Crooked lamp shades
March 1, 2021 9:17 AM   Subscribe

I have some lamp shades on new lamps that don't quite sit level, e.g., they are crooked. How do I fix this? And is this an unusual thing, or a common thing? How can I buy more reliably more level lamps in the future?

I recently bought 2 lamps (a table lamp, a floor lamp) from 2 different retailers for ~$100 USD each (Lamps Plus & Wayfair, if relevant.) The lamp shades on both of them don't sit level on the "harp" of the lamp, e.g., one side is a bit higher than the other. It seems like the part of the harp that connects to the lampshade structure is just askew.

1) How can I fix this? I currently have a bit of electrical tape wedged into where the lampshade meets the harp + finial to make it less bad.
2) Is this a common thing for lamps at this price point? Or lamps, period? I've been google searching this, but it seems like this is an uncommon problem by how few helpful sites there are.
3) How can I avoid buying wonky lamps with lamp shades in the future?
posted by ellerhodes to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
Best answer: IME the screw/finial attachment can sometimes be rotated on the harp in one direction. If the lean is the other way, on the cross axis, check to see that this bracket-thingy a) moves at all, and b) is at the top-center of the harp. After that I would look at the bottom of the harp under those sleeves to see if the ends are seated evenly, and if the lean is still there, bend (or stick a little clump of paper in) the low side "receiver" up enough to even it out. Alternatively, on the finial screw top of the harp, you can do what it kind of sounds like you're doing, shimming one side of the seat below the shade's, uh, "hole thing" before screwing everything down. Rebending the harp itself is probably more effort and time than buying a cheap new harp with the proper alignment, depending.

Also, don't underestimate contacting the retailers. Wayfair might be a bust, but Lamps Plus is chainy enough to have a customer service department who would respond to your needs while you're still in the return/exchange period.
posted by rhizome at 9:39 AM on March 1, 2021

Best answer: My mom made a lot of lamps for herself and me over our lifetime, and I always had the impression it was totally normal to have to reshape the harp a little, as you were putting it together and again after a move or something bumping the shade (which will bend the harp). I normally start from the top pin/bolt thingy and bend it gently until the shade sits straight - actually I usually just hold the bottom edges of the shade and use that to "drive" it to straight, but it's usually the attachment point and top bar that move. Occasionally I have to actually straighten or bend one of the arms a little bit to get it level.

I can't imagine returning a lamp for this reason unless the harp was really distorted and couldn't be straightened.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:46 AM on March 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You can also buy replacement harps that are a bit heavier-duty than the nickel-y stuff you find on a lot of mass-produced lamps, even expensive ones. They'll run $5-20 depending on size and material.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:50 AM on March 1, 2021

« Older Lowest hassle (and safest) way to get rid of a...   |   The days are getting longer... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.