appropriate select “shade carrier” or not.

See charts below for available shapes, dimensions and colours/finishes.

Detailed Guide

Step One: Choose a Pendent Shade, to hang from the ceiling, or a Lamp Shade to fit on your lamp base, standard lamp or wall light. Click on your choice from the main top banner.

Step Two: Choose the shape you like from the drop down menus (under “Pendent Shade” or “Lamp Shade”). There are a number of shape options each available in multiple sizes. See the outline drawings on the menu or please use the chart below showing all shapes and dimensions.

Step Three: Choose the colour or finish for the selected shape. There are approximately 20 standard finishes, each shown as a separate product photo. Select an item from all available finishes within the shape category you have chosen. Click on the thumbnail photo. See swatch chart below to view all available materials/colours/finishes which are shown illuminated and unlit. Alternatively please request a free swatch sample so you can double check your choice prior to ordering.

Step Four: Select the size of the shape selected, click on the “shade size” selector which shows the dimensions and price for the shape & finish chosen. See the chart below showing dimensions available for each shape.

Step Five: Select the fitting needed, UK or Euro. This is the size of the shade washer which fits over the lamp holder. Most lamps are UK size, with a 2.4cm diameter lamp holder and take a Bayonet Light Bulb (BC Fitting - UK) or there is a larger size 4cm diameter lamp holder, which take an Edison Screw bulb (ES Fitting - Euro). Click the “Fitting Type” selector and choose from either UK or Euro size. N.B - If your lamp/pendant takes an ES screw type bulb then choose a Euro Fitting.

Step Six: Where appropriate choose whether or not you need a shade carrier, the wire frame cage which supports your shade (also known as a gimble or support arm). Click on the “shade carrier” selector and choose with (yes) or without (no) carrier. N.B If a shades does not need a carrier there is no selector (as the shade comes with a fixed arm gimble attachment). The recommended carrier size is show in the description of each shade. You can also choose an alternative sized carrier as a separate purchase. See “useful” terms below for further details. 

Please call if you would like any additional information or help in choosing your new shade.

Tips for choosing the correct shade …..

Primary Classification: For a shade is the Diameter of the bottom ring then the shape name e.g. 14” (36cm) Empire or 12” (30cm) Drum. Shade making is an old tradition and most of the patterns and shapes we use are in imperial sizes, hence showing all shades in both inches and metric (cm) equivalent.

Shade Size//Dimensions: Typically go in 2” (5cm) diameter steps. E.g. Coolie Shapes go from 10” (25cm) to 28” (71cm) in 2” (5cm) diameter steps. Short Angle Drums are available in 12” (30cm), 14” (36cm) and 16” (41cm) diameter sizes. Height and Top Ring measurements are shown in the dimensions sheet below.

Copy Existing Shade: If you are replacing a shade and want to keep the same style, match the size of your shade to ours (Bottom Ring, Top Ring and Vertical Height) then find the closest equivalent from our shade dimensions using the chart below.

Shade Fitting: Make sure you choose the correct shade washer size to fit your lamp. UK, Euro (aka Continental) or American. We do not stock all sizes for American “Harp” shades (please email/call for more/full details). N.B - If your lamp/pendant takes an ES screw type bulb then choose a Euro Fitting. See Step Five above for full explanation.

Ceiling Pendants: Depth of shade is most important in order to hide the bulb. Tall Angle Drums are perfect for this. Also Straight Sided Drums can have an optional diffuser fitted to screen the bulb and soften the light. Coolie and Empires are also popular for a more traditional look.

Lamp Base Shapes…

Vase Shape Lamp Bases: Height of Lamp equals the diameter of the shade. This rule is perfect for the Empire Shape.

Round/Squat Shape Lamp Bases: Coolies look good but make sure they are wide enough, always go up one size as compared to an Empire. Have plenty of space between the side of the lamp and the edge of the shade.

Stick (Tall/Thin) Lamps: Smaller Empires or short drums are a good choice.

Straight Sided Lamps: Straight Sided Drums are best.

Standard Lamps: The bigger the shade the better in order to spread the light. Most popular size is a 22” (56cm Diameter) Empire. If the stem of the lamp is fairly wide/chunky [widest part of standard lamp is more than 4” (10cm)] then the larger 24” (61cm Diameter) Empire is more in proportion. For a more contemporary style the 20” Tall Angle Drum is a great look. The 14” Tall Angle Drum is ideal for narrower locations (hall way or corner position).

Wall Lights: We offer three bulb Clip Shades – a 5” (13cm) Empire, 6” (15cm) Empire and 5”(13cm) Angle Drum. The Empire shapes have a candle bulb shaped clip and the Drum shape has a universal clip.

Lamp Tables: It can also be useful to work backwards from the table/shelf or surface width, that the lamp is going to sit on. This then gives you a guide reference maximum diameter for the shade, however don’t forget the shade can overhang the edge of the table in most instances. You can then also work out what sized lamp base to fit your shade. We also sell our own range of lamp tables in the furniture section.

Perspective: The Height that your lamp base and shade sits will dramatically effect how it looks. If you are able, try to view the light at the same height it will be at home, to make sure you are happy with the proportions.

