A guide to lampshade fabrics

Fabric lampshades are an incredibly effective – and cost-effective – way of introducing colour and texture into your interior decor. And each fabric, whether cotton or silk, linen or jute, opaque or translucent has its own special character. Here's a material lover’s guide to lampshade fabrics...


Cotton lampshades

Classic and versatile

35cm straight empire shade in "Sama" Syrian tile printed cotton

Cotton is one of the most commonly used materials around the globe, and it’s a great choice for fabric lampshades as it’s durable, easy to clean and extremely versatile — and it produces a lovely, even ambient light.

Cotton lampshades can either be rolled for a cool, smooth look, or ‘gathered’ for a pleated effect — this style works particularly well in spaces with a more classic or traditional feel.

Another great thing about cotton is that it dyes well, meaning you can create a huge range of vibrant colours and patterns. Our block printed cotton lampshades are hand-printed by skilled craftspeople in a workshop near the Indian city of Jaipur, and come in an almost mind-boggling choice of designs.

Take for example our new Syrian Tile shades, which are based on the stunning medieval geometric tile patterns which adorned prominent buildings in the Middle East.

Browse our designer block printed cotton lampshades.


Silk lampshades

Sheen, texture and a touch of the exotic

16cm empire shade in Peacock dupion silk, paired with English Garden double wall fitting in grey and gold by Matthew Williamson


Texture in interior design is the way something ‘feels’ to the eye, which is why designers love to experiment with contrasting materials, from teak to velvet to concrete. So you don’t have to touch a silk lampshade to appreciate the texture it brings to a room. Silk is naturally associated with a sense of luxury and elegance, and shades have a beautiful, almost iridescent quality.

Our silk lampshades are sourced direct from some of the most important silk centres in the world, such as Rajasthan and Tajikistan. We use a range of different types including Dupion silk.

Dupion silk has a simply beautiful lustre and creates a lovely sheen when lit. This type of silk has a more rustic feel, and can sometimes come with small imperfections — known as ‘slubs’ — which we consider to be part of its natural beauty. Our Dupion silk is very versatile and has contrasting colours woven into it.

30cm straight empire shade in white silk

Meanwhile, our gathered silk lampshades are made from a more delicate, lightweight silk, with fewer slubs. This silk has a lovely translucent quality and is dyed to make beautiful shades for any room. A celebration of the boudoir!.

View our silk lampshades.


Linen lampshades

Laid back and natural

40cm straight empire lampshade in natural linen

Linen has been used to create all manner of goods over the centuries. As a fabric, it has a lovely rustic simplicity, but it’s also extremely versatile. With its slightly stiffer weave and natural slub, linen has a more laid-back, effortless feel than cotton. It’s also more lightweight than some other fabrics, such as velvet, and diffuses a lovely ambient light.

Linen lampshades come in a wide range of different designs, from bold block colours to fun and funky patterns. For a smart, contemporary look, try a block colour linen shade. Or for some added character and texture, a stonewashed linen could fit the bill.

Meanwhile, if you want to make a real statement, vibrant Shibori lampshades have character in spades, with their beautifully contrasting colours. And handmade Ikat shades are based on a traditional Indonesian tie-dyeing technique which produces a fabulous pattern on the soft natural linen.

Browse Pooky’s linen lampshades.


Velvet lampshades

Luxury and decadence

30cm tall tapered shade in buttercup velvet 


There’s something gloriously decadent about velvet. Rich, tactile, even sensuous, it’s a wonderful material for making really beautiful lampshades which add that extra touch of luxury and opulence — whether they’re switched on or off!

As a rule, velvet lampshades are opaque and don’t transmit light around the space as much as some other materials, but instead they send the light upwards and downwards, creating a lovely pool of light underneath. This makes them perfect for adding warmth and atmosphere, plus a bit of drama.

Our velvet lampshades come in a range of different colours, from posh pink to relaxing forest green and warm buttercup. For some added glamour, try a graceful cone lampshade.

Explore our sumptuous velvet lampshades.


Parchment and paper lampshades

Cool and contemporary

Kyoto pendant shade in brass and papaya parchment


Parchment and paper lampshades offer a cool, clean, contemporary look while also being naturally beautiful. Rolled parchment lampshades are particularly effective in block colours, while marbled paper lampshades add extra character and interest to a space.

Parchment shades can be made from all kinds of exotic fibres, from banana to papaya. Pooky’s are created in Jaipur from handmade parchment paper, which is pressed, colour dyed and sealed with wax. The inside of the shade is then lined with soft cotton. The result is a beautiful parchment lampshade which emits a lovely, magical glow.

See our parchment lampshades.

35cm straight empire shade in hand made marbled paper in green and blue roya


Meanwhile, marbling is a traditional centuries-old process during which paints and oils are mixed together to create wonderful, unique patterns. Our marbled paper lampshades come in a wide range of different colours and styles — each one fascinating and beautiful in its own right.

Browse marbled paper lampshades.


Jute lampshades

The sustainable golden fibre

Jute pendant shade in red


Also dubbed the ‘golden fibre’, jute fibre comes from the tropical jute plant which is native to India and is celebrated for its lovely warm, golden colour and beautiful silky sheen.

 Jute is a sustainable, strong and hard-wearing material, which has been used to make a huge variety of different textiles across the millennia. 

We have chosen to use a wide weave for our jute lampshades and to pair them with a contrasting inner liner — creating a stunning effect when you turn on the light.

Try our dark navy jute lampshade which sports a bold canary-yellow liner, or alternatively our acid yellow lampshade cunningly teamed with a punchy pink inner. 

View our range of jute lampshades.


Browse our range of designer lampshades here. And for more information on finding the right shade for your space, read our Lampshade buying guide.