The Language behind the Lamp

If there is one thing we have learned, it is that lighting can make or break a room. A lamp's size, style, scale and location all factor in to creating and defining the entire essence of a living area.  Finding that perfect fixture can sometimes be a daunting task, so we turned to Clay Isaacs of Lumen Lamps  in Nashville to educate us about his store and give his thoughts on such an important element in the home. What led you to getting into the lamp business? I opened Lumen nearly eleven years ago. Previously, I was with a local investments firm as a bond trader.  My career reached one of those "natural" stopping points and I decided to strike off in a different direction.  People sometimes ask, "Why lamps?" and I often answer, "Why not?"   What type and style of lighting does Lumen sell? Lumen is primarily a lamp and shade business. We offer a wide variety of lamps and shades, from the most traditional to the occasionally wacky.  We have an extensive inventory from which to choose.  Additionally, we offer some furniture, occasional tables and accessories.       Oh, the Lampshade!  What are guidelines for matching a shade to its base?   The only rule is that the lampshade can't be larger than the table!  In the past, people followed the 55/45 guideline: 55% lamp base and 45% lamp shade.  But today the size guidelines are much more subjective.  In regards to which shape to use for a shade, usually the base of the lamp provides your best guidelines.  A rectangular base should have a rectangular shade, a round base should have a circular shade, a 3-legged base should have a round shade, etc. Which lighting fixtures are your best sellers? The last couple of years have been focused on transitional lamps and shades.  Customers have wanted  a sleeker look to their lamps, even if it meant simply updating a shade.  While this trend continues, there is also an emphasis on a more natural look.  Burlap and linen shades on "crusty" candlesticks and found objects made into lamps have also been very popular.         Which 2 lamps are your personal favorites? I love this lamp by Laura Kirar!   And this one by Charlie West. Isn't it beautiful?   What trends do you see in lighting for 2012? I believe 2012 will see a continuation of both trends  mentioned above. In addition, classic forms and pleated shades will always be in style.     **Be on the lookout for many Lumen lamps featured in Nicole Kidman's new upcoming film,  "Stoker," which was filmed in Nashville!        To read more of Clay's tips on lighting and to view Lumen's extensive online inventory, go to

Clay Isaacs

Lumen Lamps

280 White Bridge Pike / Nashville, TN 37209

(Photos: courtesy of Interior Canvas)