This No-Tools-Necessary Shade Is Designed for Hiding Boob Lights
Or really any ugly overhead fixture.
Published Nov 8, 2023 1:00 PM
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There are three boob lights in my studio apartment. (You know, the flush-mount fixtures with the dome shades and protruding tips.) That is three too many. When I first moved into my rental in 2021, I told all my friends who stopped by, “Ignore the lights; I’m going to replace them.” I had it all figured out: I’d run the idea by my landlord, show them my proposed new lighting (a small Noguchi-inspired lantern perhaps), and pay an electrician a few hundred dollars to swap them all out. Fast-forward to today, here we are, and not a single bulb or wire has been touched.
So when I heard about Tulip, a just-launched company that is making fabric covers to hide boob lights (or, really, any sad overhead light that’s no more than 15 inches in diameter), I felt seen. The idea for Tulip came to founder Lori Smyth while she was attending a graduation party for a friend’s son in his college dorm room. The vibe in the space was off, all thanks to the harsh overhead fixture. As a quick fix, Smyth took a pair of (clean) boxers and pinned them over the light. With a new, soft, even glow in the room, she watched the mood completely shift.
Undergarments were of course just the start of the prototyping phase. Today Tulip’s debut collection consists of three shade shapes: Drum, Gem, and Lamp. Each one is available in a natural khaki color or in a colored version. There is no electrician or tools needed: The shades fit right over an existing fixture. Unsure at first how they would look in my small space, I opted for Drum and Gem in natural colors for my entryway and bedroom.
While I didn’t set a timer, once I got the products out of the box, I’m guessing it took me between one and two minutes to install each one. The first step is applying six double-sided Command strips to the ceiling mount ring and then sticking the ring directly on the ceiling around the light. Then you can pop the Tulip shade right into the ring (magnets hold it securely in place). That’s…it.
While anything is better than looking at my boob lights, know that you won’t necessarily be fooling anyone with a Tulip shade, at least not during the daytime when you can clearly make out what they are: fabric covers. That said, I’ve noticed the benefits at night. When I turn my overhead fixtures on (which I never used to do!), they emit a warm glow and give off the illusion of a permanent fixture.
The cost is also something to consider as you weigh this reno hack: The shades currently range from $135 to $145, which is steep compared to the $199 it costs on average to replace a light fixture altogether. If you own your home and have plans to invest in it long-term, the quick fix might not be for you, but as a renter who now swears by updates that I can easily remove and take with me when I move, this is one bright idea.