How to Hang a Drum Shade

Hanging pendants and drum shades are everywhere.  They’re stylish and usually a quite inexpensive way to introduce a little pop into your lighting.  Hanging drum shades is a great way to cast a warm glow in any space.  The resulting light is warmer and less harsh than your typical overhead lighting.  But sometimes it’s difficult to know how/where exactly to hang the buggers. 



When hanging over a table, the bottom of the drum shade should be between 26 and 36 inches above it.  The lower it’s hung, the warmer and cozier the light.  It is doesn’t have a table under it and will be walked beneath, hang it 7 feet from the floor.  You probably don’t have any friends taller than 7 feet, right?  Oh, and they look great in pairs!



Getting a harsh view of the bulb from underneath?  You can find a diffuser disk to fit inside the shade at a lamp-parts store or online.



Make your own custom hanging fixture by buying a plain hanging drum shade using spray adhesive to attach fabric.



You can hang most pendants from a regular ceiling fixture, or find a pendant with a cord and plug.  Then you can hang it wherever you like with a hook and plug it into a wall outlet.  Or, find shades you love and buy a light/cord kit to make your own.  Shades of Light is a great source for all kinds of options.



Use a pair instead of bedside lamps to give you more space on your bedside tables.


It doesn’t matter how beautiful your furniture or accessories are – without good and varied lighting, the whole room will fall flat.  My clients are generally amazed at the difference the right lighting makes!

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15 thoughts on “How to Hang a Drum Shade

  1. Jamie says:

    I like to look at the Shades of Light catalog and then say, “I could do that. And cheaper.” Of course I haven’t yet, but one can dream. Right?

  2. Lee says:

    ok that bedside example photo really piques my interest….
    what do you do when you don’t have ceiling wiring at those exact spots? Just use a cord and swag it?

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Lee, Directly above each bedside table, screw in those hooks you use to hang a plant (available at hardware stores). Then you use a cord and swag it over the hook and plug in a regular outlet. If you don’t like the look of the exposed cord, you can use those fabric cord-covers. You can easily make your own in any fabric you like – it’s just a thin sleeve of fabric bunched up. Hope that helps!

  3. radhika navelkar says:

    Thanks for entering my giveaway! I love your site. I am now a follower on networked blogs.

    I have to nominate someone for the stylish blog award and I love your blog so much I will definetly add you to the list.

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  4. Kelly says:

    Congrats on your award!!

    Great post- I am looking now to buy a drum shade for some reading light between two chairs. I am going to hang from the ceiling. I think I will hang lower because no one will be walking below it. The only problem I am having with that though is I am afraid the shade is going to block the views outside. Another decorating dilemma. 🙂

  5. Pingback: Ceiling Light Dilemmas: How’s It Hanging?

  6. Diana says:

    I am hanging a lampshade on both sides of my bed. How many inches should the bottom of the shade be from the floor, or how high above the nightstand?

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