Tips And Advice on How to Light The Facade of a Building

Façade lighting lets you make a dazzling first impression on anyone who approaches your building. In this article, we’ll take a look at some tips on incorporating exterior façade lighting into your property’s lighting scheme.


What is Façade Lighting?

A façade is generally considered to be the front-facing exterior side of a structure. When it comes to architecture, a structure’s façade is thought to be among the most crucial elements of exterior design. This is because it can set the stage for the overall look and feel of a building.

Façade lighting is a type of building outdoor lighting that illuminates the exterior of a home or other building. Structures it can be used for include:


  • Hotel exterior lighting
  • Home exterior lighting
  • Town square lighting
  • Commercial building lighting


Most commonly, façade lighting is used as a means of architectural illumination to draw out the unique features and beauty of the structure’s exterior.

Because its main draw is to show off the appearance of a building, it is more of an artistic addition rather than a practical one. Many choose to use exterior building lighting as a way to increase their property value. In public spaces, it is employed to improve the general appearance of the block or to draw in tourists or potential customers.

building lit up at night with wall washer lighting

How To Illuminate the Outside Façade of a House

A house presents many opportunities for adding façade lighting. Much like any other type of lighting, it is a good idea to layer the lights here.

When it comes to residential exterior lighting, there are a few ways to do this:


  • Use lights to highlight exposed beams, columns, coves or any other architectural element you want to stand out.
  • Use soffit lights over entryways and garages to ensure thorough illumination across the entire area.
  • Install recessed floodlights near the base of the structure to light it from below, especially if you have a textured wall.
  • Choose warm white light to provide a gentle and inviting glow.
  • Opt for wide-angle beams of light to cover more of the façade at once.


How To Illuminate the Outside of a Commercial Building 

A well-lit façade on a commercial building can draw attention from potential customers and gain more foot traffic. Façade lighting fixtures that are well placed and light up the building in an attractive way can allow your commercial property to stand out among the others on the street.

Hospitality industry lighting is especially beneficial for boutique hotels, as it can establish the overall tone of your brand and the personality of your property.

Some ways to accomplish this include: 


  • LIGHT RECESSES – Install lights into any coves or other recesses to accentuate the features of the building and add drama. Commonly, these are used as exterior lighting solutions for windows and similarly recessed areas, regardless of the depth.


  • TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WALL LIGHTS – Just like with residential lighting, you can cover the façade with larger beams of light to create a sweeping and enveloping look. Wall washers and wall grazers are particularly useful for this.


  • ILLUMINATE FROM THE BOTTOM UP – Installing floodlights at the base of the structure for uplighting can do a good job of lighting up large washes of space. Doing so can also bring elements of depth and drama to the exterior.


  • SPACE IT OUT EVENLY – Commercial buildings are generally larger than residential ones and will therefore require more coverage. Be sure your lights are placed at such a distance from one another that they provide even coverage without shadows between.


  • LIGHT UP THE ENTRYWAY – Spotlights are becoming increasingly popular as entryway lighting for buildings. They make it easy to see where to go inside and can frame the entrance in an aesthetic manner.


What Are Some of The Techniques You Can Use to Illuminate a Building Façade?

Outdoor lighting techniques exist on a large spectrum of opportunities, giving you various ways to light up the exterior in a way that suits your space the best. You can mix and match to ensure that the building is well lit in a way that expresses its purpose and personality.

One of the most popular types of outside building lights is wall washer lighting. This type of lighting covers large stretches of space with illumination, which can make it easier to cover the entire surface area with light.

Wall washer lights used for building façade lighting are usually placed at the bottom of the building and shine up onto them. Floodlights or uplighters are good for this purpose. That said, you can also shine them from above and down onto the wall instead.

Wall graze lighting is another solid option for your façade. These types of fixtures are similar to wall washers in that they cover the area with a larger beam of light. The difference is that they are usually installed directly on the walls and shine light from a short distance, which helps illuminate the texture of the façade.

Both of these are an example of what is known as direct lighting. In this technique, LED building lights are used on the buildings and shine focused light where you want it. Wall washing and wall grazing lights are also often used for signage.

If you want to create even more visual intrigue, you can use hidden lighting. The goal of hidden lighting is to tuck the outdoor LED fixtures themselves away so that they remain unseen while the illumination itself is visible. It’s an ultra-modern way to light any façade and is good for contour lighting.

Cathedral facade lit up at night with LED lighting

Dos and Don’ts for Façade Lighting

In order to ensure your façade lighting looks its best, keep these tips in mind:




  • DO choose comfortable colour temperatures. Blazing, cool white lights can be too harsh on the eyes of passersby. At home, it could make a dark interior feel too bright to be able to unwind and fall asleep.


  • DO plan and design the lighting scheme beforehand. Take care to think about the way the lights will look once installed. You’ll need to consider beam angles and how that will translate to light on the wall when planning their positioning.


