A Complete Guide on How To light a Church

Church architecture and lighting go hand in hand. With a well-lit church, you can make it warmer and more inviting for the congregation. You’ll also be able to show off its natural beauty. In the article below, we’ll discuss LED lighting solutions for churches and how to incorporate your own church lighting.


General Tips on Church Lighting Layout and Design

Church lighting design is a bit different from other types of buildings. Church stage lighting, cathedral lighting and various altar lighting options make the needs stand out from the needs of other locations. Here, you’ll find some general tips on church interior lighting.


  • LOCATION MATTERS – You will need to think about the location of the lights themselves. Placing them over the seating area is important to allow members to read along easily. In order to provide an even wash of light, be sure you space them out evenly and in relation to windows or other existing natural lighting elements.


  • THINK ABOUT HEIGHT – If you’re hanging pendant lights, you’ll need to hang them so that they hang 1.2 times the distance you put between the lights.


  • LIGHT THE STAGE – Church lighting systems above the stage area are very important. You’ll need to ensure there is enough lighting, so the entire stage is covered, so guests can easily see. It is recommended you use warm lighting for this.


  • EMBRACE THE ARCHITECTURE – Churches are known to have some of the most beautiful architecture, and architectural lighting can enhance that. Good architectural lighting design will show off the structure itself to give it a decorative look, while providing plenty of indirect light.


  • DON’T SKIP ACCENT LIGHTING – Creating ambience with church lighting will be one way to make congregations feel more at home. Using accent lighting such as wall sconces, you can create a warmer, more welcoming environment.

church interior with uplights onto ceiling

How To Light a Church Altar

Using church lighting fixtures, you can easily light up the altar. You’ll just need to think about what you want to achieve with the lighting, such as:


  • Focusing attention on the Eucharist
  • Lighting up the altar and its elements
  • Creating an inviting and welcoming atmosphere


From there, you can choose the best lights for the job. Common light sources near altars include chandeliers, wall sconces, spotlights and even candles. If possible, choose a light that has a dimmer switch to allow you to control the mood during worship.


How To Light a Church Stage

To create an engaging place of worship, having a well-lit stage is crucial. To do so, you’ll first need to get an idea of the layout, including the choir area, podium, pulpit, musician areas and any backdrops you may have.

This means that you will need to consider zones such as front, back and side lighting. Your goals for stage lighting should primarily be illuminating the speakers, presenters or performers. In doing so, you can create a visually interesting and dynamic atmosphere as well.

There are a number of architectural lighting fixtures you can use for the job. This includes floodlights, spotlights, recessed lighting, wall washing lighting or track lights.

Finally, try to incorporate dimmer switches. This will allow you to make the stage bright and energetic or warm and calm depending on the mood of the service.


How To Light the Exterior of a Church Building

As important as interior architectural lighting may be, church outdoor lighting is just as significant. Outdoor lighting can make the building welcoming and inviting while making it easier to see from the road.

There are three main areas you will need to light up: the facade, the entrance and the car park.

As far as the faḉade is concerned, you should light up any friezes from a distance. Using light posts that face the building will provide enough illumination without being too bright.

Any sculptures you may have outdoors should be lit from below, which will give them a more dramatic and visually interesting look. Similarly, if the exterior walls have any interesting textures, you can use wall washers to graze the wall with light and draw attention.

When it comes to entryways, you will want to ensure that it is easy to navigate the path inside. Lights on either side of the door or under any coverings will light it well. You can also add posts to the ground alongside the pathways to lead the way. The car park should have bright spotlights and floodlights to ensure that it is just as well lit for nighttime services.

church at night lit up with wall washer LED floodlights

How To Light Religious Works of Art 

Your church likely has beautiful works of art full of thoughtful religious imagery, and it deserves to be seen. Lighting up the artwork can be accomplished in a few ways.

One of the most popular types of lighting is picture lights. These are designed to light up paintings and portraits without casting shadows or causing a glare.

Paintings, in particular, need to have the correct type of lighting to do them justice. Oil paintings have a glossier look than acrylic paintings, which can cause a glare if narrow beam angles or spotlights are used. It is best to use multiple light sources that provide general, indirect lighting to avoid glare for this purpose.

Most acrylic paintings have a matte surface, meaning they are less likely to cause glare. Most any source of light can be used for them.

Whichever type you are lighting, the general rule is to light the paintings in such a way that the light shines at a 30-degree angle and hits the middle of the artwork.


What is The Best LED Colour Temperature For Church Lighting?

Colour temperature is a way to gauge the warmth or coolness of a light. The temperatures exist on a spectrum of Kelvin units. The higher the number, the cooler the light. The lower the number, the warmer the light.

