Asked on Aug 30, 2018

How can I make the fluorescent office lights look pretty or cool?

by Lisa

I have this lighting in the soon to be man cave. It used to be a tax office hence the lighting. Can I put dimmers on the light switch? Stained glass spray paint the outside of the plastic insert might be fun but hazardous?

One set st this end

Set two, this is one large square room then we have this smaller room that has two outies lol ugly eew

Both are external boxes

Any ideas on a disguise for the window unit? I usually have a gigantic picture hanging over it

  11 answers
  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Aug 30, 2018

    You should be able to install a dimmer switch to make the lighting less harsh. There is a seaglass spray that might be nice for the panels. I don't know of any hazard to painting the panels on the outside.

  • Dee Dee on Aug 30, 2018

    Dimmer switches on fluorescent lights are really not advisable. Hobby Lobby and Home Depot sells some really pretty metal panels that can be inserted into the light instead of those plastic ones. There is also make it look like stained glass by painting the outside.

  • Zard Pocleeb Zard Pocleeb on Aug 30, 2018

    Dimming fluorescent lights is possible, but it depends on the ballast in the fixture. If it has the correct ballast you can wire it in. If not, you need to replace either the ballast, or the light fixture. Fluorescent lights actually pulse rapidly, and the pulsating is caused by the ballast. Your best option might be to either install a different type of light behind the cover, or replace the entire fixture.

  • Bijous Bijous on Aug 31, 2018

    Hi Lisa. If you're set of keeping the fluorescent lights insert a different cover. There are different grids you can use. Many are sold on line. Then have some fun with the box itself. Make it wood or paint it in school colors. I don't advise a dimmer on older boxes. They weren't designed for that. Good luck!

  • Ma Ma on Aug 31, 2018

    Faux window coverings would work. I’m wondering if there’s light fixtures that plug in to the existing one.

  • Lizzie Lee G Lizzie Lee G on Aug 31, 2018

    I hated my fluorescent lights also in my kitchen. Then I got the idea to paint them to look like stained glass. I took out the panels and cleaned them. Then I taped off and painted the frames on the ceiling.

    The paint I used was regular craft paint, acrylic. Pour a bit onto your palette and mix w the glue...then add a touch of darker paint and slight mix so that it is “marbled”.

    I drew a pattern on paper and traced it, w a black marker, onto the smooth side. Then I painted the design in black acrylic lines (no glue). Then for each color, I added the glue and it made it appear like stained glass...I applied it while not smoothing out the colors, so it would appear “splotchy” as stained glass does.

    When it was dry, the acrylic panels were put back, and it turned out quit nice.

    You can use any design and you can even look for ideas of stained glass online.

    comment photo
    comment photo
  • Melissa Raymond Melissa Raymond on Aug 31, 2018

    Whatever you use please do what theaters and movie lighting always use for the most flattering color. Think of that sunset light. A warm amber. Theater lights gel sheets? Amber.

  • Sharon Welton Anderson Sharon Welton Anderson on Aug 31, 2018

    I replaced my kitchen ones with a modern track lighting.... OMG it was so simple and looks a thousand times better!

  • Gra22133139 Gra22133139 on Aug 31, 2018

    A diffuser works great and softens the harshness.

  • Pamela Blunt Pamela Blunt on Aug 31, 2018

    I have these in my office in a very old building. I bought lightweight muslin and hung it from one end to the other, so that it was attached on the side but hung under the light fixture loosely, somewhat hammock like. Still gives plenty of light, but softened. Not sure what you have to attach it to. I just used staples that were hidden because they were on the inside into the ceiling. In a different room, we used dowels at each end and hung the cloth from those attaching the dowels at the ends to the fixture.

  • Jewellmartin Jewellmartin on Sep 01, 2018

    Wow. I didn’t write the question, but I should have. I hate my kitchen Fluorescent lights, but they were the “new” replacements for the old plastic covers, and now they have longer lasting bulbs. They may never die. If I could, I would put up track lighting. Since I can’t, I really like the idea of tracing a pattern and painting the covers. I can do that! Thanks for all the ideas. ☺️