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?

  • 1
    If you wanted to add a switched outlet, this could work.
    – Doresoom
    May 24, 2011 at 21:04
  • @Doresoom: If it were metal like the old-school ones, I'd go for it. But not the orange plastic. May 24, 2011 at 23:17

5 Answers 5


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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