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How to Change a Lamp Shade

Lamp shades not only filter the light coming from the bulb, they also provide colour and decor to a room. One way to change the look of a room is to change your lamp shades. Another reason for changing the lamp shades is when they become yellowed and dusty beyond cleaning. Lamp shades are available at home improvement centres and department stores. When you change a lamp shade look for one that is similar in size to the current shade.

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  1. Take measurements of the existing shade and write them on a piece of paper. Measure the width of the upper part of the shade as well as the lower part with a tape measure. Also measure the length of the shade from top to bottom. This helps when purchasing a replacement to ensure that you pick one that matches the size you currently have on the lamp.

  2. Write down how the shade assembly connects to the lamp. Some shades use a spring clip that slips over the light bulb. Others have an X-shaped top frame that attaches to the harp of the lamp with a decorative cap, called a finial. The harp is the upside-down U-shaped structure that attaches to the lamp on either side of the bulb and supports the shade.

  3. Purchase a new shade with the same mounting as the old one and measuring close to the current shade in size. Lamp shades that are too small make the lamp look bare, while too large a lamp shade can make an area seem cluttered.

  4. Remove the old lamp shade from the lamp. Unscrew the decorative finial on the top centre of the shade and lift the shade off the lamp. If you have the type that simply clips to the bulb, hold the base of the lamp while pulling up on the shade.

  5. Install the new shade and reattach the finial.

  6. Tip

    The shade should be long enough so that when you look at the lamp from the side, you do not see any part of the bulb.


    Turn the lamp off and allow the bulb to cool before removing and reinstalling a clip-type lamp shade.

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measurements
  • Pencil

About the Author

Kenneth Crawford is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. His work has appeared in both print and online publications, including "The American Chronicle." Crawford holds an associate degree in business administration from Commonwealth College.

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