Jaillan Yehia

Let The Light Shine In – 5 Places To Buy Lamps On Your Travels

Written by Jaillan Yehia

Post Categories: Opinion
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Twinkling Lamps in the bazaar

Twinkling lamps in the bazaar

As much as I love travel, I also adore coming home. There’s something so exciting about getting back to your cosy house after an invigorating trip, putting the kettle on, snuggling the cat, and catching up on your favourite TV show.

And one of the homely touches I am totally obsessed with to make my home as welcoming as possible is atmospheric mood lighting – once you’ve discovered the difference good lighting can make to your life it’s hard to turn back.

As a result I have tons of different types of lights, many of which I bought on my travels. In fact, when you think about it, lamps are one of the most evocative things we see on our travels – from the twinkling lights of the souks of Marrakech, to the hand painted paper lights in Thailand they really showcase the style and atmosphere of the destination in a way few things can. Bringing them back has always been a way for me to transport a taste of the exotic into my own home.

Unlike regular souvenirs which we tend to lose or toss in the garbage after a while, different styles of lights become part of your everyday life and they keep those holiday memories alive in a special way.

This might sound like my house is a messy hodgepodge of styles with crazy blinking lights everywhere, but every type of lighting has its place and casts light in a way which makes the home more comfortable – and these are some of my faves:

1. London, England: Suck UK Slide Light

My Suck UK Slidelight is my favourite light ever

I bought this slidelight in London is the early 2000’s and fell in love with it. The idea is to take pictures with a special slide film in your camera (so, old stylee) and then when  you have them developed they slot into this lamp, illuminating the images from behind.

It’s such a great idea, and so London in it’s style, and I loved it so much that I bought a few as wedding gifts for family and friends, taking photos on the day and presenting them with the lamp and slides when they returned from honeymoon.

Sadly this has been discontinued but the company who made it, Suck UK, still makes tons of super cool tongue-in-cheek gifts which are well worth checking out.

2. Denmark: Any stylish light, but especially the Needlite

Needlite desk

The best thing on my desk is always my cat

Denmark is famous for it’s sleek, minimalist design style, and having grown up going to and from Denmark (I have family there) I’ve been heavily influenced by Danish design, especially when it comes to home decor, where style and function go hand in hand.

Danes don’t really know how to make anything ugly, so you can go to Denmark and bring back any number of super stylish lights to make your home a modernist temple, but my favourite light designed in Denmark is my Needlite desk lamp, which is touch sensitive, casts the perfect light for night working, and has a permanent home on my desk, along with a few of my other freelancer’s favourites.

3. Thailand: Bamboo and Paper Lamps

Thai Lamp

Thai Lighting

I remember my first ever trip to Southeast Asia and being enchanted by the market stalls selling lanterns, and wishing I had a house of my own to take them back to.

Once I did have space for lamps I had a tendency to bring back a couple of bamboo and paper lamps from most of my trips, and I had a couple wired up to the mains so that I had a switch by my bed which controlled them because they made for the perfect lovely low lighting for a bedroom.

4. Rome, Italy: Historical Lighting at Paralumi

Roman Artisans

The delightful lamp shop

If Denmark is synonymous with design, Italy is a byword for style  – and it does not stop with fashion. The homewares in Italy are utterly fabulous and one of the best lighting shops I have ever set foot in was Paralumi -one of the oldest lighting shops in Rome.

Of course it helps that their handmade lamps are tucked down a gorgeous cobblestoned street in the heart of one of Rome’s nicest shopping areas, but the craftsmanship of all their lampshades is also uniquely Italian and oozes luxury and style.

5. Himalayas: Himalayan Salt Lamp

Salt lamps are lovely

Ok, I have to confess, despite seeing Himalayan Salt Lamps on my travels I waited to buy one in the UK because this is the heaviest lamp you can imagine. As cool as these pink-hued rocky lamps look, most people choose to buy Himalayan Salt Lamps for their health benefits.

I absolutely love mine, and while I can’t say whether it changes the particles in the air or helps me sleep, I know that the mellow light it emits has a lovely glow which makes the room feel calm and warm.

Buying On The Worldwide Web

Ikea Lamp

I love this lamp, and it’s actually from IKEA

I also have a few different up-lighters, tea lights and fairly lights, as well as coloured-change lights, and I love electric candles – but rather than buying these on my travels I order most of them online purely because when it comes to LED lighting and new technology, online lighting shops have a better selection at a better price.

My best recommendations are the Philips range of colour change lamps which come in different sizes, and their rechargeable electric tea lights – a lot more sustainable than the battery powered version.

However if you’re travelling to the UK from other parts of the world – especially from Canada where I found the lighting options to be quite restricted – I would highly recommend ordering while in England and taking your favourite lights home with you.


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