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Plastic Covers for Fluorescent Light Fixtures

Plastic Covers for Fluorescent Light Fixtures

9th Dec 2018

Fluorescent light fixtures are an inescapable fact of life. Our schools, offices, and businesses are full of fluorescent lights. And yet no one ever argued for the aesthetic qualities of fluorescent light. In fact, when it comes to lighting, most people find that fluorescent light is one of the least attractive types of light. So why is it so common? Simply put, it is cheap. Until the advent of practical LED technology, fluorescent bulbs were some of the most energy-efficient and long-lasting bulbs out there. And even now, as LED technology spreads, fluorescent lamps are much cheaper up-front. Also, most commercial buildings are already fitted with fluorescent lights, so making a large-scale switch is expensive and impractical. But that doesn’t mean we all just have to suffer under bad light. Plastic covers for fluorescent light fixtures may hold the key to fixing this unfortunate situation.

Decorative Fluorescent Light Covers

To start off, we need to be clear of one thing: not all plastic covers for fluorescent light fixtures are equal. The most common type of plastic covers for fluorescent light fixtures are clear or frosted pieces of plastic that do little to change the quality of light from the fixture. Most of these covers are just an attempt to cut some of the worst glare. Unfortunately, there’s a lot more wrong with fluorescent light than just a little glare. That means that you’ll need a lot more than just any old plastic covers for your fluorescent light fixtures to fix it.

Instead of just putting up mostly clear pieces of plastic as plastic covers for fluorescent light fixtures, many businesses are now installing decorative fluorescent light covers. So what’s the difference? The difference is the word “decorative”. Think for a moment about what that word means. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, something that is decorative is “serving to make something look more attractive.” That is precisely the function of decorative plastic covers for fluorescent light fixtures. They don’t just reduce glare. They actually make the light look better!

How Decorative Covers for Fluorescent Lighting Work

Now that we’ve established the “what” of decorative plastic covers for fluorescent light fixtures, let’s look at the “how”. How is it that something as simple as the right kind of plastic covers can make the light from your fluorescent light fixtures more attractive? To discover the “how”, we need to take a step back and really pinpoint what it is about fluorescent light that is so unattractive.

Long ago, before the widespread adoption of electrical lighting, there were two sources of light: the sun, and fire. Fire came in many different forms. There were candles, oil and gas lamps, torches, and fireplaces. The common denominator between all of these types of fire is that they rarely gave off a large amount of light. Certainly, it was hard to approximate the light of day with firelight. So for most of human history, people lived by the changing light of the sun. The break of dawn and the rooster’s crow was the ideal time to wake up. As the sun set and the world became dark, people retired to their homes and their beds.

All of that changed with the electrification of modern society. Suddenly, the whole world was lit up. The sun was no longer the arbiter of human activity. Unfortunately, people at the time did not realize what they were giving up. It turns out that the human body actually takes cues from the ever-changing qualities of sunlight. As the quality of light from the sun changes throughout the day, the body responds with a whole host of well-timed physiological processes.

Fluorescent light just doesn’t have the same qualities as sunlight. It can’t provide the same essential function in regulating human physiology. But the right kind of plastic covers for fluorescent light fixtures can help.

Adjusting Light with Plastic Covers for Fluorescent Light Fixtures

One of the worst qualities of fluorescent bulbs is the way their light is spread over the visible spectrum. Visible light is electromagnetic radiation that falls within a particular range of wavelengths. We call this range the visible light spectrum.

Depending on the time of day and other factors (such as atmospheric conditions), the light of the sun may bunch up at one part of the spectrum. At sunrise and sunset, the light that reaches us is in the longer wavelength end of the spectrum. We perceive that as the beautiful reds and oranges of the setting and the rising sun.

In the middle of the day, the sun gives off a lot of light bunched up at the shorter end of the visible spectrum. The shorter wavelength light is normally perceived as blue. Because of this, we often call light of this sort “blue light”, even if the shift might not be extreme enough to really look blue to our eyes.

The blue light of midday sets off a flurry of activity in your body. Hormones and neurotransmitters send the body into “fully awake” mode. That’s perfect for humans since midday is when we want to be most active. But that response to blue light can be turned on its head by fluorescent light fixtures.

Fluorescent light is bunched up at the blue end of the spectrum, similar to midday sunlight. But if you sit under fluorescent lights all day, morning to night, you are giving your body the wrong signals. Instead of keeping you awake at midday, the body is overstimulated, leading to stress, exhaustion, and other problems.

Decorative plastic covers for fluorescent light fixtures function as a filter. By only letting certain wavelengths through, they can reduce the overly strong blue light.

Octo Lights - Beautiful Covers for Fluorescent Light Fixtures

At Octo Lights, we produce decorative plastic covers for fluorescent light fixtures. Or, to be more precise, we produce thin films that lay on top of the plastic covers for fluorescent light fixtures. By adding just that thin film, you can totally transform the quality of light. That’s because the films are printed with images that block some parts of the light spectrum as it travels from the light fixture to your eyes.

We take the “decorative” part of our light fixtures seriously. As we’ve noted, something that is decorative serves to make something more attractive. We don’t just want your light to be healthier, we want it to be more attractive. So how can we make fluorescent light more attractive? The answer lies in the beautiful images that we put on our decorative fluorescent light covers.

When you are in a room that is lit only by fluorescent lights, the room can feel stuffy and uncomfortable. But when you install one of our crowd-favorite cloud light covers, you change the room. All of a sudden you have blue skies overhead. It’s almost like installing a skylight, but much, much easier.

If you’re more of a nature type, you can try some of our beautiful landscapes, beaches, and trees. Sometimes, you just want to get away. If that’s the case, our beach decorative light covers are perfect for you. And for the dreamers, we have amazing undersea themes and bright, colorful photos of distant galaxies.

No matter what your taste, there is something for you in the Octo Lights collection. If you have an idea for something you don’t see, just send us your image, and we will print a custom decorative light cover just for you! Contact us today to learn more.

Fluorescent Light Fixture Covers - FAQ

  • What are fluorescent light covers called?

    • Fluorescent light covers are commonly referred to as "fluorescent light diffusers" or "fluorescent light panels". Some people may also call the decorative light covers "fluorescent light filters".
  • How do you replace the plastic cover on a fluorescent light?

    • There's a few different types of plastic covers on fluorescent lights. Flat panel fixtures, parabolic fixtures and U Shaped fixtures. All can have the plastic cover replaced fairly easily. You'll need a ladder, screwdriver and a little bit of patience. Check out these install videos.
  • Do fluorescent lights need covers?

    • In short, yes they do. In fact, OSHA requires that all light fixtures must have protective covers to prevent shattering and causing physical harm or damage.
  • How do you cover a fluorescent light fixture?

    • There are 2 main styles of fluorescent light fixture covers. One type uses magnets to attach to the metal frame leaving the cloth cover hanging or drooping from the ceiling. However, this type is considered a potential fire hazard as you shouldn't hang things from the ceiling. And you don't get a clear image of the decorative cover. The other type is a high resolution image printed on a backlit film that inserts into the light fixture. These are fire safety rated and provide a much higher quality image while filtering more light.