What Is Facade Lighting and How to Choose?

Discover the importance of facade lighting in enhancing building aesthetics. Learn how to choose the right facade lighting for your project.

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Facade lighting is widespread in cities and can significantly improve the ornamental qualities of buildings. This article will tell you what facade lighting is and how to choose facade lighting. Let’s get started.

What Is Facade Lighting?

Facade lighting is a type of lighting used to light up the exterior of a building. It can be used to highlight certain building features or provide general illumination.

Various types of facade lighting can be used, including spotlights, floods, and downlights. The type of facade lighting that is used will usually depend on the specific needs of the building and the design of the facade.

In addition to providing aesthetic benefits, facade lighting can improve building safety and security. It can help make people feel safer when walking around at night and can also act as a deterrent against crime.

Why Is Facade Lighting Important?

Facade lighting is crucial in any building design as it helps pop the artistic feel, ensures equal light distributions, and creates the perfect overall impression. Many classic architectural structures like the World’s Seven Wonders or other architectural masterpieces have amazing light on their principal front.

This is because these lights create an optimal overall feel. One can see a vast difference in these buildings and their acoustic performance mainly because of their appearance. In addition, many lighting products in the market can help create the perfect facade designs, especially for tourist attractions.

colorful facade lighting

Many countries with a rich architectural background infuse these facade lighting ideas to make their landmarks more appealing. There are[plenty of countries famous for their lighting designs.

For instance, Paris has over 296 illuminated lights and is called the City of Lights. It was one of the first places to get recognition for its unique and attractive lighting designs and is still a popular site for these visitors.

People prefer adding facade lighting to their buildings because one can find them in various designs and options. Let us look at the different types of facade lighting and how they can help create the perfect exterior designs.

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Types of Facade Lighting

Most buildings are decorated with different types of facade lighting today. The facades can have different shapes and designs, but having versatile lighting options can help create the best impressions. Buyers can find the following types of facade lighting for their buildings:

1. Solid Facade

A solid facade represents a smooth wall with no designs and is one of the most common elements of any building. Natural lighting techniques are the best options for these facades as they do not have design variations.

Most solid facades are large and smooth surfaces and can efficiently accommodate a range of facade lighting. Designers can even mix different temperatures and variations of light and create marvelous looks collectively.

fantastic solid lighting

2. Vertically Divided Facade

These facades usually require a change of direction because the structures are vertical. Designers find options like narrow beams a good alternative for these buildings. The vertical division structure requires creating separation between walls and architectural sections.

In addition, one can also install downlights and uplights to enhance the vertically divided facades further.

Vertically Divided Facade

3. Horizontally Divided Facade

The horizontal facade is the opposite of the vertically divided facades, forming different kinds of shadows under the light. Designers witness a long shadow on the horizontal divisions, which can enhance the texture and look of the facade lighting.

However, installing these lights can be a little difficult (because of tricky installation areas in horizontal divisions), but it can improve the appearance of your building.

However, one can reduce the shadows to illuminate the building, highlight attractive building elements, and create a more balanced look in the surroundings.

 Horizontally Divided Facade

4. Perforated Facade

A perforated facade is the most accessible type of light. It allows designers to blend and mix different kinds of light fixtures in the surroundings to create perfect textures and highlight building features. They also help the surface pop out and make the facade appearance more visible.

The perforated facades require additional planning because blending different light varieties can be challenging. Moreover, factors like energy costs, the size of the projects, and maintenance costs all play a vital role. One may also need to consider the light shape and the overall architecture.

Perforated Facade

How to Light a Facade?

Creating the perfect facade lighting design requires considering several factors, making learning to light a facade complex. It is essential to infuse the best practices to save resources and get the best lighting effects on projects, even at night.

Design difficulty increases more if designers try to replicate natural lighting. The architectural structure can have different styles and variations, and knowing the best-fitting lights is crucial.

Designers can choose some facade lighting techniques while designing building exteriors.

1. Uniform Lighting

Uniform lighting means spreading an equal intensity of light throughout a facade. It is a fundamental facade lighting practice and can help create perfect designs even in large surface areas.

Floodlights are the most common choice for designers for uniform lighting since they pour balanced lighting throughout the building. Nevertheless, one can use any light design and style if it properly accentuates the structure.

Designers must place these lights close to buildings regardless of the light they wish to use. Place the light on top of the structure, and it will spread uniformly through surfaces creating a uniform lighting effect.


The essential element is the distance between the light source and the surface one wants to illuminate.

The light range is directly proportional to its intensity, so ensure placing the light at a distance accordingly and consider directional lights with floodlights. The directional lights let the designer highlight specific building features.

Moreover, directional lights are smaller and weaker than floodlights but are still essential to architectural designs.

Choosing narrow beams to enhance the effect while avoiding light pollution is suitable.

2. Local Lighting

The local lighting focuses on specific points of the vertical facade structure, like the elevation, pillars, or building plates.

Interestingly, these local lights also offer energy efficiency. Designers can also mix different types of these lights and create better collective designs.

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3. Hidden Illumination

Hidden illumination is the most complex lighting method, but it can help create perfect facade lighting designs. It can help create a dramatic look, uplift the building structure, and enhance its collective look.

Designers can select different approaches for these kinds of lighting, like silhouettes. Placing the lights in the right spots can help create shapes with shadows and attract focus on individual architectural elements.

Contouring is another effective option to light architectural buildings as it gives the building a glow and creates more dramatic designs. Most architectural experts suggest using an LED strip for this.

There are some other techniques one can follow for better results, which include the following:

  • Direct Lights or lights falling directly on the facade itself.

