Why ‘Boob Lights’ Are So Terrible

Why ‘Boob Lights’ Are So Terrible


Narrator: Yeah, you recognize this. Do you have one in your home? Do you have more than one? I have four in my one-bedroom apartment, including this one that’s
now home to a dead roach. If I can be honest, I hate them. Call it Freudian if you want,
but they just collect dust, they’re an insect graveyard,
and they’re just ugly. So I’m gonna start replacing
them, and along the way, I’m going to find out, why boob lights are on the
ceilings of so many homes. Why are they everywhere? Why are they designed like that? And with all of your options when it comes to how to light your home, why? Just, why? I don’t get it. All right, let’s be fair. We’re gonna call it by its G-rated term which is a flush mount dome light fixture. but speak to any lighting
designer or a contractor, and then they’re gonna call
it exactly what you think. In pursuit of answers, I
spoke with Charles Brill, co-founder of designer
lighting manufacturer Rich Brilliant Willing. Brill: ‘The boob light’, it has
a really simple construction It’s usually a plastic
or opaline glass sphere with a little threaded nut in the middle that kinda holds the glass in place and allows you to easily
re-lamp the light fixture. That style of fixture, a sphere, a dome, with a perimeter metal is basically the bare-bones construction method of a flush mount. Narrator: The term for
materials like these is builder grade, an inexpensive
construction solution, as long as you’re not
the one living with it. Flush-mount fixtures are
super-popular in construction because then you don’t have to deal with hanging chandeliers or worrying about how low lights are gonna hang in a room. There are thousands of flush-mount designs from hundreds of companies. The lighting industry
in general is booming, reaching $43 million in revenue in 2019, and boob lights are some of the cheapest, especially if you’re buying in bulk. Look, I can get a pack of six for $40. But frugality can’t be
the only answer, can it? Who designed this and decided
this looks great on a ceiling? To find out, we have to go back in time… – or to your local craft bar. You recognize these, though: Edison bulbs! They’re the trendiest
thing now, but before 1904, they were the only name
in the light-bulb game, and they kinda sucked. They were powered by a carbon filament that wasn’t very bright but burned hot. Not a great thing to enclose in a diffuser and shove in the ceiling. Fire inspectors would not have approved. Builders usually hung them
from ceilings but kept them low, in pendant lights. Then as cities grew,
builders looked for ways to light smaller rooms
with shorter ceilings, and their prayers were
answered by the improvement and mass-production of the
incandescent light bulb, in the early 1900s. Invented in Britain and
developed by William Coolidge, these bulbs swapped the hot, dim carbon filaments with a tungsten filament. The new bulbs burned much
cooler and were bright enough to be installed right next to the ceiling. Builders also loved installing
flat-mount light fixtures newfangled concrete-based homes because they didn’t
have to install hardware in the concrete ceiling. Designers like Virden,
Beller, even Sears and Roebuck created fixtures in this new style. Early flush mounts played
around with the design, often relying on screws around the edge to keep the diffuser in place. Finally, around 1930,
perhaps as a result of some new technology making hardware smaller, an anonymous light-fixture
designer discovered that the finial could be placed
at the center of the dome. This secured it in place,
making it easier to swap out bulbs, and changed history forever. After that, it was game
on for the boob light. The growth of the suburbs
during the ’50s saw a surge of construction and
secured the light’s position on hardware store shelves. Through the decades, styles came and went, but one thing stayed the same: This was the cheapest option. If you were building a house on the cheap, your ceiling had a boob light. “So what”, you may be
thinking – and you’re right. Besides being distracting, there’s nothing wrong with relying on a boob light. The targeted lighting for a
100-square-foot living space is 2,000 lumens, which a
flush-mount will do fine, but it’s one source. From a lighting-design
perspective, they’re kind of basic. Brill: When you start with a
room with only a flush-mount, the ambient light is created
through the flush-mount. To really define a space, you want to be able to wash the walls, to define the perimeter of the space. Work with floor lamps
or other track lighting that have a focal light
to feature textiles on your sofa or an area rug. Narrator: At the end of the
day, it’s not that I have anything against boob
lights, it’s that lighting, like everything, is an art form. It should serve as both form and function, and it’s fine to design a light that stands out or blends in,
but this does neither, which just makes it so
much more confounding that they’re everywhere. It’s impossible to talk about lighting in 2020 without mentioning LEDs. They’ve been changing the
game since the early 2000s. As of 2018, LEDs own 76%
of the lighting market. As more new homes are built, the slim, barely-there
profile of low-power LEDs will inevitably push
out the bulky boob light as the default ceiling
light in newer homes. If you live with boob lights
and you like them, you do you. But don’t be afraid to
consider alternatives. See what your local
lighting shop has in stock. If the wiring is intimidating, there are even diffusers and shades that can fit easily over
the existing fixture. But if you’re feeling HGTV vibes, swap it out, even if you’re in a rental. Just remember to turn off the breaker. It does wonders to
individualize your living space. Just store the boob somewhere safe and swap it back in if
you do end up moving. Chances are, you’ll
probably be swapping out a boob light again real soon.

