Asked on Nov 27, 2016

How to cover or dull fluorescent lights?

Reiner MacPhail
by Reiner MacPhail
In my work place we have all fluorescent lighting, it is very overwhelming at times and can bring on migraines for some people. It is a daycare setting, so we have to have lights on most of the time. Unless it's a very sunny day! We've invested in lamps but as it is now getting darker earlier they just don't give enough light in the space. How can we on a budget dull/cover these lights to prevent them from being such a burden?
  25 answers
  • William William on Nov 27, 2016

    You can replace the diffusers. All kinds available for the effect your looking for. *****

  • Kim Salmi Kim Salmi on Nov 27, 2016

    I wish I could help .....just wanted to say that as a former day care teacher myself have a lovely cosy space there : ) !.....I'm jealous room wasn't even half that size ...I'm sure someone will have a perfect suggestion ......the only idea I have is maybe adding a full size mirror it would reflect light back into the room and could be used in a dress up area as well .

    • See 1 previous
    • C C on Feb 19, 2018

      Thank you for posting that! I wondered about doing it, but I didn't know

  • Courtney Courtney on Nov 27, 2016

    In the cube farm, I always ended up with flourescents above me. I just unscrewed them enough to un-power, but still stay attached. It looks like one of those safety lights, so maybe just leave one bulb and apply a filter mentioned above? (I didn't go look. Pinterest can be like the black hole for me, next thing I know the animals are pacing and giving me the evil eye for no dinner...)

  • Carole Cernuto Carole Cernuto on Nov 27, 2016

    Haven't actually tried this, but what about fastening a length of muslin or other semi-sheer fabric around the light panels? It could have a sagging "drape" which might create an attractive effect.

  • B. Enne B. Enne on Nov 27, 2016

    Some schools use a light blue panel hung loosely over the light with velcro. I guess it would be along the same lines as @Carole Cernuto suggested.

  • B. Enne B. Enne on Nov 27, 2016

    I just found these...This is the type of thing I was talking about in schools. I suppose you could make your own.

  • Shari Lemieux Shari Lemieux on Nov 27, 2016

    Could you put a frosted or semi-opaque type of peel and stick vinyl covering on the light covers?

  • Shari Lemieux Shari Lemieux on Nov 27, 2016

    Could you Modge Podge some white or coloured tissue paper onto the light covers?

  • Oberlinmom Oberlinmom on Nov 27, 2016

    I love the suggestions, listed. I had several huge lights to work around. Paper actually does a pretty good job. It's cheap and you can try several different kinds. I noticed that a fake wave pattern I'd made for a book sale, alternating twisted paper streamers that crossed the lights cut the glare down. Paper can be tacked to the ceiling for a trial but don't leave like that the tacks can drop over time.

    Although I don't know were they got them I've seen "posters" in offices covering the lights. I believe they were plastic. Our Vets office has them. I can't imagine someone doesn't make them with kids themes.

    • See 1 previous
    • User User on Dec 01, 2016

      Many years ago when I was in college the on campus bar had a theme dance "Under the Sea", we used large sheets of tissue paper in blues and purples to cover the light coverings then put them back in place. It gave the illusion that we were indeed under the sea. I suppose if they blocked out too much of the light you could cut stars or other shapes into the tissue paper before applying them to the covers and allow only small amounts of full on light into the room. I suppose also in a daycare you could use a large spectrum of primary colours to assist in the learning process.

  • Vc Blackwell Vc Blackwell on Nov 27, 2016

    I just read a technique on "Keeping It Simple". Katysi tinted her glass pendant light shades by mixing Hod Podge with five drops of turquoise food color in a container. She used a foam brush to apply it and let it dry. It has held up for a year with no problems and no odors.She advised you can use any color of your choice and have the option of replacing the food color with Ritz dye, if you prefer..Ingenious idea!

