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Hanukka is called the Festival of Lights, and during these winter days when night comes early, much more attention is paid to the lights in your home. In addition to being just plain functional, lamps can add a lot to the atmosphere and design of your living environment.
According to Pini Goldstein, assistant sales manager of the Beitili furniture stores, Israelis have grown more aware of the type of lighting in their homes during the last few years, buying lamps that create a warm atmosphere rather than just the functional fluorescent lights that were once quite common here.
A few trends are noticeable when you walk into local lamp stores. First of all, retro designs such as big chandeliers, or iron-wrought lamps in exaggerated forms, remind us of the kind of lamps we saw in our grandparents' homes. Also little lanterns that don't necessarily give a lot of light, but have that 'old-fashioned look,' are fashionable.
Secondly, the materials used are "warmer." You see less nickel and other "cold" metals; what you do see more of are different shades of brown metal, as well as crystals, which in certain new-age design approaches - such as Feng Shui - supposedly play a role in stabilizing an interior's innate energy. Third, more colors are visible - mostly earth shades such as brown, beige, or mocha.
The lights used are less bright and have more of a calming effect. Instead of bright white lights there are more yellow or even darker bulbs. The trend is to buy more natural, "homy" lamps, often with an Oriental flavor. Israelis, says Goldstein, also have a clear preference for hand-made lamps.
At Beitili, different examples of these natural, warm lights can be found, and at the moment, you can enjoy a discount of up to 50 percent on most lamps. A lamp called "Spiral", for example, made of gold and silver colored iron threads, giving a natural, calming light, is sold beginning from NIS 376, depending on the size.
The "Stella" model, which looks like a small chandelier, with crystals hanging down, starts at NIS 250, and the "Nathalie" model - a hanging lamp of wrought iron with three white round shades creating a soft yellow-white light - starts at NIS 342.
In Home Light, the lamp stores inside the Home Center branches, you will find many iron lamps in the shape of flower stems where the lamp shade itself, made out of white glass, is the flower itself (some might consider this quite kitschy). Some of them have more than one lamp shade, looking like several flowers on a stem, and some even have leaves on the "stems;" several of these small lamps were on sale for NIS 100, and some bigger standing lamps, each with a few flower-shaped shades, were on sale for around NIS 350.
Also on display at Home Light are several hanging lamps with colored lamp shades in yellow and orange.
At the upscale Leshem lamp store in Jerusalem, the quality and variety of the lamps are on a different level, as are the prices, of course. A lot of the wall-mounted lamps still reflect ethnic trends some with beads interwoven in the metal design. Other ones are made out of ceramics, and have a very natural look; one big hanging lamp had little shades almost shaped like bells made out of ceramic.
At Kimchi Teura in Shefayim, a few other trends are displayed. Also here, warm and romantic atmosphere lights are a new trend, called here the "Tuscan" style. These lamps are made out of combinations of iron, copper, and porcelain, and are hand-made. Examples of these romantic lights are the Italian companies Aldo Bernardi and Surya. Other European designer lamps on display use different colorful fabrics that are combined with warm, non-fluorescent lights, creating a soft, intimate lighting.
The current retro trend in fashion for the styles of the 1970s extends to the lamp designs as reflected in vibrant colors and such shapes as spherical lamps. Other trends mentioned by Kimchi are the minimalist style, using clean simple designs with LED-lighting - small light bulbs that create a powerful light - and the trend of using bright colorful lights, such as orange, green, yellow, or pink lamps.
Sometimes lamps are used more as design gimmicks than as a functional piece of lighting. For example, at Kimchi you will find table lamps that also serve as flower pots, so it looks like the plant is growing out of the lamp. The lamp-and-flower pot can look nice on a salon table, and is made in such a way that no water will seep through into the lamp; prices for this gimmick start at NIS 1,000.
Another unusual item at this store is a lamp in the shape of a clothes hanger, meant for use inside a closet. The light-and-clothes hanger will go on when you open the door, or when turning a switch; prices start at NIS 550. Also for use inside closets you can find fluorescent lights made by the Italian company Forma in several different sizes. Some of these lights go on when you open the door, or emanate a nice fragrance which is inserted at the extremities of the bulb.
For a very romantic atmosphere at home, nothing beats candles, and now, during the Hanukka holiday, you can find them on sale almost everywhere. Kassel makes so-called mosaic candles, a combination of two different kinds of candles recreating the look of a mosaic. Combinations include strawberry-apple (red and green), honey-vanilla, or orange-cinnamon, priced at NIS 25 or NIS 39 a candle, depending on the size.
Candles that not only give light, but also fill your rooms with a pleasant fragrance can be found in many stores. At Laline candle and soap stores for example, aromatic candles in glass holders, in different colors and with different fragrances, are NIS 54 a piece.
For the old-fashioned look, you can place a candle inside a lantern. At Ace, retro-lantern hanging from a stand, made out of metal and glass windows, creating a warm, reddish light is sold for NIS 50. This lantern is good for inside use, for warm atmosphere light, or for outside use on the balcony or in the garden, on warmer days.