Have you had enough of fluorescent light sharpness on the eyes? If so, it’s definitely time to cover it up. But what cover to choose? And how to install it if you don’t have an expert nearby? Can you just paint any cover? Gather up your questions, because the answers are coming!
Such lights are an energy-efficient alternative to incandescent bulbs, but man, are they harsh! Using only 25%-35% of usual electricity resource for lighting, these lamps can exhaust your eyes just like the midday sun on a hot, clear day. That’s why covers were developed, and in this article, we’ll tell you what kinds there are and how to install the most common ones.
A nice cover will dim the lights and make them overall more attractive.
You don’t need a lot of equipment to install one, more time will be spent on type and design choices. We’ll clear up how to hide fluorescent lights and guide you through every step of the way so that you finish with a beautiful set of lamps that are not only efficient but pleasant to look at!
Things You Will Need to Install a Cover
Assuming you’re installing yourself, here’s the gear:
- A ladder or stepladder. Any ladder that allows you to reach the ceiling will work just fine. Before using one, make sure to check if it’s stable enough and no screw is loose. Also, see if the floor isn’t damaged and there’s no debris in the way so your ladder or stepladder doesn’t stagger. If possible, ask someone to back you up in case you get unstable or lightheaded and to hold the ladder, ensuring its stability.
- A flat screwdriver (optional). Depending on your ceiling, a flat screwdriver may be needed to open the fluorescent fixture. Spoiler alert, you’ll have to put a cover inside of it, so it’s important that you have everything necessary to open the case. A lot of them don’t need additional tools, you can open them with your hands by pulling the fixing elements down a bit. But if there are screws, you’ll need some help.
- A cover. The thing we do all this for, you’ll need to take the cover up or ask someone to hand it to you. Make sure it’s properly sized and will fit your fixture perfectly. Before buying, consult a shop assistant or online seller on proper sizing. If you made a mistake, measure the dimensions of the fixture and cut the redundant parts off. Just make sure you get it right this time! For efficient dimming and aesthetic looks, the size of your cover has to be ideal.
That’s it, you won’t need anything else unless you have an uncommon fixture or different kind of screws on the case. Or if you have a 20-foot ceiling, of course.
An Easy Step-By-Step on Installing a Fluorescent Lights Cover
Before installing a new cover, pay attention to the type of fluorescent fixture you have. When you know everything about it, the cover you have, and equipment you need, everything else doesn’t seem so difficult.
Step 1: Original Fixture Case Determination
Most fixtures come with diffusers (same as covers) already. The most common are:
They are usually matte or with ornaments and help with light sharpness quite a bit. Yet, they almost don’t dim fluorescent lamps. That’s why we are trying to install an additional layer of “eye support”. You need to know which one you have to be able to open them to put a new cover there.
Hinged covers are usually attached to the fixture on one side from the very beginning. They close like a door and secured with screws or levers. That’s why you may need a screwdriver to open them. Overlapping models may need more manipulations. To close them, you’ll need to push the “door” towards the hinges and close it, securing in the same way.
Flat (thermoplastic or acrylic, usually) covers are very flexible and come separately from the fixture or already inside. The thing here is to bend it ever so slightly to pull out or push down. If old or broken, just push the cover a bit until it breaks to take it out easily. To put a new one in, place diagonally into the frame to get a part of it inside, then push the rest of your flat cover. Be careful not to break it.
Step 2: Frame Unlocking
We’re omitting steps like “take your ladder, step on it”, getting straight to the point.
Turn off all lights in the room, even better to have electricity off at all. Unlock the frame using a screwdriver if it’s secured or just with your hands. Check if the hinges are intact before letting go of the “door”. If you had an old cover in there, take it off. There may be clips that hold it – check them for integrity and remove to take the diffuser out.
Step 3: Cover Orientation and Installation
If you’ve bought a universal diffuser, simply match its dimensions with those of the old one. Cut the redundant parts off and you’ll have no worries as to whether this cover matches the frame. In case you’ve ordered a custom one, just place it in the right spot.
Make sure you choose a cover that matches the room’s tone and design, as well as your dimming goals. There are thousands of designs nowadays, from blue skies and clouds to complicated ornaments that exactly match your walls.
Step 4: “Case Closed”
Check if you’ve installed everything right and close the frame the same way you opened it. Don’t forget to secure everything if necessary and put all additional details in place. Adjust the fixture and turn on the lights to see the result of your work.
Make sure your diffuser covers the whole frame, otherwise, there may be light disturbances, redundant shadows, etc. In case something’s wrong, repeat Step 2, adjust your new cover, and close the case again.
Can You Paint Fluorescent Light Covers?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions in our experience. Sure, the easiest way to cover fluorescent lights more or change the room’s mood seems to be painting its case. This is not a great idea, unfortunately. If you could just paint it, there would be no sense in writing this tutorial.
There are lots of ways to change the mood and ensure better coverage. Aside from the covers we’ve highlighted in the tutorial, there are alternative ways you can find more info about below. There’s enough for any kind of mood or dimming goal.
Design Tips for Hiding Fluorescent Lighting
Here are some alternative ways to soften any fluorescent light fixture:
- Colored fabrics. With a proper choice of fabric, make your room dimmer or brighter, warmer or colder, more colorful or calmer. It’s also easy to change the tone of the room by simply changing the fabric cover. They are very easy to put on and take off, and you can make one yourself! Just don’t bring them too close to the lamps to avoid creating a fire hazard. Hang your DIY diffusers loosely using tacks.
- Rice paper. For a less dim option, consider using sheets of colored (or not) rice paper. It’s very thin and won’t make too much difference. Such a cover is a great idea for rooms that need clear lighting. But you can also use several sheets to adjust the brightness. Be sure to put them loosely using tacks since rice paper also may become a fire hazard.
- Décor panels. A less DIY option, decorative panels offer a lot of design ideas and zero hazards. They come in sheet and clip-on cover forms. The choice range is incredibly wide – anything from blue skies to red and gold marble ornaments.
- Easy Installation
- Perfect For Classrooms Or Offices
- Universal 2x4 Fit
Did you like the guide? Are there any questions left? Let us know in the comments if this article helps you! And don’t forget to share it with anyone who might benefit from our knowledge!
Fluorescent lights are efficient yet oftentimes too hard on the eyes. An additional cover is essential if you want to make the lighting more comfortable and stop seeing every little flaw in the room (fluorescent lamps show every single thing!). Having experienced its power as well as mounting frustration, we decided to write this simple and to-the-point tutorial and guide for everyone out there who need help. Thanks a lot for reading it and hope you get something useful from this article!