Best vintage lampshade


Lampshades were invented to spread light and reduce the harmful glare of the lightbulb.

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Which vintage lampshade is best? 

Lampshades were invented to diffuse and spread lamplight so that the light was not too bright for those around the lamp. Modern lampshades come in many vintage-inspired designs, without users having to purchase an old item. Popular vintage-inspired shades will feature fringe, pleats, patterns, scalloped trim and bell-shaped designs. If you are looking for a uniquely designed durable and lightweight vintage lampshade, the Imperial Shade Collection Store Small Scallop Bell Lamp is the top choice.

What to know before you buy a vintage lampshade


Vintage lampshades come in many different sizes. Before purchasing one of these items, consider all of the dimensions in relation to the lamp and light bulb that you would like to place it on. The size of the lampshade will not only determine what style of lamp it can be used with, but wherein the room it will fit. The dimensions of the lampshade and which lamp sizes and locations the product is recommended to pair with will be detailed in the product description. 


Before purchasing a vintage-inspired lampshade, consider the shape. The most popular vintage lamp shade shapes are scalloped bell, empire box pleat and rectangle. These shapes defined decades of decor and are often used to inspire the creation of modern lampshades. Vintage-inspired lampshades are often outlined with trim to cover the top and the bottom of the shape. 


Vintage-inspired lampshades are typically made with a variety of fabrics including silk, satin, polyester or a poly-cotton blend. Vintage lampshades can also be made with glass, ceramic or metal. Items that feature metal wiring will work to keep the shape of the lamp and prevent it from caving in if damaged. This internal wiring material is known as the “spider” and will connect to the harp to allow the shade to fasten onto the lamp. 

The durability of the material will depend on how well it is stretched and stitched. Satin, silk and glass lampshades are more fragile and need to be handled with more care than other fabrics and materials. 

Assembly parts

To be properly assembled onto a lamp, a lampshade will need to be purchased with a harp and finial. Most lampshades do not come with these items included and they will need to be purchased separately.

  • Harp: The harp is what the lampshade attaches to for it to fit onto the lamp. It is a U-shaped object that surrounds the light and holds the lamp in place along with the finial. The shade frame will mount onto the harp and that is how the lampshade will be held to surround the bulb. 
  • Finial: This item is attached to the harp and is used to provide added holding and security for the shade. It works in tandem with the harp to properly fit the shade onto the lamp. These items are often decorative and are designed to match the lamp.

What to look for in a quality vintage lampshade


Quality vintage-inspired lampshades will be available in many colors. Brown, amber, creme and light pink are a few popular shade colors that are inspired by vintage designs. Bright pastel colors were also popular during some decades. When purchasing a lampshade online, buyers should check the reviews to see if other users found the lamp color to be an exact match to the photo that is shown on the website. 


Vintage lampshades commonly feature flowered patterns. These patterns are often printed or embroidered into the lamp depending on the fabric that is used. If the vintage lamp is made of glass or ceramic, the glass will be shaped into a specific pattern. 


The best vintage-inspired lampshades will feature accessories such as fringe, pleats or beads. Vintage lamps of various decades were known for being designed with fringe and tassel that hung off the base of the shade. These tassels often consisted of beads that were intertwined with the fringe. Pleated lamps will feature gathered fabric throughout the lampshade itself. 

How much you can expect to spend on a vintage lampshade

The best vintage lampshades will be priced anywhere from $25-$100 depending on what material they are made, their size and how they are designed. Vintage-inspired lampshades that are larger, made with durable material and are intricately designed will be priced higher. 

Vintage lampshade FAQ

Will glass or ceramic vintage lampshades work as well to diffuse light as fabric lampshades? 

A. Glass and fabric lampshades work equally well to shade light but the light is diffused throughout the room in different ways. The way that the light is diffused will depend on the color and pattern of the shade regardless of the material. If there is a color, it will likely be reflected. If there is a pattern, this may show across the room and affect the way that the light is emitted through the shade. Fabric lampshades are typically cheaper than glass and work just as well to shade. 

How do you measure lampshades of different shapes? 

A. Vintage-inspired lampshades come in many different shapes and sizes. To measure the dimensions of a lamp, users will need to consider the slant height. When measuring bell-shaped objects that have a slant, users will want to measure the height, the sideways height of the item and length.

What’s the best vintage lampshade to buy?

Top vintage lampshade 

Imperial Shade Collection Store Small Scallop Bell Lamp

Imperial Shade Collection Store Small Scallop Bell Lamp 

What you need to know: This shade is made with durable polyester and is lightweight. It is sold with all parts necessary to fit over various light bulbs and it is brushed with a brass design for a classic look. 

What you’ll love: It features a half-inch drop and is designed with scallop trim at the top and bottom of the shade. This shade works to hide the light bulb that it is covering and is sturdy enough to correctly assemble onto the lamp without damaging the product. 

What you should consider: This product only comes in one color and does not feature a return policy. 

Where to buy: Amazon

Top vintage lampshade for the money

Royal Designs Beaded Bell Chandelier Lamp Shade

Royal Designs Beaded Bell Chandelier Lampshade 

What you need to know: This lampshade is designed with beads and comes in many colors. It is made with metal wires for shape and durability and the fabric resembles silk. 

What you’ll love: This lampshade is a clip-on for convenience when assembling and is shaped like a bell. The beads are plastic (making them not as fragile as glass beads) and the shade itself is sturdy. 

What you should consider: This item can only fit small lamps and requires users to manipulate different parts of the item to fit different lamps when assembling.

Where to buy: Amazon

Worth checking out

Aspen Creative Traditional Scalloped Bell Shaped Lamp Shade

Aspen Creative Traditional Scalloped Bell Shaped Lampshade

What you need to know: This vintage-inspired lampshade comes in various colors and features flower embroidery throughout. It is made with fringe and is lined with scalloped trim. 

What you’ll love: This product is lightweight and features unique bell construction. It works to fit on floor lamps and wall lamps and is made with durable fabric material. 

What you should consider: This item does not include the harp and finial needed to fit the shade onto the lamp. This lampshade is too small for some lamps. 

Where to buy: Amazon


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Logan DeLoye writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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