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Shedding Light on Uplighting vs Downlighting for Your Home's Exterior: What You Need to Know

Updated: Dec 26, 2023

Believe it or not, the exterior of your home is just as important as the interior.

Your curb appeal speaks volumes about you as a homeowner, and it's an opportunity to showcase your design aesthetic.

Besides landscaping and outdoor furniture, one simple way to enhance your exterior property is by updating your uplighting and downlighting fixtures.

Let's dive into the differences between uplighting and downlighting for your home's exterior, their benefits, and how you can use them together to create an inviting ambiance.


Uplighting is a type of lighting fixture that is installed at ground level and projects light upwards.

This technique can create focal points to highlight specific areas of your exterior architecture or landscaping, such as trees and gardens.

The advantages of uplighting include creating strategic shadowing to add depth, defining exterior boundaries, enhancing your home's security system, increasing property value, and accentuating landscaping and architectural features.


On the other hand, downlighting is a lighting feature installed above ground level, typically on higher points of your property, to project light downwards.

This technique is used to illuminate your exterior property, including landscaping, architectural features, walkways, and outdoor furniture, similar to natural moonlight on a clear evening.

The benefits of downlighting include emphasizing textures and layers on your property, creating focal points for outdoor gathering spaces, improving your outdoor security system, enhancing pathways and visibility, replicating natural moonlight, and potentially increasing property value.

Using Both Uplighting and Downlighting

While it's possible to choose between uplighting and downlighting for your home's exterior, many homeowners opt for a combination of both to experience the advantages of each.

By using both types of lighting, you can create multiple angles of light that result in a more organic and subtle effect.

Strategically placed focal points can guide the eyes of onlookers and enhance the overall mood of your property. Uplighting creates a softer appeal, while downlighting creates a moonlight effect, and together they can complement each other for a natural finish.

Types of Uplighting and Downlighting Fixtures

There are several types of lighting fixtures to choose from when it comes to uplighting and downlighting for your exterior property, including:

  1. Canopy lighting: These lights work well in garden beds and pathways, reflecting light downwards in a subtle manner.

  2. Wash lighting: These lights diffuse soft light and are ideal for fences and garden walls.

  3. Bullet lighting: These lights project a narrow beam of light and can emphasize architectural features, gardens, and trees.

  4. Well lighting: These lights are installed in the ground and can illuminate walls, plants, and trees without being visible.

  5. Flood lighting: This type of uplighting creates a brighter beam of light that is suitable for larger, wider areas.

Wrapping It Up

Uplighting and downlighting are affordable and effective ways to enhance your home's curb appeal.

By understanding the differences between the two and their respective benefits, you can make informed decisions when updating your exterior lighting fixtures.

Whether you choose uplighting, downlighting, or a combination of both, these lighting techniques can elevate the look and feel of your home's exterior, making it more inviting and appealing to visitors and passersby.

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