Shade Colour: We have a good selection of colours available in different finishes and materials. Having chosen the correct shape and size choose your colour carefully. If your base is multi coloured choose a complementary tone to one in the base (ideally don’t introduce another new colour). If the lamp base is one colour it is usual to choose a complementary but differing colour or tone. As a rule shades do not look as good if they are of the same tone (or very similar in colour) to the base, i.e. don’t but a cream shade on a cream base, instead perhaps choose a darker calico cream or coffee shade. Also take into consideration the general colours in the room, especially wall colour (which will be behind the shade) and in particular curtains, especially with a pattern, which could clash with a strong shade tone. Alternatively please request a free swatch sample so you can double check your choice prior to ordering.

Light Bulbs: You can use whatever type of bulb you want, but they must be within the Maximum Wattage allowed for each shade and the Shade Fitting or washer size must be compatible, Bayonet Light Bulb (BC Fitting - UK) or Edison Screw bulb (ES Fitting – Euro). See Step Five above for full explanation.

Wattage/Bulb Strength: Each Shade has a separate Maximum Wattage strength. This is the maximum heat output allowed from the bulb. Most shades, from 16” (40cm) diameter and larger, are rated at 100watts. Don’t forget it is the bulb rating not equivalent light that is rated. So a 20watt energy bulb giving out 100watts equivalent light is rated at 20watts heat in relation to the Maximum Wattage. When the maximum wattage differs between the lamp base and shade always observe the lower wattage when selecting the bulb.

Rule of thumb for each shape.

Empire Shape: Height of Lamp equals the diameter of the Shade. E.g. Lamp Height in 12” (30cm) so choose a 12” (36cm) Diameter Empire shade.

Coolie Shape: Height of Lamp equals the diameter of the Shade lamp, but go up one size. E.g If lamp Height is 12” (30cm) go up to a 14” (36cm) Diameter Coolie shade.

Drum Shape (Straight or Tapered): Height of Lamp equals the diameter of the Shade, but go down one size. E.g if lamp height is 12” (30cm) so go down to a 10” (25cm) Diameter Drum shade.

Golden Rule: If in doubt always choose a slightly larger shade.

Useful Terms:

Shade Carriers: All our larger shades (approximately 16” (41cm) Diameter and larger) require a shade carrier (also known as a gimble or support arm). You can select an alternative height of carrier if you want to alter the height that the shade sits in relation to the top of your lamp. The higher the carrier the higher the bottom of your shade will sit/rise). There is an option within the shades to select an alternative carrier size than the one recommended, otherwise you will automatically be supplied with the most appropriate carrier. 

Duplex Shade Fitting: This means that the shade requires a shade carrier (fitting to attach the shade to a lamp).

Gimble Shade Fitting: Means the shade attaches to the lamp via fixed arms attached to the top ring of the shade.

Reversible Gimble: Refers to the fixed arm shade support arms which can be bent up (reversed) in the middle to convert the shade to be hung from the ceiling.

Lamp Holder: The Brass or Plastic part that the bulb fits into. There are two main types, UK- Bayonet bulb and Euro - Edison Screw bulb.

BC Cap (Fitting): Bayonet Cap – (standard UK Shade/Lamp size 2.4cm Diameter). See Step Five above. 

ES (Fitting): Edison Screw – (European or Continental Shade/Lamp size 4cm Diameter). Also known as EU/E27 and now commonly used in ceiling pendants in newer homes. See Step Five above.

UL (Fitting): Denotes American Fitting – please ask for further details.

GLS: General Lighting System, this is the older incandescent type bulbs.

Diffuser: This is a separate shade disc made from an opaque finish, fitted to the underside of pendant ceiling shades to stop the bulb from catching your eye. A translucent screen used to soften the light. We can also fit a “Top Diffuser” if your lamp is situated very low and you look down into the shade. We can only fit pendant diffusers to Straight Sided Drums.

Shade Ring: The ring on the lamp holder, which clamps down your shade to the lamp (available in UK or Euro sizes).

Shade Washer: The ring on the shade which goes over the lamp holder (available in UK or Euro sizes).

Reducer: Plastic Insert that reduces a Euro/Continental shade ring to the smaller diameter UK size.

Spider: Adapter to convert a duplex shade ring to a pendant so the shade can hang from the ceiling.

USA Spider: Adapts our Duplex Shades to fit onto the American “Harp” shade system (please call/email for further information).

International shade fittings: There are many different types of shades fittings and attachments. We can normally make our shades fit most lamps/fittings. If in doubt please email a photograph of your shade/lamp.

Alternative shapes and finishes

Bespoke: As we manufacture all our shades to order, from our workshops in Somerset, we can usually meet most requirements. Please call/email to discuss your specific needs (however unusual).

Your Fabric: We can also use your fabric to make a personalised shade. We attach a hard PVC backing and then make the shade to your spec. Please contact us for a separate quote and amount of material needed.

Re-cover shades, although it is usually more economic to order a new shade, we can sometimes re use your frame and cover with a new material. Particularly useful for unusual shapes. Again please send a photo for quotation.

Soft Shades. We supply a good range of traditional soft shades from our shop in Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3DT. 01935 814144. Alternatively we can send you a photo quote against your spec. Please provide as many details a possible, dimensions, shape, colour, material.

Returns: Please note as your shades are manufactured to order, they are not returnable unless faulty or not made as instructed. If in any doubt please call to double check you are ordering the correct shade for your requirements.