Lampshade Style Guide - Empire Lampshades

Updated: May 24

Welcome to our new Lampshade Style Guide! In our new monthly series, we’ll be looking at one particular style of lampshade and each month we'll explore its USP. Focussing on shapes, types of fabrics and coverings and function for both soft and hard shades, we’ll delve into its history, uses and making tips, along with plenty of inspiration for how the shade can be best used in your home. We're kicking off this month with a traditional shaped hard shade – The Empire





A little bit of history

The Empire shade was conceived by taking a classic ‘frustum’ shape, which is the portion of a cone or pyramid that remains after its upper part has been cut off parallel to its base. Angel Strawbridge of Escape to the Chateau credits the name 'Empire' to the French, but we're yet to find any concrete historic evidence (sorry Angel!)




Style Description

Empire shades consist of two circular rings, with the bottom ring always being larger than the top ring, creating a slope along the side of the lampshade. This slope can differ in gradient creating two different styles of Empire shade – a classic Empire and a Straight Empire.


Our Empire Lampshade Making Kits are based on the straight Empire lampshade, which features a narrow opening at the top with a slightly larger base opening, with a significant, yet proportional shade depth between the top and bottom rings. If you prefer a classic Empire shape you can create your own using our Lampshade Designer and Pattern Forming Tool.



Advantages and Uses

Perfect for use as either a table lampshade or a pendant lampshade, the wider bottom ring of an Empire shade means more light is cast down, than up, making it great for subtle lighting.


With a current renewed popularity as a table lampshade, it’s worth remembering that a lampshade should ideally be wider than the widest part of the lamp base, to create a balanced look. The Empire also works well as a lampshade for a traditional floor or standard lamp.


Empire Lampshade Fitting

All of our Empire Lampshade Making Kits have a duplex fitting, which works in conjunction with a Shade Carrier, for table lamps or a Spider Fitting for a pendant lamp. Our Shade Carriers come in a range of sizes (4", 5", 6", 7", 8", 9", 10" & 12") and this allows you to position your lampshade on the lamp base at a higher or lower-level, depending on the height of Shade Carrier you choose.



Empire Shade Sizes

All of our Empire Lampshade Making kits contain everything you need to make your lampshade, including two rings, a precut self-adhesive professional PVC panel, a 3-metre roll of tape, a finishing tool, for tucking the fabric under the frame and a set of photo instructions. All you need at home to make your shade is a woven fabric to suit the size of your shade, a clean flat surface and a pair of fabric scissors.



Empire Shade Making Tips

When choosing your fabric for an Empire shade, it’s important that you consider the pattern. The pre-cut Lampshade Making PVC panel in Lampshade Making Kit has a slight curve at the top and the bottom, to accommodate the different sizes of rings. A linear pattern, such as a stripe, therefore, won’t work with an Empire lampshade, as this will 'curl upwards' around the shade as it's rolled. An all-over pattern or a plain fabric will give the best results.


Watch Sam, our Lampshade Demonstrator, in the youtube video below as she takes you step-by-step through making an Empire lampshade and shares plenty more useful hints and tips.



Creative Empires

We’ve had fun on the blog turning the traditional Empire shade into something completely different, ranging from large to small. Our Mini-Empire Fairy Light shades, although created for Mother’s Day, are perfect for any time of year and are a great scrap busting project. Check out the post and download your FREE PDF Mini Empire template.


Welcome to our new Lampshade Style Guide! In our new monthly series, we’ll be looking at one particular style of lampshade and each month we'll explore its USP. Focussing on shapes, types of fabrics and coverings and function, for both soft and hard shades, we’ll delve into its history, uses and making tips, along with plenty of inspiration for how the shade can be best used in your home. We're kicking off this month with a traditional shaped hard shade – The Empire


Empire Shade Showcase

We couldn't finish the post without sharing some of the fantastic Empire lampshades that our amazing customers have made, from subdued watery tones to bold bright colours. The customer shades show how the depth and shape of an Empire shade is the perfect vehicle for a pattern or plain fabric and we're hoping you'll use them for ideas and inspiration, for your own Empire lampshades.


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