Bringing light to dark places

The mudroom in our house is tiny, about 3′ x 3′, and there isn’t a light in there. It isn’t bad now that I’ve opened up the doorway to the kitchen, but it is still dim, especially if you are trying to find something in the closet. I wanted more light in there, but did not want to add a ceiling fixture as the space is so tiny it seemed like anything would overwhelm the space.

In the mudroom however there is this old transom window. This used to be part of the back door, and was on the outside of the house where it let light into the mudroom. When the prior owners replaced the back door and sided the house, they covered the transom from the outside with plywood, but left it in place in the mudroom.  So I decided to use it to my advantage.

First I pried the transom window out. It had been painted dozens of times and the glass is falling out, but it is still essentially intact. I will be properly restoring it in the future when I start re-glazing all the windows in the house.



First thing was to seal the edges of the plywood with some spray foam, then I drilled a hole through the side of the transom and ran a wire to where I was rewiring the switch for the outside light. Then I installed a cheap fluorescent light in the transom opening. This light won’t be visible when the transom is in place, so I could use a cheap ($8 w/bulb!) fixture.

Then some insulation was added behind the light so there would be more than a layer of plywood keeping the heat in here. A piece of white Chloroplast was then added(visible in the next pic) to hide the insulation and help bounce the light out the transom.


The semi-final result is as below. Obviously there is still painting to be done, but you get the idea. The light itself is hidden, so all you can see is the glow shining out of the transom. It does an excellent job of lighting the mudroom, and makes use of an otherwise useless oddity of the house.