9 Different Lamp Shade Styles & Shapes (with examples)

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If I were to compare interior design to an outfit, I’d say lighting is like jewelry… it’s the little bit of sparkle you need to make your room come to life…especially once the sun goes down.

But since there are so many different lamp shades styles available, it can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re shopping for.

So I thought it would be beneficial to break down each style and shape, tell you what base it pairs best with, and give you a few examples of each.

Sound like a plan?

While there are a bunch of different lamp shade styles, I’m going to tell you about the nine main ones….

9 Lamp shades Shapes & Styles

  1. Coolie
  2. Rectangle
  3. Empire
  4. Bell
  5. Dome
  6. Hexagon
  7. Tapered Drum
  8. Square
  9. Drum or Cylinder

NO. 1

Coolie Lamp Shade

Coolie lamp shades have a very distinctive cone shape, and are a great option if you want to go the modern and contemporary route.

Since the shade is so unique, you should pair a coolie lamp shade with a dainty or cylindrical base, something that doesn’t take away from the beautiful shade.

NO. 2

Rectangle Lamp Shade

A rectangle lamp shade is shaped like….a rectangle! Go figure, right?

Since they have a lot of structure, they look best when paired with a base that mimics that structure, like a rectangle-shaped base.

NO. 3

Empire Lamp Shades

An empire style lamp shade has a tapered shape where the top diameter of the shade is about half the size of the bottom diameter.

Depending on the aesthetic of your home, an empire lamp shade can lean a little more traditional or modern, just depending on how you style it.

And as for the lamp base, choose either a dainty base or one that is a cylinder.

NO. 4

Bell Lamp Shade

A bell lamp shade looks similar to a bell, where it’s smaller at the top and then flares out toward the bottom with curved sides.

A bell lamp shade is typically used when decorating a traditional or classic style home, and pairs well with an ornate or dainty base.

NO. 5

Dome Lamp Shade

A dome lamp shade is also known as a bowl lamp shade because it resembles just that… a bowl or a dome.

Domes shades have a slightly vintage feel, but depending on how you style them, they can look very modern or very traditional.

Pair a dome-shaped lamp shade with a dainty or cylinder-shaped base

NO. 6

Hexagon Lamp Shades

Hexagon lamp shades have a hexagonal shape.

Shocking, I know…

These hexagon lamp shades tend to have a more eclectic and contemporary look and are often paired with either a bold lamp base or a matching geometric base.

NO. 7

Tapered Drum Lamp Shade

A tapered drum lamp shade looks like a drum or cylinder lamp shade, except it’s slightly tapered at the top, but not as much as an empire lamp shade.

A tapered drum lamp shade looks great with almost all types of lamp bases. This goes for a large, sculptural base, cylindrical bases, and even dainty lamp bases.

If you’re looking for an all-around go-to style, this would be a great option.

NO. 8

Square Lamp Shades

Square lamp shades are the same size on all sides, just like a square.

A square lamp shade looks best when paired with a dainty base or a square base – one that mimics the shape of the shade.

NO. 9

Drum / Cylinder

Cylinder or drum lampshades or a great all-around style for contemporary, traditional, and transitional homes.

They can look great with a plethora of bases whether that’s a dainty one, a cylindrical one, or a sculptural one.

I hope you found this post helpful and learned how to use each of these lamp shade styles!

Have you heard of all these different lamp shades before, and which one is your favorite? I’m a sucker for both empire and coolie lamp shades right now… I think I just need to get it out of my system, you know?

So…what other decorating tips do you need? Tell me in the comments below, I’m all ears!

Until next time,


Just a heads up! This post contains affiliate links. What’s that mean? It means that if you click on a link and end up purchasing something, I’ll earn a small commission, and you’ll never pay a penny more! It’s a win-win so I can continue creating content like this.

  1. My friend is wondering if there’s a way to lessen the light that goes into his bedroom because of his lamps. I like your idea of using lampshades since they come in different shapes and styles! I’ll be sure to recommend that he try out a bell lamp shade for a traditional look for his bedroom.

    • terra says:

      Yes, a lampshade will definitely help! Also, have you tried a swapping the light bulb for one with a lower wattage?

  2. sandy huffman says:

    I have a couple of lamps that could use updated shades . Do you have any recommendations when making sure the size of the shade matches the size of the lamp?

  3. Luke Smith says:

    I like that you mentioned how it could be overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re shopping for since there are so many different lamp shades styles available. I feel like something is lacking with our house’s interior and I think we need some lamp shades for it. I want everything to look unique, so I think getting some custom lamp shades would be a good choice.

  4. Bell Lamp Shade is one of my favorite lamps. You shared a delicate article with us. Thanks for sharing this informative article with us. This article is full of information and knowledge with precise specifications.

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