Churches are a warm and cosy place of worship. If you want to create an atmosphere that adheres to this, you will want warmer colour temperatures.

Warm white colour temperatures tend to be best here. Temperatures between 3000k and 3300k are warm and comforting while still being bright enough to easily see.

Cool lights, such as 4000k lights, may also be preferred on stages, as they provide a more flattering and accurate skin tone. Outdoors, you may want to use cooler lighting such as in the car park.

LED colour temperature guide

Why LEDs Are the Best Choice for Lighting a Church

LED lighting has many benefits that make it ideal for use everywhere, especially for churches. With LED church lights, you can enjoy perks such as:


  • ENERGY EFFICIENCY – Energy efficient church lighting is possible with LED bulbs. Since they use far less energy than other bulbs, with 80 percent of the energy being turned into light instead of heat, you will get the most out of these bulbs. This can also reduce the cost of your energy bills.


  • ECO-FRIENDLY – If you want to be good to the environment, LED bulbs are the way to go. Their efficient use of energy can reduce your carbon footprint.


  • VERSATILITY – LED bulbs come in a variety of colour temperatures and lumen counts. This will allow you to completely customise the appearance of the lights in your church.


  • LONG LIFE – LEDs are designed to last tens of thousands of hours opposed to the 1,000 hours or so that halogen bulbs last. By having to replace them far less often, you can save money on replacements.


  • MINIMAL HEAT OUTPUT – You can keep the church feeling cooler and more comfortable with LED bulbs. They do not generate the same level of heat as halogen bulbs, so heat won’t be radiating down onto the congregation.


How To Maintain LED Church Lighting

Maintaining your LED lights is fairly simple to do. Occasionally, you should brush off the lights to remove any dust and debris. If you let them go for too long, you may need to use a stain remover or replace the lights completely if they aren’t able to provide enough illumination.

You should also clear out the areas around the bulbs. This means also dusting off the fixtures. Occasionally, you will also want to check the bulbs and ensure they are still screwed in well and don’t have any shorts in them.

You can also avoid a lot of frustration by making sure the church isn’t too humid. Humidity can decrease the overall working life of these lights, so use a dehumidifier in the church if necessary.


How To Light Up a Church Atrium 

To light up an atrium, you will first need to consider the primary function of the space. Will it be a simple gathering area, a multi-purpose space or an extension of the worship area?

After you’ve decided on the function, you can figure out the goals you have for lighting the space. This includes creating a welcoming and comfortable area while also providing enough light to make it easy to read and socialise.

There are many types of lighting fixtures to choose from here, such as pendant lights, chandeliers, recessed lighting, wall sconces and track lighting. Use these lights to create zones in the atrium, including ambient, task and accent lighting.

Arrange the lights in such a way that the entire atrium is well-lit and has even coverage. Strategic placement can also help you avoid glare. Where applicable, you should also take advantage of windows, skylights and other sources of natural light.


Ideas for Church Lighting


  1. 24 Watt 1000mm Long IP65 Linear LED Wall Washer

24 watt linear LED wall washer build facade lighting

Perfect for stage lighting and faḉade lighting alike, the 24 Watt 1000mm Long IP65 Linear LED Wall Washer provides ample illumination and backlighting. This long light fixture attaches to the wall to wash the surface behind it with light. It outputs a powerful 2800 lumens of light in your choice of 6000k cool white or 3000k warm white light. This illumination shines at a 30-degree beam angle and offers a CRI of greater than 80. Thanks to its durable aluminium construction and IP65 rating, it is weatherproof for outdoor use. The light measures 1,000 millimeters in length and is finished in a sleek silver.


  1. LSP196 24 Watt Black and Gold LED Track Light

LSP196 black 24 watt LED modern track lighting

Illuminate the stage, altar or even pictures with the LSP196 24 Watt Black and Gold LED Track Light. This elegant track light features an opulent black and gold finish that adds to the visual appeal of the church. It generates ultra bright 1900 lumens of light in your choice of warm or cool colour temperatures. The light shines at a 20-degree beam angle through a honeycomb filter in order to prevent glare. It is built to last out of high quality aluminium and measures 218 millimeters by 102 millimeters by 194 millimeters in size.


  1. Leon 20 Watt 600mm Wide Brushed Silver LED Wall Light

LWA151 20 watt brushed aluminium metal wall lights

Create a bright spread of light with the Leon 20 Watt 600mm Wide Brushed Silver LED Wall Light. This long bar light generates 1600 lumens of 3000k warm white light to illuminate larger areas of space. It is built to last from durable aluminium with a brushed finish as well as acrylic covers on the top and bottom. Overall, it measures 600 millimeters in width by 70 millimeters in height with an 80-millimeter projection from the wall.

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