Talk lampshades to me
December 1, 2018 2:41 AM   Subscribe

How do I know if a lampshade will fit an existing lamp?

I have this Ikea lamp. I would like it to make the entire room a bit brighter, as opposed to the "spotlight on my desk" effect it currently has, so I guess I need to replace the current lampshade with something that would diffuse light more.

I don't have a whole lot of money, so I was looking at cheap lampshades like this one or this one or this one.

Short of taking off the existing lampshade and taking it to a shop, how on earth would I know if whatever lampshade I buy will fit the lamp? I live fairly out in the sticks and the nearest shop where I could buy such a lampshade is ~40min away by bus, so I would much prefer to just buy something online, or, if I have to go to the shop, do so only once rather than doing the Try-and-Return Dance.

(That third lampshade I linked says it requires an E27 screw cap lightbulb, which I know is what my lamp takes - does that mean it'll fit? If so, I'm guessing the same model in white, which does not specify a lightbulb size but unlike the other one is actually available to buy online / at my nearest store, would also fit?)
posted by sailoreagle to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
You linked the "LERSTA Floor/reading lamp", which is a gooseneck lamp with a metal hood: I'm not sure you can reliably change the lampshade on it. The lamp itself is not designed to hold a lampshade.

There's a couple ways lampshades connect to a lamp:
  • The lamp has a built-in "harp", which has a screw mount on the top, directly above the lightbulb, that the lampshade rests on.
  • Lampshade has a built-in harp: these have an internal structure which goes 'down' and mounts around the base of the light bulb; you take the light bulb off, place the circle on the light bulb socket, then screw the bulb back in.
  • Clip-on lampshades: these have a loop of heavy wire which wraps around the light bulb itself to hold onto the lamp.
Pretty much all of these assume the light bulb is pointing straight up -- when you remove the metal cowl from your Lersta lamp, the actual light bulb socket is sticking out at 90° from the gooseneck, which means option #1 won't work since there's no harp on this lamp, and #2 and #3 both need the gooseneck to be twisted backwards so the bulb is pointing straight upwards. I'm not sure you're going to get out of this what you want -- you're better off buying a proper standing lamp.

Edit: On giving it some thought, the kind with a built-in harp, which connects to the lightbulb socket and the lightbulb screws in through it, *could* work, depending on its shape and size: you want it to not cover up too much of the base, or leave the bulb sticking out, but not so huge it drags down the gooseneck. Also, you have to make sure that both the built-in harp and the light socket have matching "threads" -- the lightbulb socket will have threads on the outside of the socket (not the threads on the inside the lightbulb screws into). I *think* that means your third lampshade ilnk might work, but the website doesn't actually show how the shade mounts to the lightbulb socket.
posted by AzraelBrown at 4:27 AM on December 1, 2018

Have you tried removing the existing shade? Knowing how it attaches would help.
posted by Segundus at 4:39 AM on December 1, 2018

I used to have a couple of those lamps and the lampshade is not removable/replaceable. Your best bet to get softer ambient light out of it is simply to bend it so that the bulb is pointing upwards and bounce the light off the ceiling.
posted by drlith at 5:29 AM on December 1, 2018

Yes, directing the light at a ceiling or wall so that it becomes an indirect light source will soften it dramatically.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:38 AM on December 1, 2018

If the shade is non-removable, you can get more light by poking holes in it.
You can get creative with it but the basic idea is to rest the other side of the shade against a wood block then tap a fine nail in with a small hammer, and then repeat that, possibly a lot.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:39 AM on December 1, 2018

Have you tried removing the existing shade? Knowing how it attaches would help.

I have not, but I would think it's removable given 1. how I put it together (here are the instructions) 2. someone else has, in the past, done a Lersta shade replacement.

It seems like I could use the cap-and-screw thingy that holds the current shade on to hold a replacement shade on also, provided I get a lampshade with a holder with the correct size hole? Which was my quandary in the first place.
posted by sailoreagle at 5:40 AM on December 1, 2018

It seems like I could use the cap-and-screw thingy that holds the current shade on to hold a replacement shade on also, provided I get a lampshade with a holder with the correct size hole?

Perfectly right. The threaded retaining ring that holds the existing Lersta shade in place should hold the flat mounting ring of any other socket-mounted shade equally well. The external diameter of E27 lamp sockets is near enough to standard that any shade designed to fit an E27 socket should fit your Ikea one.

The only real issue will be that you'll need a shade large enough to accommodate the side entry gooseneck, possibly after putting a fairly tight bend in it as in the shade replacement page you linked to. Shades designed to mount to a pendant cord rather than the socket (like these paper ball ones) won't work with that gooseneck.
posted by flabdablet at 8:30 AM on December 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

For the future reference of anyone who may hit this page looking for the same solution...

I bought the white Haymarket lampshade from B&Q and it worked out fine. It's a cylinder with 20cm diameter; wider may have worked better, narrower definitely would not have worked. The holder circle thing inside the lampshade is 4cm from the edge of the lampshade; shallower would have been better, deeper definitely would not have worked.

The key is that the cap-and-screw thing is long enough that even though the holder circle thing doesn't quite sit flush with the base of the gooseneck, the lampshade is still held firmly.

Here are some photos.

I may end up seeking out a brighter lightbulb, but this is already working lots better than before.
posted by sailoreagle at 1:23 PM on December 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

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