Fluorescent light fixtures may be the best option for lighting large rooms such as offices and classrooms, but they emit a strange spectrum of light, and the fixtures themselves tend to be unattractive. There are a variety of options available when it comes to covering up and hiding these unwanted light fixtures. Even if removing and replacing the ceiling fixtures isn't possible, you can make them look better.
Turn It Off
The easiest way to negate the effects of an unattractive fluorescent ceiling fixture is to stop using it. Place lamps and other light fixtures around the room for indirect lighting. This allows you to cover the fixture in any way you see fit. Care must be taken when covering a fixture that is in use, due to the risk of fire from the heat of the fixture, but if you remove the light bulbs, there is no risk involved.
Decorative Light Panels
Decorative light panels are available to fit a variety of square and rectangular fluorescent light fixtures. The experts at Sky-Scapes explain that these fibreglass, glass or plastic panels are printed with brightly coloured designs. Adding a decorative panel that looks like a bright blue sky can turn an ugly and unwanted ceiling fixture into a work of art. This option does not require changing the light fixture, making it a great option for renters.
Pin Up Paper
A sheet of cream-coloured rice paper hides the ceiling fixture and diffuses the green-toned light a fluorescent bulb produces. The Apartment Therapy website recommends pinning the paper around the fixture and allowing plenty of clearance between the paper and the fixture. This will prevent the heat of the lights from scorching or burning the rice paper. Simple pins or thumbtacks will work on most ceilings, or removable adhesives can be attached to the inside of the paper if the plaster is fragile.
Repurpose a Shade
Round fluorescent light fixtures featuring circular bulbs are much easier to cover and hide than the large rectangular ones. Large glass light shades, usually seen on incandescent ceiling fixtures, can cover a fluorescent fixture if it features the centre post these shades attach to. A properly shaped paper lamp shade can also be used with some slight modifications, according to Apartment Therapy. The paper Chinese lanterns typically used to hold candles can, when cut in half, fit over and hide a round fluorescent fixture.
If the glaring light of the fluorescent bulbs or dingy look of a worn fixture cover is what you're trying to hide, a simple diffusing filter works great. The Calloway House website says that these woven nylon sheets are flexible enough to fit around any shape of ceiling fixture. They come in various colours, including blue, that are designed to balance the light spectrum emitted by the fixture. Some models have magnets sewn in for easy installation and removal.