Nice overhead lights for offices?
August 8, 2008 10:44 AM   Subscribe

Moving offices. I co-run the place and want to get some nice, unique lights for everyone's space to replace or augment the fluorescents. We currently string outdoor xmas lights around the place and while we like the effect it's kind of dorm-room and messy. Talking about overhead lights, not desk lamps (we all have those already.) Nothing too "designer" or $$$ -- our backup plan is to ball LED string lights up with twine, as an example. Any ideas or links to shops?
posted by neustile to Shopping (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How about white china balls in various sizes at various heights? They're cheap, very clean looking, and produce a pleasant, diffuse, light.

If you want to do ropelight or LED ropelight (sometimes called Deon) you can get clear plastic channels that it snaps into so it's totally straight and clean looking.

Are these the kind of solutions you're looking for?
posted by Thin Lizzy at 10:58 AM on August 8, 2008

I love this kind of lighting. I'm not sure if it falls into your definition of "Nothing too 'designer' or $$$."
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 11:10 AM on August 8, 2008

The graphic designers in a large organization I work for have a small open space where they keep all of the fluorescent lights off but have normal table lamps and floor lamps like you would have in your living room. The room looks kind of dark, but each person has their own lights and it looks a lot more comfortable than the rest of the cubicles in the place.
posted by ets960 at 11:19 AM on August 8, 2008

One thing LED lighting designers have had to contend with is that LEDs put out a decent amount of heat -- venting it out of the fixture is a major design issue with LED desklamps and such. There might be enough ventilation even with balling them up that it's not a problem, but you might want to have a backup plan for your backup plan, just in case.
posted by LionIndex at 11:28 AM on August 8, 2008

You don't mention what you do in your office but I am guessing there will be a fair amount of computer work. If this is the case then your employees will thank you for lighting that get the ambient levels right and which avoids glare on screens. Here is a guide to the lighting ergonomics for computer display users which might help. Floor based up-lighting can work well if you have a light coloured ceiling.
posted by rongorongo at 11:44 AM on August 8, 2008

One very cheap option is to purchase colour-correction film from somewhere like Rosco or Lee--theatrical lighting company. This colour-corrects fluorescent light to either daylight, incandescent, or halogen. Makes a huge difference.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:26 PM on August 8, 2008

hi all, thanks for the great tips and links! Yes, we're all computer people, it's a very freeform startup, I'm not going to force anything on my ployees and I'll probably just send links around to see what they want. We already have a few of those china balls, we may just get a whole lot more. Those rope lights are around the things I'm looking for -- they look interesting and very customizable, I'll have to investigate. Keep 'em coming!
posted by neustile at 1:03 PM on August 8, 2008

Maybe you could use some of your white china balls interspersed with some white x-mas light balls like this. If you're crafty, you could DIY with some of your china ball skeletons or you could buy them. It is the off season...

Personally, I think the effect could be really chic for next to no money- especially if you have tall ceilings. If not, maybe hang some, and modify a few others to be desk and floor lamps- bubbles of light all over the place. (And it beats balling up your LEDs- you may find that they fail pretty quickly for reasons mentioned above.)
posted by Thin Lizzy at 2:43 PM on August 8, 2008

Also, in one office I worked at we had fluorescent cove lighting as well as overhead fluorescents. In the day time, we didn't really need them since we had fairly big windows so we gelled them a deep blue (see dirtynumbangelboy's comment and remember to use UV filters with your gel- especially on fluorescents). At night, we would leave the shades up and only the cove lights on so you could see the cool blue glow from the street. It got to be that when we would tell clients how to get to our office, they would know us from driving by at night.

The moral of the story being, that you might want to think about picking something that could work to brand you when you're not there.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 2:56 PM on August 8, 2008

Minor correction, Thin Lizzy. It seems you're talking about using a coloured gel; I'm talking about colour-correction.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:40 PM on August 8, 2008

To clarify: colored gel is essentially the same medium as color correction filters. They're made by the same companies, the usual suspects being: Lee, Rosco, GAM, and Apollo. Colored gel colors the light in various hues from subtle to saturated, mostly for decorative/theatrical purposes. Color correction is simply colored gel calibrated to make one light source (like daylight, halogen, or incandescent) match a different light source. It's mostly used in film/photography. If you want to use either, you should also use a clear UV shield (also made by the same manufacturers) to prevent the color from fading.

Sorry for the minor derail.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 4:35 PM on August 8, 2008

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was me getting told.

Sorry Thin Lizzy, my bad for thinking you didn't know the difference.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:57 PM on August 8, 2008

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