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About 'The Drop' on Your Lamp Shade

Let's talk about what 'The Drop' means on your lamp shade and how to measure it.

The Basics

To start at the beginning, RINGS refers to the shade hardware that creates the framework of a hardback lamp shade and allows it to attach to the lamp base. There are a variety of different hardware names when it comes to lamp shades, so don't feel bad if that starts to sound a little confusing. You aren't alone.

SPIDER RINGS, UNO RINGS, or EURO RINGS are some of the most common hardware options. All of these hardware options have SPOKES - the wires that stem from the edge of the ring and meet at the center attachment in the shade.

In Spider rings the spokes will always stem from the top of the shade. In Euro Fitters or Uno Fitters the spokes can stem from the top or the bottom of the lamp shade (this is important to note for later). You will see the spokes most often located on the top of the shade for pendant lamps and on the bottom of the shade with table lamps.

Using whichever side of the shade the spokes start on, measure from the edge of the shade to the center of the hardware to get your DROP MEASUREMENT.

Uno or Euro Ring Drop

Euro rings and Uno rings are very similar, and their names are often used interchangeably. It's also common to hear this hardware referred to as a 'fitter' - Euro fitter, Uno fitter, etc.
With these fittings, you put the lamp shade in place before you thread the light bulb into the socket. Sometimes there will be threading on the exterior of the socket with an additional plastic ring that sandwiches the ring in place on the socket. Sometimes, the lamp shade will just rest at the top of the socket and the light bulb does all the work to hold the shade in place.

In my personal experience, I haven't seen a 'standard' drop height for euro rings as the goal is the get the light bulb to rest near the middle of the shade. This is a much more custom option that varies per lamp size.


Spider Ring Drop 

With Spider rings, the industry standard is 1/2" drop height. This means the washer is 1/2" lower than the top of the shade. This inset allows for the hardware and finial to be slightly obscured from view at eye level.

lamp shade with spider ring in boucle fabric


It's common for larger and vintage lamp shades to have larger drops to allow for taller, oversize shades.

Measuring The Drop

The best way to measure the drop on your existing lamp shade is to place the shade on a flat surface like a table top. Make sure the side of the lamp shade that has the spokes is on the bottom.
Then put a ruler or tape measure through the center of the shade. Measure the distance between the table top and the center of the hardware. The angle of the spokes doesn't matter to this measurement.

You can hold your finger on the ruler to mark the measurement, or if that is difficult, you could use a piece of tape to mark the location on the ruler. Then you can pull the ruler out of the shade and read the measurement clearly.


Unusual Circumstances

On rare occasions, you will see a drop euro fitter where the spokes are almost as long as the height of the shade (see image below). While there isn't anything functionally wrong with this style of lamp shade, I don't prefer it. In this case, the spokes end up between the light bulb and the walls of the shade, creating unnecessary shadows when the light is on.

If you have this style of shade, please send me some photos and let's see if we can adjust the design to prevent those shadows.

And always, if you are unsure about your measuring or hardware, don't hesitate to reach out with questions and photos. I'm happy to help you problem solve so we can make sure your shade will be perfect for your lamp. 

euro ring hardware in lamp shade

Have a question? I know this includes a lot of terminology that we don't use in our day-to-day lives. If you are confused about any of this information or have a question specific to getting the right shade on one of your lamps, please feel free to reach out through my Contact Page. I'll email you within a couple days. I'm happy to help. -Krista