3 Types of Facade Lighting And 7 Common Applications

In this article, you’ll learn more about the different types of facade lighting and other important facts that’ll give you insight into its various applications.

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Facade lighting is a way to highlight the beauty of a house or building at night. You can implement it in numerous ways – depending on the structure it will illuminate. It’s important to choose the correct lighting technique – not just to bring out the beauty of a structure but also to add to the overall charm of the urban and rural areas.

What is Facade Lighting?

Facade lighting is the use of light fixtures to illuminate the exterior of a building at night. The primary goal is to bring out the architectural beauty of a structure after the sun sets. But other than that, it can also increase security or appeal to the local community.

led architectural facade lighting

It’s essential to recognize that facade lighting is more than just providing illumination. When done artistically, it can attract attention and highlight a beautiful landmark for the local population. It can even be an orientation point for travelers.

Some municipalities use facade lighting to increase the value and overall aesthetic of the locality to bring tourism and economic growth to their area. Companies can also use it to promote their corporate image.

Considering this, you’ll realize that facade lighting is more of an artistic statement than a tool to bring illumination. It can transform a bland facade into an incredible work of art.

This is why it’s not surprising that facade lighting comes with many requirements, including sustainability and energy efficiency.

LED Facade Lights

In the past, halogen lights were the norm. People use it to light up the facade of buildings or homes. Since halogen lights aren’t energy efficient, only significant buildings can use them for artistic purposes.

But with the growing popularity and preference for LED lights, more people and structures can now take advantage of the aesthetic benefits of facade lighting. LED lights provide energy efficiency, reliability, and durability. That means it’s easier to apply the lights artistically. LED lights come in different colors and emit a more intense beam of light to allow a more explicit focus.

This means it’s easier to make a building the main attraction.

3 Types of Facade Lighting

There are three different ways to illuminate the facade of a building.

From the Floor

This type of facade lighting means the light fixtures are on the floor. It illuminates the facade of the building from the ground up. This results in a stronger light at the bottom, where the beam gets wider as it gets higher. The intensity of the light also gets softer as it reaches the middle of the structure.

This is a great option to use if you’re going for an imposing feel to the structure.


For this, you can use spotlights, floodlights, or ground spike spotlights. The landscape spotlights are ideal because they allow flexibility and don’t have to fix the lights on the wall.

From the Ceiling

The light fixtures for this type of facade lighting come from the top. For residential houses, the fixtures use the roof gutters as the base for the facade lights. For buildings, you can position it at the rooftop ledge to point the lights downwards.

In this application, the lights at the top are given more attention. If the structure has a great ceiling, this is the option that can highlight it. The downward direction of the lights can create shadows and accentuate the silhouettes of the architecture.

Among the lights you can use here includes spotlights, flood lights, recessed downlights, track lights, linear lights, and panel lights.

From the Wall

Finally, this type of facade lighting refers to the light fixtures on the wall. This is great for creating a shadow effect on the facade of the building.

facade led wall washer

Using this technique gives more freedom to choose where to position the light fixture. This includes windows, columns, or other vital structures that can help create the right shadow and mood. With the correct positioning of the lights, it’s easier to create the right accents and elements in the building.

The ideal fixtures for this facade lighting include wall washer lights, outdoor downlights, facade linear lights, and other exterior wall lights.

Mix Different Facade Lighting Types

When it comes to lighting up the facade of a structure, there’s no one formula on how to do it. So feel free to mix and match the three different types of facade lighting.

If the structure is big enough, you can even use all three. Just make sure you consider the beam angles, color, intensity, and other factors that could affect the overall look you’re aiming for.

Different Facade Lighting Applications

Now that you know the type of facade lighting, let’s talk about how you can apply it.

The type of facade lighting you’ll use will significantly depend on the design of the architecture. When choosing the right light, it’s essential to consider how the facade of the building looks and the overall aesthetic and mood you’re aiming for.

