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Lighting up your home 101

Queue lights. Camera ready? Rolling tape.

Though somewhat overlooked, lighting in your home can truly transform the character of each and every room in the house. Close your eyes for a moment and picture your life on the big screen as if an elaborate production. It’s in your hands to play around with the scenes, and creatively utilize light to your liking, to ultimately create a setting which reflects the theme running through your days. Mystique in the bedroom, playfulness in the living room, and tranquility in the dining room can all be achieved with a flick of a switch or two.

If your eyes are complaining of too little light, or your brow is creasing to the exaggerated brightness, it is time for a drastic change. In the course of your lighting makeover, attention needs to be paid to the following: natural light or daylight, ambient light, which diffuses and evens out the light level in the room, and accent light, which provides texture and a sense of separation in the room.

1. Natural light

Egypt is a country blessed (or cursed, some would argue) with an unforgiving sun, shining bright even on our gloomiest of days. Such natural light could be embraced to elicit a sunny scene, or shunned for a mistier panorama.

Managing day-lighting is a skill to be acquired. To maximize natural light sources, you should consider painting the designated room a light color which has the ability to amplify the natural light. If you are a fan of mirrors, then go ahead and hang up some mirrors, especially opposite windows. Pale colored carpets and furnishing also enhance the natural effects of light.

Minimizing natural light can be achieved by some serious curtains or blinds. But in the case of natural light elimination, you will need to resort to artificial light (ambient lighting and accent lighting).

2. Ambient light

Ambient lighting plays a serene, vital yet composed part in lighting a room. Ambient light is a source of diffused light, where illumination is spread out evenly across the space. Pendant lamps, which hang down from the ceiling, diffuse soft light in the room and flatten shadows. Other ambient light sources include chandeliers and flush-mounts.

3. Accent lights.

Accent lights control all the drama. These are directional lights you can place to create visual separation in a room. Depth and intrigue can be solicited through playing around with these lights. While ambient lights are typically dim and soft, accent lights induce contrast. Wall-mounted lighting fixtures such as spotlights are chiefly used for accent lighting, along with table and floor lamps.

At Ultra Design, a 22-year-old manufacturer of modern lighting fixtures and furniture you will be faced with a wide variety of tasteful and original lighting gear from which you can pick and choose to design a dynamic set of scenes around your home.

Inaugurated by architect Khaled El Chiati, Ultra Design seeks to introduce progressive and contemporary products, inspired by a combination of international and local styles.

On the corner of a quite Zamalek street opposite the Marriott hotel, Ultra Design houses a variety of fixtures to choose from. Ambient lighting can be created by introducing ceiling lights, appearing in the form of flush-mounts, which are simple ceiling lamps, elegant yet minimally decorated. Another option for the ceiling is placing pendants, which dangle downwards, looking sleek, and yet creating subtle light. Beads, stainless steel, and elegant glass are all featured on those pendants, catering to different tastes.

Chandeliers present yet another option for ambient lighting. Ultra’s chandelier collection is striking yet graceful. The metal is artfully curled, and the fabric boxes covering the light bulbs are smooth and charming. 

When it comes to accent lighting, there’s a host of Ultra options to choose from. Wall lights and spots, floor lamps, and table lamps can be used to create an ambience as dramatic as you wish. A large variety of wall lights are available, most unique are wooden ones with oriental-geometric carvings allowing light to seep through. Spotlights are a simpler alternative, and can be used to focus light on certain aspects of the room, such as a painting or a plant.

Good-old floor lamps are offered at a twist, whether it’s the lamp being mounted on a tripod, or the metal twists unexpectedly. The biggest surprise though is the “Multi-colored glass droplets”, eccentric and colorful.

But there’s no color like that in Aura, the Heliopolis home to the brightest and boldest imaginable lighting fixtures. A vibrant palette is explored, and painted on lamps that possess indelible character. Now, your accent lighting here will hold twice the drama, as floor lamps are available in the deepest pinks and the loudest reds.

Ornaments are featured on the lighting gear, and lamp shapes are far from orthodox. Compared to the store’s colorful clutter, any other room would be deemed plain and bland. And to match the eccentricity of Aura, the prices reach double-digit thousands. There’s always a price to pay for being unusual.

In another part of Cairo, Glow presents itself with quite reasonable prices. This two-floor store in Mohandessin features a dynamic range of options for your ceilings, walls, floors, and everything in between. Glow draws upon European designs, and prides itself on providing innovative interior solutions at affordable prices.

If fancy, elaborate chandeliers serve your fancy, then you will feel right at home in Glow, as large sparkling beads dangle down from chandeliers all around.

Accent lighting features were most significant at Glow, with desk table lamps draped with gold or silver glittery fabric, and floor lamps masquerading as movie-set lighting.

Go out for a light-hunting excursion in the blazing shinning sunlight, as you just might find the lighting fixture that will brighten your days or tweak your mood– a home-lighting makeover could be what you need to add some color and character to your days.

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