  • DO use LED bulbs. LED lights provide an energy-efficient way to keep your façade lit all night with minimal impact on the environment and your electric bill.


  • DO highlight architectural oddities. If you have anything that makes your building one of a kind, use façade lighting to draw the eye towards it.


  • DO experiment with your options. There are many ways to mix and match various light fixtures to create a unique façade. Play around with your different options to see what you prefer.




  • DON’T create shadows. If you use downlights with a wide beam angle, place them in such a way that you avoid large triangles of light. You want to avoid making it look like an alien ship is there to beam you up.


  • DON’T neglect regulations. You may need to double-check local lighting regulations to remain in compliance before beginning the planning phase.


  • DON’T make it too overwhelming. Less is more when it comes to lighting. Highlight key elements first and foremost to prevent a cluttered appearance.


  • DON’T forget to maintain the lights. Be sure you check your exterior lights every so often and brush away any dust or debris that may be collecting and dimming the lights.


Why LEDs Are the Best When Lighting a Building

LED lights are the preferred bulb type, and they are quickly pushing old halogen bulbs into obscurity. There are many reasons for the popularity of LED bulbs, including:


  • ENERGY EFFICIENCY – Energy saving lighting fixtures that use LED bulbs require less electricity to run. The energy that they do consume is almost entirely used towards illumination. On the other hand, halogen bulbs turn most of their energy into heat.


  • EASY ON THE ENVIRONMENT – Since LED bulbs use less energy, they make for eco-friendly exterior lighting. Using them can help lower your impact on the environment and lower your carbon footprint.


  • LONG LIFE – Where halogen bulbs typically only run for 1,000 hours before needing to be replaced, LED bulbs are designed to last tens of thousands of hours.


  • COST-SAVING – Since they use less electricity, they can lower your energy bills over time. Similarly, there will be less money spent on replacements due to the relative infrequency with which they will need to be replaced.


  • VERSATILITY – LED lights come in many colour temperatures and brightnesses. This allows you to pick and choose precisely how your façade will look when lit.


Why is Façade Lighting Important?

Lighting design is able to influence a person’s perception of a space. Façade lighting is no different. You can influence the appearance of your home and neighborhood, as well as any city blocks your commercial building might be on. Unique lighting in urban settings can attract people to it simply because they want to see it up close.

From a practical standpoint, façade lighting can also make your building feel safer. This is true both in deterring any intruders and making it easier to navigate around the outside of the building itself. Simply put, façade lighting brings plentiful benefits to your home or commercial building and should certainly be considered when planning your overall lighting scheme.


Façade Lighting Ideas 


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

24 watt linear LED wall washer build facade lighting

Wash a large area in light using the 24 Watt 1000mm Long IP65 Linear LED Wall Washer. This wall washing light has a long bar shape that covers more area in illumination at once, making it ideal for façade lighting. It generates 2800 lumens of your choice of 3000k or 6000k lighting depending on your preference. The light shines at a 30-degree beam angle. It is built to last from premium aluminium with an IP65 rating that protects it from the elements. A stunning silver finish completes the light. It measures 1000 millimeters by 40 millimeters by 28 millimeters in size.


  1. ODL030 12 Watt 316 Stainless Steel Recessed LED Ground Light

ODL030 12 watt stainless steel in ground garden lights

Shine light onto the façade from below with the ODL030 12 Watt 316 Stainless Steel Recessed LED Ground Light. This ground light outputs a powerful 900 lumens of 3000k warm white light that can shine up onto pillars, columns or walls. It has a durable faceplate made from stainless steel and a waterproof rating of IP67 to ensure its long life. Overall, it measures 145 millimeters in diameter.


  1. LWA399 40 Watt Black LED Outdoor Up and Down Wall Light

LWA399 40 watt large black up and down outside lights

Create stunning entryways with the LWA399 40 Watt Black LED Outdoor Up and Down Wall Light. This cylindrical-shaped light features openings on the top and bottom, so illumination washes the wall above and below it. It generates an ultra-bright 3200 lumens of 3000k warm white light at a 38-degree beam angle. Fashioned out of premium aluminium and rated IP65, it is built to last the years. A neutral black finish makes it ideal for placement on the outside of any building. The fixture measures 280 millimeters in height by 119 millimeters in width with a 154-millimeter projection from the wall.


  1. 36 Watt 1000mm Long IP65 Linear LED Wall Washer

36 watt linear LED wall washer outdoor building facade lighting

Illuminate large expanses of your exterior walls with the 36 Watt 1000mm Long IP65 Linear LED Wall Washer. The wall washer fixture has a long bar shape that measures 1000 millimeters in length, offering an impressive span of light. It generates 4300 lumens of 3000k warm white or 6000k cool white light depending on your preference. It is built from premium aluminium and rated IP65 for outdoor use. The fixture has a sleek silver finish that is ideal for use on modern buildings.

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