What are up Lights?

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  • Written By: N. Phipps
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 February 2020
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Directional home lighting is a great way to enhance the décor both indoors and out. One type of directional lighting popular with many homeowners is the up light. Up lights produce light from below, pointing it upwards rather than down as with natural lighting or down lights. Up lighting is generally used for creating dramatic effects for highlighting focal points such as plants, statuary, walks, and more. It’s an excellent choice for highlighting objects in the home as well as in the landscape.

Up lights, also known as accent lighting, provide a softer, more indirect light. An up light fixture can be placed just about anywhere to produce various effects. Placing fixtures or lamps near a wall, for instance, can create a subtle effect by pointing it upwards. The object will be softly highlighted without any details. Place the fixture behind an object to cast a silhouette. Likewise, the fixture can be moved or placed in front of objects to create a shadow effect.

Up lights are often positioned with wall-mounted, track, or recessed fixtures. These can be easily concealed for greater effect, especially outdoors enveloped by plants. Up lights are also easy to install and available in many different options to accommodate various lighting needs. For example, sconce, torchiere, and ceiling fan lighting are commonly used up lights in the home. Likewise, this lighting can take center stage outdoors in the form of spotlights or lamps.


Sconces are often used to highlight artwork and other collections. They can also provide subtle nighttime lighting. Torchiere up lights are a fancy term for floor lights that direct light upward. These are often used to bring attention to specific areas of the room in addition to creating a tranquil mood. With ceiling fan up lights, the fixtures are situated above the blades rather than below to create a more subtle type of indoor lighting.

While up lights can also be used to spotlight objects, such as artwork and sculptures, in the home, spotlighting is most often used outdoors. Outdoor up lighting not only enhances the landscape by highlighting specific features, like fountains and specimen plantings, but can also provide safety. For instance, adding up light lamps in the landscape can allow homeowners and visitors to safely and easily find their way along walks and driveways at night. This light effect is also much more subtle and inviting.

The wide range of up lighting options makes it easy to find something to suit nearly any purpose, style, or budget.


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Post 6

Good lighting is really important to me. I would much rather be in a room that is well lit than one that is hard to see in.

I also like to use lighting to accent special features in my home. I have family pictures along a wall that leads upstairs to a loft area.

I use lighted scones on this wall that help accent these pictures. They serve a dual purpose as they provide light as you are going up and down the stairs and place special emphasis on the family photos.

There is no end to the ways you can use up lights in your home to create a welcoming atmosphere. Up lights have a way of bringing warmth to your home, but can also be functional as well.

Post 5

Lighting can create atmosphere and ambiance that makes a place very special. I use exterior up lights to create this outside my home.

I have several garden areas that I like to spotlight and have solar up lights in different places around my yard.

The most important place I like to keep lighted is where I have my flag pole and the flowers that are planted around it.

By using up lights, I can really accent this beautiful area so it looks good any time day or night.

Post 4

I love it when people put up lights in their ponds to highlight a fountain. In my town, there is a subdivision with three large ponds near the entrance. The creator and owner of the subdivision lives in the house directly behind the main pond, and he has up lights directed at a fountain.

He changes the color of the lights for different holidays. Around the 4th of July, he makes the fountain red, white, and blue. Close to Halloween, it’s orange.

I am curious as to how you set up lights in the water. Do you have to run a cord somewhere? Are there wires running under the water? It seems like you would be in danger of electrocution.

Post 3

I think that spotlights are beautiful if you have a gorgeous house and yard. Someone who lives down my street has what I call a dollhouse mansion, and the front of it is lit by several outdoor up lights.

This person always decorates for holidays. In the fall, they have several large chrysanthemum bushes, pumpkins, and hay bales set up right behind the spotlights, so the light falls on them and everyone driving by can see them.

I’m sure the spotlights help deter criminals, too. It’s kind of hard to discreetly break into a home when it’s all lit up out front. As far as I know, they haven’t had any attempted robberies.

Post 2

@seag47 - Yes, up lights create a peaceful mood that most people recognize instantly and respect. When I walk into a room with up lights, I almost feel a reverence for the space. It just feels wrong to talk loudly there.

My neighbor has an indoor pool, and in addition to the lights built into the pool itself, she has floor lights around the edges of the room that shine on the walls and give the room a special glow. She says she comes here to relax while floating on the water after work, and sometimes, she can’t help but fall asleep on the float.

Post 1

My friend has floor lighting in one area of her home, and I think it creates the most beautiful atmosphere. She has a rather large dining room with hardwood floors and fancy wrought iron furniture with plush cushions, and she chose this type of lighting to enhance the wealthy, antique feel of the room.

She holds dinner parties often, and she adds candles to the table to complement the low light. I love dining in here, because I think that it sets a certain tone to the conversation. People tend to talk more quietly and act more sophisticated in lowly lit environments.

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