  • Grazing or placing a facade light near a vertical surface. One can find these lights on the bottom, which fade as they reach the top. This method helps highlight textured surfaces correctly.

  • Washing Lights can light flat facades and add more life bis you place them far from the surface.

  • Accentuating lights is the opposite of washing lights as this technique places the lights close to the facade and creates instant dramatic effects with columns, openings, and building details.

facade lighting Hidden illumination

Common Facade Light Options

Experts can incorporate various designs and techniques to create the perfect facade lights, but knowing the suitable fixture options is also essential. Here is a breakdown of some of the most commonly used facade light choices to consider.

1. Wall Lights

The wall lights are most popular because of their straightforward design options. These lights can help the shadow-light effect on the facade surface as walls can shine in different directions.

Blending different light directions can help create a better collective result depending on the building design.

For instance, a building with a single floor will illuminate perfectly with the single wall light, and Multistory facilities would require downward and upward wall lights.

outdoor led washer

2. In-Ground Up Lights

Some buildings require lights from the base to the top, so designers need in-ground lights. These lights can cover a large area because of higher light intensity, but setting the right light angle plays a crucial role in the result of these facade lighting projects.

Designers can install a single light with high power or multiple smaller lights to create the same effect. It depends on how one wants to see the final design.

led recessed in-ground lights

3. LED Floodlights

All buildings, like offices and homes, have LEDs because of higher energy efficiency, better performance, etc. In addition to these spots, one can use LED lights as floodlights for facades.

These lights are eco-friendly, have good-quality light emissions, and have a higher power beam than most options available. In addition, a designer can switch these lights, as they do not kill bugs and other smaller creatures.

led flood lights

4. Ceiling Lights

Ceiling lights include light fixtures that fit into the ceiling for quick access, better texture results, and easy maintenance. They form a downward light effect creating a modernistic architecture. These lights are best at night because they can develop symmetrical designs when seen from a distance. The designs can fix these ceiling lights in almost any shape and create the perfect architecture surrounding them.

Designers add these ceiling lights to the roof for more light and shine, and they do not need extra protection from snow, rain, or other weather hazards. It allows designers to develop the most versatile design options quickly.

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Tips for Exterior Facade Lighting Design (Artificial Lighting Methods)

Lighting the perfect exterior requires incorporating the right artificial lighting products and techniques. While these techniques may differ for each building and design, here are some tips to remember while devising the next artificial light design.

1. Know the Best Areas to Illuminate

Making the perfect facade design does not require filling the area with endless lights to make everything bright. Instead, knowing the most cost and energy-efficient methods matters the most. It begins with assessing the existing structure and design.

The designers should know the darkest spots of the building and then select a fixture and lighting method accordingly.

We suggest installing an equal number of lights throughout the building. Most people decorate the fronts of their houses and do not consider the rear.

linear facade lighting

2. Avoid Imitating Natural light Everywhere.

Most designers and building owners try to imitate natural lighting with their facade designs. While adding a few natural elements here is good, it is best not to make the whole building look like that.

Facade lighting comes with plenty of variations and design choices to decide from. Sticking to natural designs can limit a project’s potential in the end. In addition, it is essential to make the building as noticeable at night as possible because most observers pass by.

The facade lights should stand out enough to attract attention, make one pay attention to one’s vision, and make one look good altogether at night.

3. Determine Major ViewPoints

Perception and angles impact the facade light results at night. Viewers will see the facade lighting design from a particular angle, and the lights must look attractive. Designers must assess the significant viewpoints (or areas where people will see the fixtures).

Identifying viewpoints will also help determine the best light angles to install. The light beam angle is essential because it can cause light glare, which is uncomfortable. Covering major viewpoints will help develop a better design picture collectively.

colorful facade lighting

  • Consider External Structure Factors

Even the best facade lighting does not help if it is not visible. Many buildings look at their beauty and nighttime lighting only because of an obstruction, such as a tree, building, monument, etc.

Ensure all facade lights are obvious to the eyes. An excellent way to do this is by taking an aerial shot of the finalized project. The photographs will help get a better idea from a third-party view and make design alternations accordingly.

  • Consider Water Body Design

Landmarks and other commercial buildings have many fountains, ponds, and other water bodies that are not fully visible at nighttime. Nevertheless, facade light fixtures can help brighten these water bodies and add aesthetic value to the area.

These ideas are best for large fountains as they are mainly in the center of the area as a focal point for viewers. It is best to focus more light on the water rather than the body.

For instance, a retail area can have an extravagant, celebrity-like design, allowing the visitors to view magnificent beauty.

Similarly, landmarks are the center points of any area and get much attention. Try adding long-range facade lights to these landmarks for a more dynamic design.

white facade lighting


Facade light is the perfect way to enhance and add more life to any structure and building that’s plain otherwise. These lights come in different design variations, installation options, and color temperature options.

Architectural experts can experiment with as many looks as possible and create a perfect final look. In addition, the facade lighting can also make the structure stand out, add more aesthetic value, and increase its appeal.

Nevertheless, one must choose the proper design practices and add elements that blend well with the design surroundings. Try incorporating simple components like a floodlight and advancing to more complex ones.

Transform Your Building’s Façade with RC Lighting‘s High-Quality Solutions

Looking to enhance the appeal of your building’s façade? Explore RC Lighting’s range of high-quality façade lighting solutions.

Our products are designed to provide both aesthetic appeal and functionality, ensuring your building stands out while remaining energy-efficient. Contact us today to learn more about how our façade lighting can transform your space.

Reaching out for professional assistance with the facade designs can help formulate the best practices. So, connect with professionals at RC Lighting for more insight and details on the facade lighting options.

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