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We framed knee walls in our attic and want to use the areas behind them for storage. These areas are triangular in cross-section, about 3' high at the knee wall, and of course the ceiling hits the floor at the other end.

What's a safe, cheap way to light these areas?

There's plenty of accessible wiring and framing to secure it to; the question is what kind of lights. First I bought just regular light sockets with the pull chain that attach to a round ceiling box. But now I'm worried that bumping into one of these with my head or shoulder will break the bulb off, creating a mess and an electrical hazard. I heard about a kind of cage that protects the bulb but I can't find anything like that at the big box stores. Florescent tube lights might be the right shape but probably too much light and cost. I'm not really interested in battery-powered lights.

What would you do here?

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If you wanted to add a switched outlet, this could work. – Doresoom May 24 '11 at 21:04
@Doresoom: If it were metal like the old-school ones, I'd go for it. But not the orange plastic. – Matthew Leingang May 24 '11 at 23:17

Some of the new LED lights would be great for this app. A little expensive, but will last a long time. Low temp, low profile and very bright. Check them out, even at the box stores.

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Nice idea. I'll check them out. – Matthew Leingang May 24 '11 at 23:18

I grew up with these as a kid and was usually designated to climb to the back to get something out. Considering how easy it is to fill these spaces up, I think a fixed light is almost always going to be blocked by something (like yourself) when you're searching in a corner, and rendered useless.

Perhaps a rope light that you would find near the Christmas supplies would work, but you may not get enough light out of that. If it were me, I'd go with a head lamp that I use for camping, but that's battery powered. Next best option may be a standard cage light on an extension cord so you can move it where you need it.

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When I did this in our attic I used the florescent "tube" lights (also known as "linear fluorescent lamps"). I attached them as high as I reasonably could, on the back side of the knee-wall (so they are on the vertical wall instead of the angled rafters. I installed real light switches near the opening but some fixtures have integrated switches.

I think they work well, come in many sizes, and stay out of the way.

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You could use under cabinet floresent lights. They have a cover and unless you hit them pretty hard, you won't break the bulb. They are only an inch think. There are made for hard wiring.

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What about something like this?

Northern Industrial String Lights — 100ft. String, Metal Lampguards

A bit on the expensive side (~$130), but it would give you light all over and protect the bulbs.

Or you could go for the classic Wire Lamp Guard for ~$6.

enter image description here

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