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10 best lampshades that will inject personality into your living space

From bold patterns and prints to calming natural materials, we’ve found the pieces to know

Ali Howard
Thursday 23 December 2021 16:30 GMT
<p>We trialled our top ten lampshades in different areas of the house, and on a range of lamps </p>

We trialled our top ten lampshades in different areas of the house, and on a range of lamps

A well-chosen lampshade, whether it sits pretty on a standard lamp, table lamp or hung from the ceiling, has the ability to transform a room in an instant, bringing a burst of character to the bedroom or living space. And you don’t need enormously deep pockets to snap up a design-led piece – many high street brands and smaller designer-makers offer striking, well-crafted lampshades at a fraction of the cost of their designer counterparts.

We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to materials, shapes, colours and patterns. Whether we’re after a shade that’s vintage-inspired, complete with elaborate fringing, one made from calming natural materials, or one that 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. Some are lined with a gold paint that further adds to the glow. Alternatively, you could choose a style designed to illuminate the room with pretty shadows, or one that deliberately shows off its interior industrial-style lightbulb.

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.

How we tested

We trialled our top ten lampshades in different areas of the house, and on a range of lamps – whether table or floor – to see how well they fared. We looked for quality of materials and craftsmanship, great design, and how well each one illuminated our spaces.

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The best lampshades for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Pooky x Liberty 25cm drum shade in botanical flora: £50,
  • Best bang for our buck – Dunelm origami hexagon paper easy fit pendant: £10,
  • Best for instant glamour – Mind the Gap Ravenala lampshade, dark: £161,
  • Best seagrass shade – Maison Maison medium scalloped lampshade, natural seagrass: £131,
  • Best for colour lovers – Vigour & Skills beach hut coolie lampshade, culture hustle easy klein: £180,
  • Best brass shade – Matilda Goad brass concertina lampshade, large: £195,
  • Best sustainable style – Winter’s Moon recycled paper lightshade, black and white stripes: £38,
  • Best self-assembly shade – Papershades the London papershade: £30,
  • Best for indoor/outdoor style – BHS rattan tall dome easyfit shade, natural: £55,
  • Best for music loving maximalists – That Rebel House silk pleated Ottavio lampshade: £195,

Pooky x Liberty 25cm drum shade in Botanical Flora


Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

This stand-out drum shade forms part of Pooky’s new collaboration with British heritage brand Liberty. The print is taken from Liberty’s legendary archive and features bold and pigment-rich botanical illustrations on a richly textured dark background. The perfectly crafted shade comes in three sizes, meaning it’s suited to table lamps, floor lamps and as a ceiling light, but even in the petite 25cm configuration, we found it offers a big impact on the style front. Team it with a bright jade or turquoise ceramic lamp to really bring out the colours.

  1. £50 from
Prices may vary
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Dunelm origami hexagon paper easy fit pendant


Best: Bang for our buck

Rating: 9/10

Offering incredible value for money is Dunelm’s origami-inspired ceiling shade. Proving that great design doesn’t have to cost the earth, the shade arrives folded, cleverly opens up, and is secured with concealed magnets, ensuring it keeps its attractive shaping. This one’s easy to hang and once lit, the dynamic folds really come to life. We were impressed with the quality of the shade. The paper is nicely thick and stays rigid. And, scoring points on sustainability, the shade can be recycled once it’s reached the end of its life. That said, we’re in no doubt it’ll last for years.

  1. £10 from
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Mind the Gap Ravenala lampshade, dark


Best: For instant glamour

Rating: 9/10

This is one glamorous lampshade that demands pride of place in the living room – and even if it’s positioned in the corner on a standard lamp it’ll take centre stage. We loved the Ravenala shade for its mix of traditional and contemporary styles. The perfectly rounded drum shape is modern but both the pattern and the fringing recall Art Deco design. Printed on 100 per cent linen, the shade offers a warming ambience once lit, while the gold lining further adds to the glow. We loved the little details on this well-crafted piece, namely the looped gold fringing and the intricate metallic geometrics.

