Expert Q&A: Between Uplights and Downlights which provides more light?

Q: When shopping for lighting fixtures, there are many references to uplighting and downlighting. Which provides more general light in a room?

A: In general, uplighting or downlighting indicates that the fixture provides focused, directional light, as opposed to something more ambient.


When it comes to larger spaces with vast walls, uplighting has the upper hand. This is because most uplight fixtures have wide beam spreads, creating a more ambient element.

Throwing light upwards can help ‘raise’ a ceiling or enhance the architectural structure or interior design features; or it may be used to boost local ambient light levels.

If you’re overall goal is general, ambient lighting, a uplit fixture will help get you there.


Downlights, on the other hand are excellent for task lighting, making them the ideal choice over kitchen counters or workspaces.

Downlighting can also be used when doing landscape lighting, by incorporating path and step lighting into an outdoor space. So in this case, not only do downlights invite you with a welcoming glow, they also offer a means of safety and comfort even in the darkest of nights.

Up and Downlighting

When using the two lighting directions together, a nice layering effect can shine through. “Bringing together both task and ambient lighting, you can achieve the best of both worlds,” Edwards says. “But be sure to watch for a shadowing effect, as that can be a pitfall when using up/down lights.”

Up/down lighting is especially prevalent outdoors. It plays up decorative elements and wall washing of a large exterior space with the uplighting, while also providing the visibility needed to navigate with the downlighting.

Often overlooked in DIY renovations—and underestimated in the grand scheme of a design plan—is lighting and how it can transform a space with a flick of a switch. Lighting can add depth and create a mood that was not there before, effects that are often dependent on where the lighting is focused.

To quote the late Albert Hadley: “Design is defined by light and shade, and appropriate lighting is enormously important.” Moving forward in the great designer’s memory, the next time you walk into a new space “stop and smell the roses,” so to speak. I assure you, you’ll begin to notice how impeccable (or disastrous) lighting is what makes or breaks the space.

Which will you have in your next project? And perhaps most importantly, in what direction? At Nationwide Electrical Industries, we provide a diverse range of options to stimulate your creativity, be sure to browse our online catalog for more details. Rean more about wall lighting on this link

Nationwide Electrical Industries Ltd.

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Nationwide Electrical Industries Ltd © 2019

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