Glossary of terms

Shade Types

  • Hardback – A shade that is made of either paper or fabric, with a styrene or card backing. There is generally just a top and bottom metal ring. A hardback shade has a cleaner look, and works best with contemporary and transitional lamps.

  • Soft sided – A shade that is made with a frame that has multiple ribs to give it its shape. There is an inside lining, and often has exterior piping where each rib is, so that they are less visible. A soft sided shade has a more traditional look. Most pleated shades are soft sided.

Bias vs Rolled Edge

  • Bias– Most shades are finished on the top and the bottom with about ¼” of self-material. Hardback shades usually have a single bias. Often a double bias is used on soft sided and pleated shades. The bias is a slightly more traditional look.

  • Rolled Edge – On many hardback shades, this is used to give the shade a cleaner look. The material is rolled over the edge, so that there is no additional material on the top and bottom of the shade. This is ideal for a modern look.


  • Standard spider– This is a metal frame with a center washer close to the top of the shade. Most shades in the U.S. have this fitting. It is meant to fit on a harp or a center rod, and is secured onto the lamp with a finial.

  • Euro Fitter – Most European shades have this type of fitting. There is a ring that secures the shade onto the socket, and it fits below the bulb. Generally, the inner dimension of the ring is 1-3/8” or 1-5/8”. Some chandelier shades have a 1-1/8” ID. If the socket is at the bottom of the lamp, we have a converter that can allow the use of a harp and a standard shade. If the socket faces down, and is at the top of the lamp, you must use a shade with a euro fitter.

  • Uno Fitter This is for lamps where the bulb faces down, and the socket on the lamp has threading. The Uno fitter has threading so that it can screw directly on to the socket. Many old bridge lamps have this fitting.

  • Bulb Clip – When there is no way to attach the shade to the lamp, the bulb clip clips directly on to the bulb. The clip can be built into the shade, or we have clips that we can attach to our standard shades. There are round bulb clips for the typical Edison bulb, and there are candelabra (flame) clips which are used for chandelier shades.

  • IES Bowl – This an opalescent glass bowl that fits into the socket of the lamp. The shade fits on top of the bowl, and usually the spider is made with crimps so that the shade fits securely on the bowl. We can also use small clips on a standard spider for the same effect.

  • Harp– This is the curved metal piece that fits into a saddle that is found below the socket on most American lamps. There is a flat disk on the top which supports the shade, and has a threaded screw to secure the shade in place with a finial. The harp comes in ½” increments from 5” up to 15”. The harp size needed depends on the height of the shade.

  • Recess – This refers to the location of the fitting on the shade. Most standard spiders are recessed ½” from the top of the shade, but with very tall shades, the recess is sometimes a few inches. Euro fittings are often positioned up from the bottom of the shade.

  • Finial – This is the piece used to secure the shade onto the lamp. These are often decorative, and can add another design element.