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What are Different Types of Lampshades?

Lampshades come in a myriad of styles, each casting its unique glow. From the classic bell and drum to the modern rectangle and empire, they shape light and mood in our spaces. Intricate cut-outs to simple linens, the materials and designs are as varied as our tastes. How does each type transform a room? Let's illuminate the possibilities together.
Sherry Holetzky
Sherry Holetzky

If your current lampshade is not exactly your taste, or perhaps a bit outdated, there are many styles and types of shades you can choose from to replace it. There are the bell lampshade, the coolie, the drum, the empire, the square, the rectangle, and the hexagon. Besides different shapes, shades are also available in many different materials, so you are sure to find the perfect shade to complement your décor.

The bell lampshade is, as it sounds, shaped liked a bell. This flared design begins with a narrow top and fans out down toward the base. It is a popular style, and one that is attractive whether chosen in a very simple design, or when piping or trim is added, or when it is enhanced with a scalloped edge.

A bell lampshade.
A bell lampshade.

The coolie shade is similar to the bell, but it is shorter and squatter. There is a more pronounced difference between the top and the bottom than there is with the bell shade. The empire shade is somewhere between the bell and the drum shade, the drum being a cylindrical shape that generally resembles the percussion instrument it is named for. A drum lampshade can also be narrow and elongated.

A coolie lampshade.
A coolie lampshade.

Square, rectangle, or hexagon shades are formed like the geometric shapes they are named for and typically have distinct panels that make up the four or six sides. These panels are sometimes embellished with piping, and each shade is available in a variety of fabrics and finishes.

Choose a lampshade in your favorite material, be it linen, leather, parchment, string, silk, suede, or toile. Select from simple or paneled styles, plain, styles with beaded trim or other embellishments, or a classic pleated shade. Whether you’re looking for a lampshade for a floor lamp, table lamp, or chandelier, you’ll find plenty of shapes, styles, and textures to choose from. Check out your favorite lighting store or home improvement center, or shop online from the comfort of your home.

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Discussion Comments


I have a lodge theme in my family room and have lampshades that have pictures of bears and log cabins on them. These lampshades actually came with two lamps that were a set. There was a table lamp and a floor lamp and both lamp shades had the lodge theme printed on them. I think these look much nicer than if I had lamps with plain white lampshades on them.


Changing your lampshades is an easy and inexpensive way to change the look of a room. When I went shopping for some new lampshades I was surprised at all the different colors, styles and textures. It was also much cheaper to buy some new lampshades than it was to buy all new lamps.

One of my favorite lampshades I just bought is for a small lamp on a table right beside my bed. I went with a pretty beaded lampshade that adds an elegant touch to the room. I think this might be too bold if it were a large lampshade, but for a small lamp like this it is perfect.

When I have had lampshades before I never gave much thought to how easy or hard they would be to clean. I would just wipe the dust off of them with a soft cloth.


@donasmrs-- I am in the same boat as you. I have lived in the same house for 10 years and have never changed my lampshades. It is something that I just never think about. I change the light bulb when it burns out, but the lampshade has always stayed the same.

I think it is time for an upgrade since I am also getting some new furniture. I have always had pretty traditional lampshades before, but I would love to go with something that has more of a modern and contemporary look.


It's so interesting how different shapes of lampshades can give a home a more traditional or a more modern look. I have modern furniture in my house and all my lampshades are short drums. They fit in perfectly.


@donasmrs-- Fabric lampshades are difficult to clean. I've had linen and silk ones and like you said, a lot of dust would accumulate on it.

The easiest to clean lampshades are the glass one. I bought two bell shaped glass lampshades last year and they are so gorgeous. The glass has different designs and colors on it and reflects the light beautifully. And they're so easy to clean, you just need to wipe them with a wet cloth.


I want to renew my lampshades because they are completely out of fashion. I've had them for fifteen years, I think a change would be good.

I have no idea what kind of shape or color I should go for though. All I know is that I want the lampshades to be made of a material that is easy to clean. My current ones are linen and they always hold on to dust and dirt.

Any recommendations for me?

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    • A bell lampshade.
      By: Nadezhda Bolotina
      A bell lampshade.
    • A coolie lampshade.
      By: iskandarov
      A coolie lampshade.
    • A square lampshade.
      By: Vitas
      A square lampshade.
    • A decorative, embellished lampshade.
      By: Greentree
      A decorative, embellished lampshade.
    • Lampshades can be made from suede.
      By: PRILL Mediendesign
      Lampshades can be made from suede.
    • Lampshades for floor lamps come in many different shapes, styles and textures.
      By: venusangel
      Lampshades for floor lamps come in many different shapes, styles and textures.