single bare light bulb seeks cover
September 24, 2006 10:10 AM   Subscribe

Glass globe for my room's ceiling light was crusty and bug-filled -- unscrewed it and put it away for a temporary fix! What options do I have for covering the ugly bare light bulb?

Considered throwing a paper lantern over it (cheap, easy) but don't see how it would attach to the ceiling -- and if it touched the bulb, seems like a fire hazard.

Poked through packages at Ikea and Lowe's and wasn't sure if the ceiling light fixtures would screw onto my particular ceiling attachment. Nothing sure looked like my original glass globe cover. I'm afraid to unscrew the ceiling attachment to see what's under there... not sure how all that wiring works! ;)

Here's a photo of the glass globe cover. Any light that passed through this glass turned dark and dingy, so I removed it.

The glass globe was attached to the ceiling fixture by three screw pins (photos here and here)... which seemed unsteady, but it worked.

Now I just have the bare light bulb, and the light in the room looks great (one of those "reveal" lightbulbs) but the ceiling looks ugly. Any suggestions are appreciated!
posted by milkdropcoronet to Home & Garden (18 answers total)
Go to an antique store and see if you can find something that's more to your taste - often you can find really nice art deco era fixtures for not too much, since they were very common at one point. My parents did this throughout their house and even though each fixture is different they give a kind of continuity because they're all similar.

If you clean the globe out with something like CLR or bleach, something that cleans it really thoroughly, does that solve the dark-and-dingy problem?
posted by joannemerriam at 10:20 AM on September 24, 2006

um...why don't you just get the Windex out and clean the globe? If the light coming from the lamp was so low, it probably needs to have a higher wattage bulb installed.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:21 AM on September 24, 2006

why don't you wash the globe? it is probably covered with a cooking/smoking film
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 10:21 AM on September 24, 2006

Response by poster: thanks guys- i actually gave the globe a thorough scrubbing... it's just a really thick glass that casts a dim light. in addition, i just want to update the look by getting a more modern-looking one.

i guess my question is more: based on my particular light fixture (the 3-pin fixture) can ANY light fixture go there as a replacement? Are they universal? Just want to know what look for at the hardware store.
posted by milkdropcoronet at 10:38 AM on September 24, 2006

Glass really cleans up nicely. If Windex won't cut it, I've been known to soak things like that in the sink with hot water and ammonia. (Warning, this can strip paint, it if there's any on there.)
They make very cheap, plastic lampshade things that clip onto the bulb. Kind of a trailer-park, 50's kinda look, but it would buy you time to look around. You want to investigate the "approved wattage" for the fixture before you get too happy with brighter bulbs.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 10:40 AM on September 24, 2006

Response by poster: PS the light bulb is a 100-watt GE Reveal lightbulb, pretty darn bright!
posted by milkdropcoronet at 10:41 AM on September 24, 2006

You can get replacement glass globes in various sizes and styles, clear, colored, patterned, or frosted, for a very few bucks, at any hardware, lighting, or home store. They do come in standard sizes, for easy replacement as styles change, but you may want to take along your old one for in store diameter comparison, to eliminate any chance of getting home with something that won't work.
posted by paulsc at 11:08 AM on September 24, 2006

Most big-box home stores (Lowes or Home Depot, for example) have a variety of globes. The sizes are pretty standardized so it should be easy to find a replacement for a few dollars. I too am surprised that the old one won't clean up better. I usually put mine in the dishwasher.
posted by TedW at 11:08 AM on September 24, 2006

As others have noted, it looks like your fixture is pretty standard and you should have no trouble finding other globes that might work. However, those enclosed fixtures usually have a maximum wattage of 60-75W. Your 100W bulb might have already overheated things and turned the wire insulation into something brittle, cracked, and risky.
posted by Good Brain at 11:55 AM on September 24, 2006

What Good Brain said.

I didn't want to be minding your business, but usually those are rated for more like 60-75 W. It should say on the fixture. It's pretty common for previous folks to have ignored that part and screwed damn near anything in there so they could read the paper, and it could have toasted the insulation, especially if the wiring is old.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 12:17 PM on September 24, 2006

If you're having trouble finding a replacement, maybe you could bring the globe to Lowe's or a hardware store and say, "I want one that would replace this." They'll be able to tell you what would work.
posted by christinetheslp at 12:39 PM on September 24, 2006

Measure the diameter of the globe's mouth. Any replacement globe with the same diameter will fit.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:59 PM on September 24, 2006

Considered throwing a paper lantern over it (cheap, easy) but don't see how it would attach to the ceiling -- and if it touched the bulb, seems like a fire hazard.

I did this with a hanging light, after I broke the globe. The lanetern hooks onto the wire, so that would be an issue if there is no wire. I use a compact flourescent bulb to mitigate any fire danger.
posted by smackfu at 1:31 PM on September 24, 2006

We had these, and they were ugly. I looked all over for more attractive globes - no luck, they were all nasty. I ended up putting up better fixtures that covered the hole where the globe thing was. We rent, so I kept the globe thingys, but I'm glad I took them down. YM for ugly lights MV of course, I think that some of the globes at Home Depot wern't that bad.
posted by crabintheocean at 2:11 PM on September 24, 2006

Your profile says you're in Brooklyn. Grand Brass Lamp Parts might be convenient for you. They've got a lot of replacement glass shades.
posted by hydrophonic at 3:31 PM on September 24, 2006

Why not replace the regular size bulb with a globe bulb? This would probably be about the same diameter as your glass globe, but would throw off more light (and be more attractive than the small regular bulb). You can get these at any number of hardware or department stores.

Just checked an old one I had in my closet - it's about 4.5 inches (11 cm) in diameter.
posted by hangashore at 7:08 PM on September 24, 2006

I'm not the poster, but I love hangashore's answer.

I have a globe light in my bathroom ceiling. Reaching up to change the bulb is pretty easy.

But to remove and re-attach the globe, I have to climb all the way up to the ceiling. There are screws that you have to screw into a ridge in the mouth of the globe.

I often leave the globe off, because I just absolutely hate climbing up there. But the bare bulb looks awful.

A globe light would look so much better than a regular size naked bulb, and would eliminate my stepping-on-the-top-step phobia

THANKS hangashore !!
posted by marsha56 at 10:52 AM on September 25, 2006

Cheers, marsha56. Here to help.
posted by hangashore at 6:07 PM on September 25, 2006

« Older Any competitors to Airfoil?   |   Tire tread styles on front and rear Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.