Want to hide the light - calling designers and decorators!
September 12, 2017 10:36 AM   Subscribe

My new basement bedroom has low ceilings AND five fluorescent light fixtures. I will use lamps for illumination and I want to hide these ugly things. Here is pic with obligatory cat (Syd)inserted. Image Fixtures are 4 feet long and there are electrical outlets in the ceiling at one end. Assume that dismantling the fixtures is not currently an option. Handyperson skills are in the high beginner range.

I am thinking some sort of fabric solution but I have no ideawhat kind of fabric! Totally open to all ideas. This is where MeFi shines so I look forward to making these fixtures disappear! Thanks
posted by ZenMajek to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Traditional Australian student shared-house solution for this is an ex-army round parachute.
posted by flabdablet at 10:44 AM on September 12, 2017

Rice paper? Make light and narrow frames and clip on the paper folding it up the sides of the frames, rice paper is easy to work compared with other paper because it's so soft, but it won't dip/hang as much as a fabric. You want the frames to be easy to handle and work with size-wise, and you want a distance from the walls of maybe 20 cm. Find the roll of rice paper for optimizing the size and make an upside down drawing of your new paper ceiling before you start ;-)
Lovely cat, too
posted by mumimor at 10:57 AM on September 12, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I have a daylight basement room. Yours looks very sunny and nice. If the light fixtures must stay, could you at least get a couple outlets installed up there? And you can usually remove 1 tube to make them less harsh but still usable as lights.

Thin plexi sheets attached under them, with colored film. I love the clouds, but they make different patterns. The film is peel-n-stick, if you don't peel it, might be sturdy enough to stay rigid on its own.

Below grade can be a little cool and damp, and fluorescent lights are cold. Adding some warm yellows, oranges and reds can help with that. A couple of yellow paper umbrellas?

The fixtures themselves would be an excellent place to mount led fairy/ string lights. I have some tiny ones in my basement bathroom, set to their lowest illuminations they are nice starry nightlights, set up high, they're pretty bright; several strings would provide useful indirect lighting

A friend used wire to make forms and covered them with translucent fabric or rice paper and they are very cool light shades. If you used fabric, you could make shower cap-type elasticized covers. White would be unobtrusive, sheer fabrics could get very pretty, and, you know, cloud fabric is a thing. I painted the basement bathroom ceiling blue, and added clouds, and it is pleasing to me.
posted by theora55 at 11:41 AM on September 12, 2017

Fabric, pinned to the ceiling with white thumbtacks, in rolling rows, like this.

Be mindful of fire and use fire retardant fabric.

Looks like your room is around 8'x15'? That would be around two sets of this 52" wide fabric running the long way, around 10yd total, or around $60.
posted by suedehead at 11:51 AM on September 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Fabric, pinned to the ceiling with white thumbtacks, in rolling rows, like this.

That's what I was going to suggest. We did this with wide fabric from the discount fabric store- I ended up getting natural cotton canvas for less than 4 bucks a yard and stapling it to the joists above with a staple gun. I'd suggest lighter fabric for thumbtacks; or you could use something like a bamboo pole to make the folds, attached to the ceiling at either end.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:32 PM on September 12, 2017

A great fabric to use for this is lace - looks pretty, and if you do still occasionally use the lamps it casts a nice pattered light, and still lets air flow around it so you don't have to worry about the fixture getting too warm. If you get a nice thin lace you should be able to keep it up with thumbtacks. I used black lace, but that's me, I'm a bit gothy. You could use white, light blue, or even a pale yellow.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 9:41 PM on September 12, 2017

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