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100 Replies to “Why ‘Boob Lights’ Are So Terrible”

  1. After this video, I looked up at and was glad that my house just had holes in the ceiling where you put in the triangle led bulbs

  2. You should change the title of this VERY LAME VIDEO to: "Listen to Me Whine on and on and on about a ceiling light, for over 6 minutes!"…Go away…

  3. There were like at least 3 of them in my house. I never realised it looked like a boob until now. And I’ll be calling it a boob/titty lamp forever.

  4. oh, no no how dare you called it ugly also degrade that lovely lamp with a lady tits? I can't even fathom this despite the drawbacks of always have a bug caught inside i still loving mine (bowl size not the mini one) i also see it as an art! the benefit? i didn't need adjustable lamp because it's already perfect brightness for my home office i have 5 lamps on my dual-purpose room 4 normal smaller led and hexagonal shaped bowl in middle

  5. This is the epitome of first world problems…give me a f'ing break. Man, some people are so spoiled. Aren't there more important things to think about in this world.

  6. So I'm not the only one who laid in bed, stared at my ceiling and had a dawning realization that all my ceiling lights look like boobs. And then ceiling lights were never the same again.

  7. I’ve got these in my house and always used to think they looked like boobs aged 10. Only to find out they’re acc called boob lights 😂😂

  8. Note that Australian law legally requires anyone who's doing anything more complicated with a light fixture than changing a lightbulb to have an electrician's license. The advice towards the end of this video regarding swapping out light fixtures isn't true everywhere.

  9. I work in interior design and we always called these boob lamps! They are the cheapest grade lamp and take the cheapest bulb, so in addition to being porno-y they are also crap😂

  10. I never realized until this video that my lights looked like a boob, and their is always spiders and flies in it. Anyways no need to waste money when my boob light works perfectly fine.

  11. I live with 5 boob lights in my place. I hate then. I’m 31 single man , What’s a good alternative with still using the same sockets in place?

  12. 5:00 Sooooo…we just gonna skip over the fact that the narrator said "It's impossible to talk about lights in 2020"…? ITS DECEMBER 29, 2019!!! Is nobody else bothered by this?

  13. These are not like the boob lights when I was growing up, what's new is there is no gap (airspace) between it's edge and the ceiling. I know elderly people with these new ones who try and put old bulbs in them. With nowhere for the heat to go it'll build and cause a fire.

  14. In Europe we only use flatter versions of such domes in trailers but with those the glass is held by three screws around the edge.

  15. Fortunately, the closest thing we have around here doesn't have the "nipple" (ugh), just a half sphere attached to the ceiling.
    The fastener is on the rims, no weird nipples.

  16. We're building a home right now. And despite the fact that all lights are going to be LED, we are going to have dome lights (boob lights without the nipple). At the time of planning, I was verily hesitant because of them being "bug graveyards"… But my wife didn't seem to care and in the name of "let's not rock the boat," I acquiesced. Oh well…

  17. I like em. It looks nice and neat. It's not a common thing in and around the place I live. I don't mind having a few up in the ceiling.

  18. I have boob lights in my house, and my parents hate them so much that they legit removed the dome to expose the light bulbs and make it easier to replace the bulbs

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