A Stylish, Eco-Friendly Solution for Recessed Lighting

Here at the Urban Homestead, we try to use CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs) wherever possible. They save energy and last for years, and the technology has improved so the light color is warmer and the bulbs no longer flicker — athough we do have one old CFL high in an upstairs fixture that makes the hallway feel a little like a cheap hotel.

Anyway, I could never bring myself to install CFLs in the few recessed lights we have here; they just looked too weird in the fixtures. Perhaps because I’ve worked for homes and lifestyles magazines for so many years, my design sensibilities do overrule my green sensitivity at times.  That’s why I was excited to find glass covers for can lights at Lowe’s. The covers are designed to cover recessed fixtures in a shower, but I used them to retrofit several can lights in other rooms. They do a nice job of hiding the CFL bulb and cast a soft glow in the room. I paid $15 for the cover, which fits snugly over the recessed opening:

Recessed light with incandescent spotlight

Replacing the incandescent bulb with a CFL

The frosted glass cover snaps in and conceals the bulb

If you’ve discovered any creative solutions for blending good design with sustainable choices, I’d love to hear from you.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

8 comments to A Stylish, Eco-Friendly Solution for Recessed Lighting

  • Grant

    I know this was written several years ago, but I was wondering if you are still doing this in your home? I have considered changing the bulbs in my recessed lighting to CFLs. Some articles have said it is fine, others claim fire hazards. Is everything still working well for you?

  • Deanna

    I think being Eco-friendly is absolutely wonderful and I’m all for the frosted glass cover look BUT the major problem I’m having in replacing a light bulb. I know the cover snaps into place but how do I snap it out to change? Please help!!

  • Andy N.

    Can you tell me wher eyou purchased the frosted glass covers?

  • Jonathan

    A much easier option for installing LED lighting is to get battery powered LED lights. These can be mounted without any wiring, and due to their efficiency you only need to change the battery less than once a year.

  • Another option, which is actually more environmentally friendly, time and labor saving and much more affordable in the long run is LED lighting. We have bulbs at Growandmake.com for recessed lighting like this. The bulbs last 50,000 hours. http://www.growandmake.com/green-home/sustainable-lighting-html/led-lighting

  • Dear Eliza,
    Though these bulbs are energy efficient and will soon be legally mandated (to the joy of China) they can be dangerous. Anything that contains enough mercury in them to require us air our room out for 15 minutes, use masks at clean up and seal in a plastic bag due to poisoning the ground, well… scares me!
    The good news is they last forever (it seems) and we rarely have to switch them out, thus giving less chance of breaking.

  • Wow, that does look nice. You’d never know what’s in there!

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