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The Difference Between Down Lighting and Up Lighting

Although not everyone needs to be a lighting expert to light their home’s exterior safely and creatively, one of the most important things to understand is the positioning of lights and how they can highlight certain spaces and objects to create different moods and atmospheres. This blog will explore the difference between shining lights up (up lighting) and shining them down (down lighting), and how the right combination can turn the exterior of your home into the type of space where you’ll love spending time.

Does down lighting and up lighting really matter?

Although the terms sound self-explanatory and the concepts seem simple—down lighting being lights positioned in a way that they shine down and thus are usually positioned higher up, vs up lighting, lights that shine up and are usually positioned lower to the ground or on the ground—the reality is that these two styles create different effects and therefore should be used in different ways.

First, let’s look at up lighting. When you install a light, usually on the ground, and shine it upwards, it is great for illuminating taller objects such as trees, plants or architectural features. It creates highlights and depth that make certain things on your property really come to life.

A row of palm trees lit up with landscape lighting

Some of the other benefits of up lighting include:

  • Adding a sense of depth to flat surfaces like outdoor walls or fences.
  • Lighting up walkways or other spaces for the sake of safety and security.
  • Serving as a way of outlining the boundaries of your outdoor space.
  • Highlighting fountains, sculptures, or other objects of interest on your property.

When used well, up lights can also create unique shadows that add an artistic sensibility to the exterior of your home. When done correctly, they can be used to create a practical, playful, or beautiful night landscape on your property.

Now let’s look at what downlighting can do for the exterior of your home. When you want to highlight something that is on the ground, such as a garden, water, landscape bed, or other large surface, downlighting is recommended. So, anywhere you want light, for example, an outdoor dining or social space, should be lit with down lights.

Of course, there are different trends in downlighting, such as moonlighting, where lights are used to create the effect of being outside under the moon. Speaking with a professional to discuss what lights to use where, how to position, and what sort of environment you’re trying to create, can be very helpful.

How to choose between up lighting and down lighting

Sometimes when people learn about uplighting and downlighting for the first time, they make the mistake of thinking they must choose one or the other. To get the best results lighting your home’s exterior, think about how you can use up both applications in harmony to complement each other:

  • Uplighting can create shadows and contrast while emphasizing the details of your home or taller objects on your properties, such as trees and sculptures. It can also add a layer of security and create boundaries on your property.
  • Downlighting can create ambience and wide-spread illumination in social spaces, illuminate large structures and light up spaces on your exterior.

If you want to bring your exterior lighting to the next level, it’s a good idea to speak with a professional at Gemstone Lights. We’ve been collaborating with clients and installing exterior lights all over the United States and Canada since 2016. We know how to make your vision become a reality.

Landscape lights highlighting a driveway

Contact Gemstone Lighting Today

By using exterior lighting to strategically brighten your home, you can create wonderful outdoor environments for you and your family and friends. At Gemstone Lights, we believe outdoor lighting design is a mix of technique, technology and craft, and we have years of experience helping people illuminate the exterior of their homes. Listed below are some of the amazing features we offer at Gemstone Lights:

  • Warm light LED
  • Gemstone Lights custom app
  • Bumper to bumper warranty
  • Architectural lighting
  • Dimmable lights
  • Sunset and sunrise settings
  • Set multiple timers
  • Fully customizable colours
  • Individual waterproof connections
  • Cloud-enabled

At Gemstone Lights, our technology, experience and personal touch will go a long way to make the exterior of your home a place where you want to spend time. Our lighting professionals can work with you to capture the true beauty of your exterior. We’ve installed over two million lighting setups and operate all over the United States and Canada. Check out our locations here.

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