The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

Up Lighting vs. Flood Lighting

Low voltage landscape lighting is stunningly effective at highlighting the different architectural features of your home. Making your home feel warm and inviting in the evening hours all comes down to how it's being illuminated. In this blog, we explore two approaches to architectural lighting and discuss how they can work in unison to create something truly astonishing. 

Understanding different lighting design elements can be tricky. There are several ways to approach architectural lighting. Under soffit lighting is one approach that has become trendy as of late. Under soffit lighting is where canned lights are recessed into the soffit just beneath the roof line. 

Under soffit lighting is great for creating functional light that catches a bit of your home's architecture. However, it's worth noting that under soffit lighting by itself can look bizarre and UFO-like. If you're going for a more timeless look, lighting from the ground up is a method that translates well no matter what style of architecture  is being illuminated. 


There are two approaches to architectural lighting from the ground up we will briefly discuss up lighting, and flood lighting. 

Architecturally up lighting your home with landscape lighting is a very effective way to create some beauty and capture your home's key architectural pieces. 

Up Lighting: 

Up lighting is used when a more focused and purposeful light is needed. This lighting approach can be seen in situations where the detailed or more upfront architectural pieces are being captured. 

For Example: 

  • Narrow beams of light illuminating the pillars on either side of an entryway
  • Lights used on statuary or ornate fountain pieces. 
  • A light used to chase the brick up a chimney.
  • Capturing the red, white, & blue atop a flag pole. 

These are just a few examples. There are plenty of other situations where up lighting can be used for highlighting unique architectural features. 


Flood Lighting: 

Flood lighting is the lighting approach that helps blend everything together. Flood lighting is used on architectural pieces that don't need a directional focused light. I like to think of flood lighting as a soft splash. It's just enough to bring out a soft reflection. 

Here are some examples of where a flood light would be used in architectural lighting: 

  • Along a wall or brick surface that doesn't have anything specific being lit. 
  • To fill in areas between up lights that would otherwise be left dark and unfinished. 
  • To create the backdrop layering in the overall landscape lighting design.

The way flood lighting can be adapted is unique in the way that it provides an even spread of light over a given surface without looking harsh or overdone. When done well, it provides just the right amount of light to help the overall lighting design come together seamlessly. 

The best way to begin understanding architectural lighting is to go out and start looking at it in real life. Have fun with it. Figure out what you like and what might work best for you. There are many way to architecturally illuminate your home. Understanding these two methods - up lighting and flood lighting - will certainly help you to come up with and create a timeless look

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If you are looking to light up your home, and aren't quite sure where to start, don't hesitate to give us a call at (801) 440-7647 or fill out our contact form.

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