Which small lampshade is best?

Small is a matter of opinion and a function of necessity. A lampshade may appear large on its own but look small when placed on its intended lamp, or vice versa. One must also consider the shape of the lampshade. Graceful curves may make the lampshade seem smaller than it is, while a blocky square looks large even if it’s only 8 by 8 by 8 inches.

The best small lampshade is the Alucset Small Barrel Lampshade, as it’s a classic design with many color options.

What to know before you buy a small lampshade


“Small” in lampshades can mean one of two things: it’s small overall, or it’s small for the lamp. Lampshades that are small overall are good; they’re rarely larger than 8 inches tall and 10 inches at their widest. Lampshades that are small for the lamp look bad — like putting a thimble on your big toe.

To find what size lampshade you need, start by measuring the widest portion of your lamp, wherever it may be, and double that number. This is the appropriate top and/or bottom width for your lampshade. Then, measure the height of your lamp to find the appropriate lampshade height — it should be two-thirds of that number. If any of your results are larger than 8-10 inches, you’ll likely need to search for medium or large lampshades instead. Also, floor lampshade heights don’t have a formula — they just need to be tall enough to cover the bulb and fitter.


Small lampshades use one of three fitter types: uno, spider or clip-on.

  • Uno fitters are placed over the light bulb socket and secured by screwing in the bulb on top. They’re uncommon for small lampshades.
  • Spider fitters are the most common. They rest on top of a harp above the light bulb. Most lamps include a harp, and most spider-fitted lampshades are compatible with most harps.
  • Clip-on fitters clip onto the bulb directly. These are uncommon for any size lampshade, as light bulb shapes vary too greatly.

What to look for in a quality small lampshade


Most lampshades are made from paper or cotton, though many other materials are used.

  • Paper and cotton shades diffuse light the best and are affordable to make. Paper is good for those who like to “arts and crafts” their small lampshades.
  • Other materials include silk, parchment and metal. Metal especially is different as many have no actual shade, instead looking like a cage has been placed over the bulb.


The lining’s thickness and material have the greatest effect on how much light is let through.

  • Thick liners let less light through than thin ones, but they’re also better at helping the lampshade retain its shape over time.
  • Material mostly affects the appearance of the light coming through. Metallic liners reflect light in interesting patterns, for example, while colored liners change the color.

How much you can expect to spend on a small lampshade

Small lampshades are usually lower in cost thanks to their smaller material requirements, but they can still cost $100-plus if they use pricey materials and come from a designer brand. Most cost $20-$50.

Small lampshade FAQ

Does the color of a small lampshade matter?

A. Yes. A lampshade’s color changes the appearance and strength of your lamp’s light. For example, a black lampshade is much dimmer than a white lampshade. Another example would be the difference between a dark and light green lampshade. They both cause your lamp’s light to be greenish, but the lighter green is brighter and greener than the darker color. If you want a lampshade that doesn’t change your room’s aesthetics too much, go with a medium-thickness white model.

Can I personalize small lampshades?

A. Yes, though some lampshades are easier to personalize than others. Paper lampshades are the best for personalization as paper can hold many materials, such as paint or glue for making a 3D design. You can also glue light-blocking shapes to the liner of a plain lampshade for special “secret” designs only seen when the lamp is on, though small lampshades don’t have much space to play around with this idea.

Does pleating change the way light moves through a small lampshade?

A. No, pleating won’t limit the amount of light that shines through the small lampshade. It affects your home’s aesthetics, however, as pleating is considered old-fashioned or rustic compared to the sleeker, flat-fronted lampshades of today.

What’s the best small lampshade to buy?

Top small lampshade 

Alucset Small Barrel Lampshade

Alucset Small Barrel Lampshade

What you need to know: This is a classic design at a great price.

What you’ll love: It’s 6 by 10 by 7.5 inches, making it a perfect choice for small table lamps. It comes in 10 color and material combinations, plus it’s made by hand. It uses spider fitters and is compatible with most harps.

What you should consider: Some consumers received lampshades that highlighted black markings on the inner material layer that can’t be accessed to fix without tearing into the lampshade.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top small lampshade for the money

Cleveland Vintage Clip-On Metal Lampshade

Cleveland Vintage Clip-On Metal Lampshade

What you need to know: Shake up your interior design with this wire lampshade. 

What you’ll love: The metal slats offer a unique design that allows the bulb to take center stage, which is highly effective for color-changing smart lights. You can add your own designs by attaching personalized paper or threading strings in interesting patterns. It clips directly to the bulb.

What you should consider: The 8 by 7 by 4.5-inch size is small, even for the smallest table lamps. Some consumers had issues with the clips not securing tightly enough.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Aspen Creative Transitional Drum Lampshade

Aspen Creative Transitional Drum Lampshade

What you need to know: This lampshade is modern and elegant.

What you’ll love: The off-white color and lightly painted grass look beautiful without the light of a bulb and glow with the light. It uses a spider fitter that’s compatible with most harps. It’s 8 by 8 by 8 inches for an evenly measured look.

What you should consider: Some consumers received dented or otherwise broken shades, while others had issues with the designs peeling off shortly after purchase.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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