Shine A Light

Illuminate any space in your home with a lamp. Just be sure to follow these tips and tricks to make the right choice.

By Shannon Craig
Photography courtesy of Chelsea House


Hoping to shine a positive light on your home’s interiors? Mary Price of Brody’s Lamps—a Saint Louis lamp and shade destination since 1932—says the first step may be as simple as flipping the switch. “Harsh overhead lighting tends to wash out the room,” she explains. “You can get a better quality light, in any room, using lamps. What I find with many people though, is that they don’t know what they need.”

With more than 5,000 lamps of varying shapes, sizes, colors and occasions of use in store, Price acknowledges that finding the right lamp can be a little overwhelming. Fortunately, her decades of experience in lamps, shades and bulbs have brought a few simple tips and tricks to light.

“There’s no right or wrong way to light a room with lamps.”
Though size—“height and width, mainly,” Price explains—is the key factor to consider when finding the right lamp for your space, there are no finite rules that delineate right from wrong style-wise. In fact, lighting psychology, the study of human responses to light, suggests that it’s the quality of light in your home or workspace that can significantly affect both your cognitive and emotional state. Put simply, it is most important to choose a lighting solution that makes a room feel the way you’d like it to—be it bright and productive with direct exposure and cool blue hues, or relaxing and intimate with limited lumens and warm yellow tones.

“Most people will choose the wrong size.”
“You don’t want the lamp shade to be larger than the table,” Price illustrates. To ensure the lamp you love physically fits the environment, Price recommends bringing a photograph of the room you’re outfitting. “It’s all a matter of space. You may not have the space for a table, so a table lamp wouldn’t make sense.” Occasionally, the lamp you want may not be the lamp you need, so Brody’s sales associates make it a habit of selecting a range of options that fit the bill, stylishly and appropriately.

“The small details can refresh an entire room.”
Bringing swatches from your bedding or furniture for trim matching, choosing a new shade or bulb, or selecting one of Brody’s 620 finial options can all reveal the contemporary side of your well-loved lamp. “The finial holds the lampshade down,” Price explains, “and it’s also like jewelry for your lamp. We have everything from classic silver, brass, gold and bronze to ceramic and jade.” As far as shades go, traditional colors of white, cream, beige and black still operate as the most functionally useful options, “but you can mirror the colors and materials from around the room to match the shade trim, which is something many designers end up doing.” If you’re selecting a shade though, Price warns, “Bring the lamp. Otherwise it’s like buying a hat without a head.”

“We help from the beginning to the end of a room,” Price assures. So be it boom arm, torcherie, tripod, buffet or gooseneck, square, round, oval, or somewhere in between, with a little digging—and perhaps some professional assistance—the lamp and shade to suit both the form and function of your home is out there. “There’s so much to finding the right lamp for the right location, the right use,” Price says. “It’s what I’ve loved helping people do for 40 years.”  

Brody's Lamps, 314-647-3318