  1. £161 from
Prices may vary
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Maison Maison medium scalloped lampshade, natural seagrass


Best: Seagrass shade

Rating: 8/10

What we loved most about this craft-driven shade is its juxtaposition of rustic materials and formal shaping. The lampshade is handwoven in seagrass and as such, boasts a wonderfully artisanal look with its bumpy texture and natural variations in tone. The seagrass changes colour over time and promises to age beautifully, while the scalloped edging adds a fun, granny-like prim and proper look. This one adds instant warmth to bedrooms and living spaces alike, and that’s before it’s even illuminated.

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Vigour & Skills beach hut coolie lampshade


Best: For colour lovers

Rating: 8/10

For fans of a bold stripe, the beach hut coolie lampshade is just the ticket. Fresh and modern, the shade is impressively hand-painted in opposing angled wide stripes, which awards it its striking look, while its simple, conical form allows the pattern to do all the talking. This one’s painted with Culture Hustle’s acrylic “easy klein” – a rich and bright primary blue – but there’s also the option to choose a custom paint colour from Farrow & Ball’s extensive colour wheel.

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Matilda Goad brass concertina lampshade, large

Matilda Goad.jpg

Best: Brass shade

Rating: 9/10

You can always rely on Matilda Goad for quirky-beautiful homewares. With its solid form, the brass concertina lampshade is a move away from the brand’s signature (softer) scalloped raffia shades. Mimicking a pleated fabric lampshade, this brushed brass number offers a glamorous take on a classic and, thanks to the nature of the material, a lovely dynamic of light and shade, whether it’s lit up or not. This one works best when paired with the brand’s matching lamp for a chic mono look. Stylish and surprising, with a nod to vintage style.

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Winter’s Moon recycled paper lightshade, black and white stripes


Best: Sustainable style

Rating: 9/10

Black and white stripes are never not chic. This affordable but stylish shade caught our eye for its arresting pattern and shape. Handmade from recycled paper, the origami-inspired lampshade offers sculptural interest up above and, despite its humble materials, works well in any home setting – including a formal dining space. We loved the way the lantern-like shade unfolds to create its multifaceted form. And that’s further accentuated by the narrow stripes. A beautiful, design-led piece that won’t break the bank.

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Papershades the London papershade


Best: Self-assembly shade

Rating: 8/10

The brainchild of paper collage artist Rosalind Freeborn, Papershades is a simple but oh so effective concept that brings colour and joy to our living spaces. The shade consists of five printed sections and includes upper and lower internal wheels, which connect the panels to create a curvy sculptural shade that’s perfect for table and standard lamps alike. We loved the DIY aspect: the ready to assemble kit arrives in an A4 envelope and the shade can be put together in a jiffy. Choose from a huge range of painterly designs.

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BHS rattan tall dome easyfit shade, natural


Best: For indoor/outdoor style

Rating: 8/10

The indoor rattan trend continues to bring a laid-back bohemian vibe to our bedrooms and living spaces – and this cage-like dome shade is no exception. Simple in form, the lampshade is woven from an all-natural rattan, which gives it a hand-made, artisanal feel, while the loose weave allows us to show off a cool vintage-style filament bulb inside. As with all BHS’s lighting offering, the shade is affordable but reliably well made. This one will create a relaxed and homely aesthetic. Hang it low for the full effect.

  1. £55 from
Prices may vary
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That Rebel House silk pleated Ottavio lampshade

That Rebel House.jpg

Best: For music loving maximalists

Rating: 9/10

Channelling Ziggy Stardust, the Ottavio is one fashion forward lampshade that makes a statement in any home setting. The shade is crafted from a luxurious silk and features a colour clash of block-printed chevron stripes. The vibrant pattern is interrupted with the material’s neat folds, awarding the shade a pleasing textural element. Formal in shape yet unapologetically rebellious in pattern and colour, we loved this stylish shade on our table lamp.

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The verdict: Lampshades

Pooky x Liberty’s 25cm drum shade in botanical flora proved a beautiful addition to our living space. We found the colours really pop out against the rich dark background, while the shade gave us a homely and warming ambient glow. We are also impressed with the design-led recycled paper lightshade from Winter’s Moon. A stylish, affordable, and eco-friendly shade.

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