How To Measure A Lamp Harp: A 2-Step Guide [2023]

If you are looking for a lampshade in your favorite store, first you must know how to measure a lamp harp. You may be disappointed because you expected these parts to be universal for all lampshades, but with this article, you will fully understand how things actually are.

This might sound advanced at the moment, but all parts must match perfectly so that your lamp can illuminate your precious space properly while looking fabulous. You are certainly at the right place if you want to learn about the lamp harps and the compatibility of all fragments.

Types of lamp harps

In order to have a lampshade that fits perfectly, you must understand the point of the lamp harp and understand how to measure a lamp harp. If you’re not familiar with this term, the lamp harp is a flexible part of your lamp recognizable by its U shape. It protects the light bulb and surrounds it as well as gives support to the lampshade.

Related article: 9 most common types of lampshades

In most cases, the harp’s base is connected to the lamp below the socket. Already from the very title of this article, you can see that the crucial division of lamp harps is according to their size, and the size will be your primary guide.

Without the correct size of the lamp harp, it will not be possible to place the lampshade correctly and the structure of the lamp will lose its compactness, coherence, and convenience. If you have the harp too tall for your lampshade, the socket will be too exposed, but in the case of a too short lamp harp, you will have to deal with the top part of the lamp being hidden. 

Lamp harps are mostly made out of brass or nickel material.

Now that we have completely understood the meaning behind the lamp harp, we can finally mention the two main types of lamp harps. You can find the lamp harps in regular weight and heavy duty weight.

What is a standard-size lamp harp?

Standard-size lamp harp is the most used size of lamp harp and they range in size from 4” to 15”. These harps are most often purchased because such measures are most often compatible with lamps people have. 

How to measure a lamp harp?

Here’s how to measure a lamp harp in two steps:

  1. Grab yourself a measuring tape and start measuring how many inches are there from the top part of the harp to the socket cap.
  2. Guided by these measures, remember that the height of the lampshade should not surpass the inches you noted down plus ½ inch. Also, the size of the lampshade is not meant to be smaller than the lamp harp’s height minus ½ inch.

You need to stay within these measures for everything to work properly.

Related article: Can you spray paint a lampshade

Here’s a handy video on lamp shade measuring:

How are lamp bases measured?

In order to understand the measuring of lamp bases, you must know that you should measure the lampshade’s bottom diameter.

You will need to measure the height of the lamp from the lowest part of the base to the very top of the lamp stem. Same as before, use the measuring tape or a ruler and record the inches that you’ve measured.

The lampshade diameter is supposed to be within two inches (plus or minus) of the height of your lamp.


In conclusion, we have learned how to measure a lamp harp, but have also learned how the lamp bases are measured because one does not work without the other. In order for your lamp to function properly and to get the best out of the light, you will need to adhere to the specified measurements and measurement methods. 

However, always stay true to your personal taste and preferences in a visual sense! 

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