How To Choose the Fabric of a Lampshade

fabric lampshade style guide

When you are deciding on the perfect lampshade to fit your lamp and your room you need to consider different points.

Light Diffusion

First think about the purpose of the lamp. If it is for reading or to shed ambient light, you should choose a translucent shade. If you're using the lamp only as an accent light and don't need a lot of light in the room, you can use an opaque shade.

Color Of The Shade

A second point to consider is the color of the shade. This is more about a decorative point of view. So, if you want your shades to be a focal point in your room you should choose bold colors that will stand out in the room decoration. On the other hand, if you choose a more subtle approach, you should choose neutral tones of lampshade colors.


When you choose the material of your shade you need to consider the look you want for your lamp and you room. We divide the different materials of lampshades into four categories: Silks, Synthetics, Linens and Cotton.


Silks Synthetics Linens Cotton


Light slubs.
Thinner and more delicate than Dupioni.

More texture. Prominent slubs.
It is similar to shantung, but slightly thicker and heavier.

No slubs.
Thin tight weave fabric.

Fine silk with a smooth touch.
Considered a high end fabric.
Looks like Pongee Silk but thicker.
Available only for custom shades.

No slubs.
Thin light weight silk.
Available only for custom shades.
Good option for shades with fine details and pleating.


Not quite as fine as real silk.
Synthetic version of the Pongee Silk.

Supreme Satin
Synthetic version of Shantung.


Consistent weave.
Natural, more relaxed texture.

Fine Linen
Consistent weave.
Tighter warp and weft.

Flax Linen
More textured.
Relaxed and less formal look.

Handkerchief Linen
100% natural pure linen.
Available only for custom shades.

Soft touch.
Uniform appearance.
Tighter weave than Linen and Fine Linen.