9 Most Common Types Of Lampshades

Most people know what a lampshade is, but they might not know all the different types.

In the world of home decor, the choice of the lampshade can make a big impact on a room’s style. Whether you’re after a classic look or a bold contemporary statement, there is no end to the variety of shapes, styles, and materials that lampshades can come in.

When choosing lampshades for your home, it’s important to consider the style of the room, your personal taste, and the lighting scheme that you want to create.

These days, there are many lampshades available in the market to choose from. In this article, we will discuss the different types of lampshades and the pros and cons associated with them.

We’ve put a table on different types of lampshades and associated them with a certain style and feel. 

Type of lampshadeStyle and feel
Drum neutral
Bell homey
Types of lampshades associated with a certain style

Brief overview and history of lampshades

A lampshade is a sheet of fabric, usually light-colored and sized to fit over the top of a lamp, used to diffuse the light. The lampshade can be made of paper, canvas, plastic, or some other material.

Early lampshades were often made from paper, canvas, or cloth that was folded into a tube shape, and wrapped around the base of the lamp.

Papiere-mache lampshades

It’s necessary to state and single out so-called papier-mache lampshades because they were made of paper, but later, manufacturers started using a variety of materials to make lampshades, including plastics, metal, and wood. You can even make them yourselves!

What are the different types of lampshades?

There are different kinds of lampshades, from the traditional to modern, and from the simple to the sophisticated. There are also different designs, from round to oval and from geometric to organic. 

Round lamp shades tend to be the most popular for both formal and casual settings, while rectangular and square shapes can be more versatile and useful for smaller rooms.

To help you make the best choice, we’ve put together a guide on the most common types of lampshades.

Drum lampshade

Main characteristic: same top and bottom openings, equal light distribution

Other types: shallow drum, shallow tapered drum

Shaped in the shape of a drum, very compact, and simply designed, this type of lampshade is one of the most famous for a reason. They are characterized by an equal circular opening at the top and bottom.

This type of design allows the light to be divided equally up and down.

Bell lampshade

Main characteristics: slightly curved

The bell shades are elegant and modern. The upper circular opening is narrower and the lower opening is wider. The bell shades move slightly curved towards the bottom.

With these types of lampshades, even though the light is evenly distributed it’s more diffused towards the lower circular aperture, for the aperture itself is wider than the upper.

That way the light is gently softened

Empire lampshade

Main characteristics: different top and bottom openings, but still simple

Other types: Pembroke empire, gallery empire

Even though they can easily be mistaken for bell lampshades or vice versa, the empire lampshades are not slightly curved towards the bottom. Their bottom opening is still wider than the upper one.

Likewise, the light effect is similar to the bell lampshades. We would say that the main difference is in style.

Empire lampshade feels and looks more minimalistic and simple, therefore they’re perfect for modern living spaces or more spacious rooms. 

Coolie lampshade

Main characteristics: wide bottom opening

There are coolie bell lampshades and coolie empire lampshades.

We would describe coolie lampshades as more intense versions of empire or bell lampshades. You will recognize them by the much wider lower opening compared to the upper one. 

In this way, the light is even more diffused compared to the previous ones.

We can say with certainty that the coolie lampshade will be the center of attention and make any room look more creative and beautiful.

Square lampshade

Main characteristics: sharp angles and squared openings

Square lampshades do not have circular openings like bell, empire, or coolie. They have squared openings and sharp angles which makes them more sharp and concrete.

The upper and lower openings can differ. There are wide varieties of this kind of lampshades.

Their most common use is in modern and stylish rooms.

Rectangular lampshade

Main characteristics: rectangular openings, wideness

Rectangular lampshades have sharp edges and rectangular openings.

Simply said – they’re wide and sharp.

Just as the square ones, their upper and lower openings can differ. Also, they can be bell or empire styled depending on if they have slight curves.

The light is even more specifically dispersed towards the bottom since the sides have different lengths (which is the characteristic of a rectangular shape – obviously). 

Oval lampshade

Oval lampshade

Main characteristics: wide, oval openings

Not so popular, but certainly one of the most specific, oval lampshades are great and original addition to any space.

Oval lampshade’s width is greater than their height and their oval openings can, but do not have to be the same.

Due to its characteristic wide shape, it can fit even in narrow parts of the room, which makes them even more special and adaptable.

Cylinder lampshade

Main characteristics: tall, round

Cylinder lampshade is, surely, the tallest one there is. You can’t miss mistake it one for any other. Some people say that it’s a taller and thinner version of a drum lampshade.

The cool thing about it is that it does not take up too much space, so it’s perfect for practical people who want to save space.

Its upper and lower openings are the same. With its high design, it certainly can serve specific purposes and can be used in many ways.

At the same time, it looks expressive, unique, and simple.

Hexagon lampshade

Main characteristics: six sides

Hexagon lampshades are very specific. They have six equal sides which give them that classic and old-school look.

Its lower opening is wider than the upper one.

This is a classic lampshade shape with a contemporary feel. Hexagon lampshades can be used in any room, from modern and sophisticated to traditional and rustic.

It works well in a living room, bedroom, kitchen, or hallway. It also looks good in a dining room or conservatory.

What type of lampshade should you use?

In an ideal situation – the base of the lamp and the lampshade should be the same shape.

This means that you can have a round base lamp and a round lampshade, or a square base lamp and a square lampshade.

However, it’s not always possible to achieve this. Sometimes the lampshade is shaped so that it doesn’t match the base, and that too can be for a reason since there are no rules in creativity. 

If you get bored of it, you can even spray paint the lampshade!


In conclusion, the right lampshade is one that complements your home decor, adds style, and gives it a unique look that you’ll enjoy for years to come. If you’re looking for the perfect shade to enhance your space, you can shop for lamp shades online. 

You can find them in every price range and style, so there is sure to be one that will suit your home perfectly. 

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