Espaciel balcony light reflector - worth it? Alternatives?
April 17, 2020 1:28 PM   Subscribe

Do Espaciel balcony light reflectors really work, and/or are there any alternatives folks have successfully used?

Hi all, I'm cooped up in a small apartment that gets very little natural light and for a very limited amount of time per day - very very little direct light and in only one corner of the apartment. I otherwise love this apartment, and this has been fine until recently, what with having to work crazy hours and also pandemic and being stuck inside. I have one of those sunlight imitator lamp thingies and that helps a little, but it really doesn't feel like enough, and I'm going a little crazy. Some time ago I found out about Espaciel balcony light reflectors and started debating getting one then:

However, the cost is pretty high for what it seems to be, and because I am in USA if I don't like it and have to return it I'd have to pay to ship it back, which would likely cost at least half the price of the reflector to do.

1. Has anyone tried one of these reflectors? Are they really worth $200?
2. Does anyone know of alternative products that do similar things?
3. Or, does anyone have ideas for how to make a DIY version? I hope this isn't too dumb a question, but I'm not really sure how to make this work (a mirror is too heavy to put on the part of my balcony that actually would be able to catch some sky-reflection, and I imagine it would create an annoying/intense light reflection).

Very grateful for any insight and/or ideas! Thanks!
posted by dubhemerak3000 to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
A sheet of foam core, a Mylar space blanket and some duct tape would let you experiment. $10 in materials. A broomstick or two might help with support.

If you like the effect you could use some 3M 77 or other spray adhesive to permanently mount the Mylar to the foam core.

Or for a few days test tape some aluminum foil to a chunk of card board. Opening up a large cereal box would give you surface area approximating the linked devices.

If you go really large corplast (a sort of plastic card board often used for election signs) is stronger than the foam core.

If your initial test is too specular a coat of hair spray will knock the reflections down a bit. For permanent installation use spray privacy frosting. Putting a slight convex curve in the base material will help too.

Be aware that anyone looking down could potentially see into your room so pay attention to what you can see in the reflections. if you can't see them then they can't see you.
posted by Mitheral at 4:15 PM on April 17, 2020 [5 favorites]

Sometimes you can get ultra-cheap, light, plastic full-length mirrors — usually marketed towards kids in college. Here is an example. I had one for years and can confirm they don’t weigh much at all. Might be worth a shot, given that the price is under $10.
posted by snowmentality at 9:29 PM on April 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

I take it back — you want a large collapsible photography reflector or two. Lightweight, non-breakable because made of fabric, intended to bounce lots of light, easy to collapse down to store if needed. The only trouble is that you have to figure out a way to tie them down because they will catch the wind and act like a sail. Look for them on Amazon, B&H, etc.
posted by snowmentality at 10:23 AM on April 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wanted to follow up for others who may have this same question - I tried methods suggested above but they didn't work too well (and with aluminum foil or mirrors, there's always the worry of burning the place down -- which actually happened to Trevor Noah, look out!). I wound up deciding to order an Espaciel reflector, and it did absolutely nothing. I have been trying to return it for a month and a half, and the company sporadically responds every 4 weeks or so but has yet to give me an approval to return the product. I actually believe they may be a complete scam company. Luckily, I paid via credit card and have set my credit card company after them to get my money back. In sum: don't do it!!!

I wound up buying a very large, nice solar light (seasonal affective disorder light), pointing it straight upward to the ceiling, and it makes a noticeable difference and resolved my issues as well as possible.
posted by dubhemerak3000 at 3:06 PM on July 20, 2020

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