Welcome to All-Lampshade Lighting Co., Ltd website,we have more fashion products !


What is an Empire Lamp Shade? A Timeless Classic in Lighting Design

Empire lamp shades are a quintessential element of classic lighting design, adding elegance and sophistication to any interior space. But what exactly is an empire lampshade, and why has it remained a popular choice for decades? Let’s shed some light on this timeless style.

Empire Lamp Shade

Defining the Empire Lamp Shade

An empire lampshade is characterized by its distinctive frustum shape—a tapered cone with the top cut off. This design creates a broader base that gradually narrows towards the top, resulting in a graceful silhouette that effortlessly blends form and function.

A Brief History

The empire shade design has its roots in the early 19th century, coinciding with the French Empire style of decoration. This period was marked by a return to classical forms and motifs, influencing everything from furniture to lighting fixtures. The empire shade’s clean lines and balanced proportions perfectly embodied the aesthetic of the era, and its practicality ensured its enduring popularity.

Characteristics That Set Empire Shades Apart

Shape and Proportions

The hallmark of an empire shade is its tapered shape. Typically, the bottom diameter is about 1.5 to 2 times larger than the top, creating a pleasing visual balance. This shape not only looks elegant but also serves a practical purpose in light distribution.


Empire shades can be crafted from various materials, including:

  • Fabric (silk, linen, cotton)
  • Parchment
  • Glass
  • Metal (for more modern interpretations)

The choice of material can significantly impact the shade’s appearance and the quality of light it produces.

The Advantages of Empire Lamp Shades

  1. Optimal Light Distribution: The tapered shape directs light downward, making it ideal for task lighting while still providing ambient illumination.
  2. Versatility: Empire shades complement a wide range of interior styles, from traditional to transitional and even some modern settings.
  3. Adaptability: They work well with various lamp types, including table lamps, floor lamps, and even some pendant fixtures.

Empire vs Other Lamp Shade Styles

When compared to other popular styles, empire shades offer a unique blend of elegance and functionality:

  • Empire vs. Drum Shades: While drum shades have straight sides, empire shades taper, offering a more dynamic silhouette.
  • Empire vs. Coolie Shades: Coolie shades have a much more dramatic flare, whereas empire shades offer a more subtle, refined look.
  • Empire vs. Bell Shades: Bell shades curve outward at the bottom, while empire shades maintain straight lines, giving a more structured appearance.

Choosing the Perfect Empire Shade

Selecting the right empire shade involves considering several factors:

  1. Lamp Base Pairing: The shade should complement the base in both style and proportion. The bottom diameter of the shade should be roughly equal to the height of the base.
  2. Size Guidelines: The shade’s height should be about 3/4 the height of the base for balanced proportions.
  3. Material Selection: Consider the room’s decor and the desired light quality. Fabric shades offer a soft, diffused light, while glass or metal can provide more directed illumination.

Decorating with Empire Lamp Shades

Empire shades are incredibly versatile and can enhance various interior styles:

  • Traditional Rooms: Pair silk empire shades with ornate brass or crystal lamp bases for a classic look.
  • Transitional Spaces: Use linen or textured fabric shades on simpler bases to bridge traditional and modern elements.
  • Modern Twist: Opt for empire shades in bold colors or patterns to add interest to contemporary spaces.

Care and Maintenance

To keep your empire shade looking its best:

  • Dust regularly with a soft, dry cloth or feather duster.
  • For fabric shades, use a low-suction vacuum attachment for deeper cleaning.
  • Store shades in a cool, dry place when not in use to prevent warping or fabric damage.

DIY Empire Lamp Shade Project

For the crafty enthusiast, creating a custom empire shade can be a rewarding project:

  1. Start with a wire frame in the empire shape.
  2. Choose your fabric and carefully wrap it around the frame, adhering with fabric glue.
  3. Trim excess fabric and add decorative trim if desired.

This DIY approach allows for complete customization of size, fabric, and embellishments.

Conclusion: The Enduring Appeal of Empire Lamp Shades

Empire lampshades have stood the test of time for good reason. Their elegant shape, versatility, and ability to provide both task and ambient lighting make them a perennial favourite among interior designers and homeowners alike. Whether adorning a classic table lamp or adding sophistication to a modern floor lamp, the empire shade continues to reign supreme in the world of lighting design.


1. Can empire shades work in modern interiors?

Yes,especially when chosen in contemporary materials or bold colours.

2. How do I clean a fabric Empire lampshade?

Use a soft brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner or gently wipe with a slightly damp cloth.

3. What’s the best size empire shade for my lamp?

The bottom diameter should be about equal to the lamp base’s height, and the shade’s height should be roughly 3/4 of the base height.

4. Are empire shades suitable for ceiling lights?

While less common, empire shades can be used for some pendant fixtures, adding a touch of elegance to overhead lighting.


More Posts

Custom Wood Pendant Lamps

Chandelier FAQ

The selection and use of chandeliers vary greatly. Finding a suitable chandelier for spaces with different shapes involves following certain guidelines. The usage of single

Send Us A Message

Ask our experts

I will reply within 24 hours.