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What are Uplights?

B. Turner
B. Turner

Uplights are a type of light fixture generally installed at ground level. These luminaires are designed to direct light upward towards the sky or ceiling. Uplights can be used to replace or complement traditional downlights, which direct light down from the ceiling towards the floor. These fixtures serve as a popular source of accent lighting indoors and out, and are often used to highlight architectural or landscaping features around a home. Uplights can also be used to create a specific tone or mood within a space.

Buyers can choose from two basic types of uplighting fixtures. Recessed fixtures are mounted in the floor or earth so that the lens of the fixture sits flush with the ground. These lights are often used to illuminate a walkway, and do not represent a tripping hazard because they are built into the ground. Surface-mounted uplights sit above the ground and resemble mini spotlights. They allow users to direct light at different angles, but may present a trip hazard if used along the path of travel.

Spotlights can be used as uplights.
Spotlights can be used as uplights.

Uplights may be used alone or as part of an overall lighting design scheme. They serve as a popular outdoor lighting feature, where they can be used to highlight landscaping or exterior parts of the home. Indoors, they may be used to light a painting or piece of artwork from below. These lights are also used to provide ambient lighting and to set the tone at special events like weddings and parties. Uplight centerpieces may be used in place of candles to create soft lighting at a wedding, for example.

Compared to other types of light fixtures, these lights offer a number of advantages to users. They produce little glare or reflection because of the way they orient light towards the ceiling. This reduces glare on television or computer screens, and also helps to create a softer, more uniform light within a space. Used outdoors, these fixtures help improve safety or aesthetics, yet are more subtle than other types of lighting. Finally, while floodlights and spotlights can contribute to light pollution, uplights produce a soft level of light that is less likely to impact surrounding properties.

Uplights tend to be fairly ineffective when used for general lighting. If uplights are used as the only lighting within a space, many applications will require a large number of fixtures, which can result in high costs. While recessed fixtures make cleanup or mowing easy, surface-mounted pictures could pose challenges for maintenance crews both indoors and out.

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    • Spotlights can be used as uplights.
      By: DeshaCAM
      Spotlights can be used as uplights.