What is Uplight and Downlight?

What is Uplight and Downlight?

In the world of lighting, there are a lot of terms to decipher. While some terms are never explained because they are assumed to be a common vernacular within the lighting industry, there are other terms that need to be more accessible to the average consumer. A topic often talked about in terms of lighting is uplight and downlight. What is uplight and downlight? How do you use it to the advantage of your space? Let’s take a closer look at this matter to help you make the right choice for your next fixture purchase.

What is uplight and downlight?

These two terms are actually quite simple in their application. Both terms explain the direction that the majority of the light spread is cast. For instance, uplight is light cast from a fixture that goes up to the ceiling and downlight is light that spreads downward to the floor. The type of fixture will determine whether it creates more of one or the other or an equal amount of both. A few examples of fixtures that only give downlight include gooseneck, decorative pendant styles, and task lighting such as lamps. A few examples of primarily uplight fixtures can be found in wall sconces where the bottom of the fixture is enclosed to avoid letting light escape. Of course, many fixtures, such as certain wall sconces and most recessed troffer units will give a little bit of both directional light flows.

Why does it matter?

Some people wonder if they can just choose a fixture that offers an equal amount of both directional light spread and call it a day. However, the matter of downlight and uplight matters greatly in any space. It should also be noted that each type is better for different reasons. For instance, downlight is ideal for task lighting such as over a workspace, desk, or in the kitchen. Downlight is also great for lighting intended for safety and security purposes such as exterior lighting for doors and walkways. In contrast, uplight is ideal for accent lighting such as wall sconces in hallways or bathrooms, as well as to highlight specific areas of interest in the space.

The best way to use these two lighting aspects to your advantage is to create what is called layered light. Every room should have a mix of both uplight and downlight to create a balanced effect throughout the space. All rooms should have accent lighting (uplight or a mix of both), task lighting (downlight), and general lighting (usually downlight or a mix of both) to create a layered effect. The reason for this is because it makes the lighting easier on the eyes and creates a pleasing appearance.

When understanding the meaning behind uplight and downlight, as well as when and how to use them, it is actually a simple concept. With this information, you can easily create a beautiful, well-lit area with ease and confidence!

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