Here are the most usual facade lighting applications that lighting experts use today.

Solid Facade

This refers to facades with smooth surfaces. While wash lighting is the go-to application here, it’s possible to be more artistic. You can play with different lights and layering. Since the facade is flat, it’s easy to see the shadows, patterns, shapes, and lines that the lights make.

Be careful of the patterns you’ll create. It might overshadow the beauty of the building’s architecture. Ensure it will only highlight the facade, not drown it in light.

wall wash lighting

Perforated Facade

This structure uses perforated wells to allow natural light into the building. But at the same time, it can also project light from the building.

How do you light up this facade? There are different techniques to do this; most will focus on the windows.

During the day, the windows will appear dark as the natural light hits most of the building facade. But at night, you can put lights on the windows to make the building brighter and darker. Or you can put floodlights at the bottom of the building to illuminate only a portion of the windows as the light hits it from below. This will bring attention to the window frames. You can also forgo the leading lights and put individual recessed lights on every window.

recessed lights

Banded Facade

This refers to structures that use alternating bands of different materials to make up the facade of a building—for instance, alternating glass windows and concrete.

These strips are the main focus of the facade, so that’s what the lights should accentuate. You can do this by positioning the balustrade lights to amplify the horizontal bands. You can also focus on defining the light and dark areas of the band – like the glass windows would be lighter while the concrete between the windows is darker.

strip lights

Transparent Facade

Glass buildings are more tricky to light up because it naturally reflects light. So it would be best to position the lights properly to achieve the lighting effect you’re looking for.

In this case, ceiling wash lights indoors can provide a beautiful reflection of brightness outside. You can also take advantage of the darkness by putting minimal lights at the bottom of the building and letting the glass facade reflect the lights around it. Or you can put light lines on every floor to create a division line.

LED Wall Washer Light

With Vertical Divisions

When the facade of a structure has vertical divisions, it’s best to highlight these by using narrow beams from the ground. You can achieve this by using spotlights or floodlights. You can also use a mix of uplights and downlights to achieve a dramatic effect – especially if the structure has a fantastic ceiling or rooftop.

You can also use different techniques to highlight the vertical divisions of a building. You can use uplights on either side of the columns if there are columns. Or, if you want to accentuate the vertical lines, spotlights from either the top or bottom (or both) would do.

With Horizontal Divisions

If you have a structure with defined horizontal divisions, using shadows is the best way to accentuate it. Position the lights at the bottom of the structure and let the heavy shadows define the aesthetic appeal.

The alternative brightness and shadows will bring life to the facade. It can also bring attention to the texture of the building. You can position the lights closer to the structure to achieve longer shadows. Or you can position it further from the building to make the whole effect brighter.

With Recessed or Protruding Sections

Building structures with recessed or protruding sections will need heavy shadows to highlight the different areas of the facade. You can use a mix of different facade lights here.

For the recessed sections, you can use uplights to highlight the corners. You can also use different light colors to magnify the contrasting areas. Just ensure that every beam of light will align with every section.

facade lights

Why Choosing the Proper Facade Lights Matter

Installing facade lighting is essential because of 3 reasons.

First, it defines the structure of the building. It can bring life to what should have been a dark building at night. It can complement the architectural beauty of the building, so it brightens even the surrounding areas.

Second, it can also increase the commercial value of a building. Anything that makes it aesthetically appealing will boost its value and make it attractive to people.

Third, it can uplift the overall value of the local community. Beautiful structures attract attention. That includes the local population and tourists as well. When a building is well-lit, it can be an art form by itself.


There are 3 different ways to light up the facade of a building. You can position it at the bottom, on top, or put the light fixtures along the wall. Make sure you take into careful consideration the facade of the building to know which type of facade lighting you’ll use.

If you’re unsure what to do, RC Lighting has years of experience providing top-quality facade lighting solutions. Even if you have unique designs, we can customize them for you. Get in touch with us for an instant quote.

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