Drum Lamp Shade - What is it?

Posted by kayen on Friday, November 20, 2009

By Jim Hoyle

The answer to that question use to be very simple. But today, we are stretching the definition. Traditionally these lamp shades are similar to a cylinder with fairly straight sides. Just think of an oil barrel!

However, today drum lamp shades take on many variations of form and design. You will find modified versions which have a relatively narrower top diameter. There are bell shape versions with graceful curving sides. There are V shaped notch designs in the top and/or bottom rims. There are shallow shades which are short and stocky in appearance, also called Bouillotte lamp shades.

Drum lamp shades are very functional because they not only diffuse light outward through the shade fabric, they also reflect light downward and upward where it can diffuse of the ceiling.

Generally, these lamp shades are relatively larger compared to others which allows the usage of larger wattage bulbs and therefore more light output.

Drum lamp shades were extremely popular from the early 20th century up through the 1980's when they fell out of favor. Today they are becoming extremely popular and they are "new again". Nearly all home design magazines are filled with drum shades. You will see them being used throughout all rooms of the house.

Although there are plenty of options, here are some lamps that simply "cry out" for drum shades:

Hollywood Regency Lamps

Stiffel Lamps and Lamps With The Stiffel Look

Antique Ornate Metal Lamps

Antique Crystal Lamps

Antique Porcelain Lamps

Antique Capodimonte Lamps

George and Martha Washington Lamps

Antique Lamps Circa 1950 - 1980

New Reproduction Lamps of all styles listed above and many others

In summary, most lamp styles can be used with a drum lamp shade. It depends a lot on personal preference and the look you wish to achieve with the lamp.

Good luck on your next lamp shade project.