If you’re in the market for a shade to suit your floor lamp, table lamp or ceiling light fitting, there’s a host of creative designs to choose from that will bring personality to your bedroom or living space in an instant. And you don’t need enormously deep pockets to snap up a design-led piece – many high street brands offer striking, well-crafted lampshades at a fraction of the cost of their designer counterparts.
Whether you’re after a shade that’s heavy on pattern and print, made from calming natural materials, or gives your room a vibrant colour pop, a good lampshade should emit softly diffused light for a cosy, ambient glow.
Look for fabric styles with a lined interior if you want to contain the light and give out a consistent and measured radiance. Alternatively, you could choose a style designed to illuminate the room with pretty shadows.
The use of multiple light sources in a living room is easier on the eyes, so consider lampshades that offer directional light. A standard lamp with a downward gleam, for example, can give an appealing spotlight effect that’s perfect for reading.
In buying a lampshade, make sure you go for the correct fitting, whether you’re using yours as a pendant light or on a bedside lamp, and think about bulbs too, not only in terms of shape and size but also wattage. Go low for standard and table lamps and adhere to the lampshade manufacturer’s advice on maximum wattage, not only for safety but to avoid fading as well.
We put our top 10 shades to the test, looking for great design, quality, and that all-important wow factor, whether illuminated or not.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
BHS rattan double cylinder shade, matte black
Black rattan brings a grown-up twist to the material’s usual laidback, boho aesthetic, and this cylindrical shade from lighting stalwarts BHS is full of dark drama. Its cage-like design not only allows for a visible vintage-style filament bulb, but it casts interesting shadows too. On close inspection, you can see the way the rattan is delicately woven on to its rigid metal frame. We also loved the way the vertical lines are naturally imperfect, adding a softness to the shade’s otherwise contemporary shaping.
Buy now £41.00, BHS
Love Frankie silhouette cotton lampshade, rabarber in egg yolk
We loved this lampshade for its quirky, inverted design. The cotton shade’s lining is the handiwork of late Swedish textile artist, Gocken Jobs, whose prints are considered mid-century classics. Complementing the yellows in the pattern is an arresting “egg yolk” overlay, which brings year-round summer cheer to your living space, brightening up the room before it’s even lit. Made to order, the shade comes in a choice of 12 sizes and three shapes: tall and narrow, shallow and wide, or “slim shadys”. Whichever you choose, make sure the shade’s sufficiently elevated to show off its floral interior.
Buy now £40.00, Not On The High Street
Matchimatchi the waisted one lampshade
Highly textured and architectural in shape, this is the very definition of a statement lampshade. Part of a range of similarly angular and arresting shades, the waisted one features four main sections that, excitingly, can be customised to create a bespoke piece. Mix and match a comprehensive range of colours in velvet, linen or corduroy and immediately see the results online. While this may seem daunting given the lampshade’s price, the nature-inspired hues, from “jewel lawn” and “cloudy lake” to “rusted rock”, are reassuringly complementary. You really can’t go wrong.
Buy now £227.50, Matchimatchi
Pooky straight empire shade in classic leopard love by Matthew Williamson
Pooky’s range of handcrafted lampshades is seriously impressive for its attention to detail: look inside and you’ll find intricate stitching combined with the finest finishes. The brand’s recent collaboration with Williamson sees its classic gathered empire shade adorned with the fashion designer’s trademark flamboyant prints. Taking a walk on the wild side, the leopard love lampshade, which comes in four sizes, offers a contemporary twist on a traditional shade. With its warming brown and orange colourway, this one’s as homely as it is fashion forward.
Buy now £82.00, Pooky
Nala Lighting sila lampshade, natural
This may be a simple rattan shade, but it’s all about the voluptuous shaping. The pendant style mixes a relaxed bohemian feel with a cool mid-century vibe and it’s another one that allows for a statement filament bulb to be seen – go warm and globular for the full effect. Once illuminated, the intricate, handwoven craftsmanship of the basket-like shade is on full show. This one brought an immediate sense of calm to our bedroom, but its tranquil qualities will easily translate into any living space.
Buy now £85.00, Fy!
Mint & May terrazzo effect lampshade
Offering a slice of cool Mediterranean style is this striking but simple drum shade, available in small, medium and large sizes and suited to anything from table lamps to ceiling fittings. The terrazzo trend is big news right now, but the look is usually confined to bathroom walls and kitchen splashbacks – so this lampshade proved a welcome addition to our living space. We loved the colourway of cool blues, jet blacks and warm terracotta hues against the white background. There’s also the option of a metallic lining for added glamour – choose gold, silver or copper.
Buy now £30.00, Mint & May
Lights and Lamps Capella natural rattan lampshade
Relative newcomer Lights and Lamps offers a wealth of design-led lampshades alongside their pendant and floor lamp collections – and much of it is surprisingly affordable. Woven in natural rattan around a concealed metal frame, the capella style offers both big impact and a Seventies bohemian vibe that works in the dining room as much as the bedroom. This one gives off a warming glow, thanks to its natural material, and casts interesting shadows.
Buy now £50.00, Lights & Lamps
H&M x Houseof large pleated shade
Bringing one of our favourite lighting brands to the high street is H&M, whose homeware collection continues to impress, not least with its exciting new collaborations. Houseof’s large pleated shade is a lesson in understated elegance. Here, a simple 50cm metal drum frame is covered in a finely pleated polyester fabric, bringing an arresting texture to the simple shaping – and this becomes all the more apparent once it’s lit up. Available in red, blue and our favourite: coral.
Buy now £49.99, H&M
Catherine Rowe Designs borzoi pattern in midnight black lampshade
If you’re looking for a lampshade less ordinary, it’s a good trick to go to your favourite wallpaper brands, where patterns and prints often cross over into lighting. Here, Catherine Rowe’s beautifully illustrated flora and fauna translate perfectly onto a simple drum shade. This one comes in three sizes, suitable as a ceiling lamp, table or floor lamp. Printed onto a semi-translucent fabric, the borzoi pattern, with its bright botanical motifs and symmetrical sitting dogs, is a striking addition to bedrooms and living spaces alike.
Buy now £75.00, Etsy
BeauVamp hot pink silk tiffany lampshade
This brand is unapologetic in its decadence. Known for its use of exquisite materials and excessively long tassels, BeauVamp’s pieces are a playful take on vintage. Available in small, medium and large sizes, the tiffany has a vibrant silk shade that has been hand-stitched around a bronze frame, while the two-tone fringing doubles up for thickness and visual interest. We loved the way the turquoise underlayer peeps through the gold. Suitable for any light, from table lamps up to ceiling lights (go large for a floor lamp), once lit, the texture of the silk really comes into its own.
Buy now £355.00, BeauVamp
The verdict: Lampshades
We loved BHS’s rattan double cylinder shade in matte black for its chic, modern take on the boho look. It’s an affordable lampshade but one with big impact, while Love Frankie’s silhouette cotton lampshade, rabarber in egg yolk brought a cheery colour pop to the dreariest of days. We loved its vibrant floral lining.
On the pricier side, BeauVamp’s tiffany in hot pink proved a glamorous statement.
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