  • Carol Sybrowsky Carol Sybrowsky on Nov 28, 2016

    Unfortunately, fluorescent lights are cheap to buy and cheap to run. That's why they are used so much in industrial / work settings. Everyone needs full-spectrum light (incandescent light bulbs, sunlight, firelight) to be healthy and productive. That's why everyone loves to sit around a fireplace when it's dark outside. Fluorescent light already has too much blue in it so don't use any lens covers with blue in them. You need to add as much yellow color to the space as possible. Not only do fluorescent lights flicker (which causes the headaches you mentioned) but they are known to cause depression in women, especially. Fluorescent light also reduces Melatonin production. This disrupts sleep patterns in both children and adults. Oh, great! Not only do you feel crabby and depressed by the end of the day but so do the children. It doesn't look like you have the ability to anything about the architecture but skylights would help a lot. By they way, there is plenty of information on the internet about the BAD health effects of fluorescent light. For the sake of your health and the children you care for, you NEED different lighting!

  • Placid Herrera Grande Placid Herrera Grande on Nov 29, 2016

    puede remplazar los fluorescentes por tubos led, son mas caros pero duran mas, se pueden orientar, de forma que pueden dirigirse hacia arriba haciendo luz indirectamente, y consumen mucho menos

  • Mary Mary on Nov 29, 2016

    Try a frosted translucent vinyl contact paper

  • Crystal Meyer Griffith Crystal Meyer Griffith on Nov 29, 2016

    Try changing the bulbs from a bright white to a daylight bulb. Gives more of a warm yellowish light.

    • Nelly Hennessy Nelly Hennessy on Nov 29, 2016

      Fluorescent lights should be warm light. White light causes distortion of colors, people look pale , and makes people get tired, takes your energy away. When fluorescent lights or incandescent light start to flicker means the bulb is wearing out, a good time for a change if not sooner!!

  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Nov 30, 2016

    Since you are not in control of these lights, you might want to suggest to the "manager" that you all try something different. When fuel prices skyrocketed, the building manager in our large office complex went through the office space with our people and they cut off many of the overhead lights. Please check with a lighting person, but I have always heard that taking out some of the bulbs damage the "ballast" in the fixture. But you might can take out all the bulbs in some of the fixtures to basically turn them off. Stagger the ones left on and you should have plenty of light! In a daycare area, you might not want a bunch of lamps sitting around!

    • See 2 previous
    • Reiner MacPhail Reiner MacPhail on Dec 01, 2016

      I didn't mean to sound like I know everything, I was just stating the fact that children know not to touch. That is all. All of our lamp cords that children have access to, are tapped to the walls for safety. All other lamps are out of reach. We do turn the lamps on through the day, and it seems to calm the room.

      Sorry if I offended anyon, I really appreciate all the amazing feedbac!

  • Bobbie Bobbie on Dec 01, 2016

    1) you can put in lower wattage bulbs.. 2) you can get frosted/ or different colors of plexiglass to replace the present cover s...3) you can cover the present covers with the same film used to put on windows used for privacy.

  • Judy Judy on Dec 01, 2016


  • Barb in Texas Barb in Texas on Dec 01, 2016

    I had the maintenance guys at my work remove one of the two bulbs over my cubical. It had the added benefit of it drove my idiot boss nuts every time he saw it.

  • Cwh6899259 Cwh6899259 on Dec 02, 2016

    There are a variety of fluorescent tubes available. I suggest you go to the hardware lighting store and check them for glare/brightness. You may be surprised at the difference changing a tube can make. At my work all tubes have been changed to a warm white/hint of pink light. Not sure what it is called, but it is not bright white light.

  • Janice Janice on Dec 02, 2016

    Led makes replacement tubes for florescent lights. They are brighter and don't give off heat. They can also reduce the light bill.

  • Boboji Boboji on Dec 03, 2016

    Paint the bulbs yellow. Every bulb in my house is painted yellow. Soft and pleasant.

  • Sheila D Sheila D on Dec 06, 2016

    Used to have the building maintenance man loosen a couple of strategic bulbs-worked great

  • Shawna Bailey Shawna Bailey on Dec 07, 2016

    You can put panels on them, the right colored panel could help solve the headaches.

  • Reiner, if you haven't found a solution, check out for DesignScapes™ decorative light filters. They're much safer than some of the suggestions above, and they look great! Please contact me at should you have questions. Thank you and best wishes!

  • Ann32708565 Ann32708565 on Feb 19, 2018

    You can order blue translucent light covers that have magnets to adhere to the light frame. I use these in my classroom. School supply catalogs carry these.

    • Maaran Maaran on Apr 04, 2023

      Yes, sure they do the work or you can also order portable blinds, you can find them easily on online retail store and it won't hurt your pocket.