What is wall washing?


Wall washing is a lighting technique that involves illuminating walls evenly to minimize shadows and blemishes. In interior design and architecture, wall washing is used to improve the visual appearance of walls and create a more balanced and uniform look in a space. This technique utilizes indirect lighting fixtures placed away from the wall at a specific distance to spread light evenly across the wall surface, creating a "washed" effect. Wall washing is a crucial element in creating functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces, and it has a significant impact on the overall look and feel of a room. 

An exterior wall with vertical strips is washed by a wall washing light from bottom upward.

How to create a wall washing effect?

The basic theory behind wall washing is to place the lighting fixtures away from the wall at a specific distance, so that the light from the fixtures spreads evenly across the wall surface. This creates a "washed" effect that enhances the visual appearance of the wall and eliminates any defects or shadows.

An interior wall with a art pieces is lighted up by a wall washing light at the top downward in an exhibition space

The distance between the lighting fixtures and the wall is a key factor in the effectiveness of wall washing. If the fixtures are placed too close to the wall, the light may not be evenly spread, resulting in hot spots and areas of darkness. On the other hand, if the fixtures are placed too far from the wall, the light may not be intense enough to effectively illuminate the wall. 

The placement of the lighting fixtures is another important factor in wall washing. The height of the lighting fixtures should be adjusted to wash desired wall surface areas. 

The texture of the wall is also a factor for wall washing. A smooth wall will reflect light differently than a textured wall, and the wall washing technique should be adjusted accordingly. For example, a textured wall may require more lighting fixtures or a different type of fixture to achieve an even wash of light. Typically, a wall washing effect is more preferable for smooth wall surfaces.

Selection of wall washing light fixtures will also affect the washing effect. Fixtures with relatively narrow beam angles can provide a more focused light and accentuate desired objects or areas with a brighter light.

What are the benefits of wall washing?

  1. Enhances Visual Appearance: The most obvious benefit of wall washing is the enhancement of the visual appearance of the wall. By evenly illuminating the wall surface, wall washing eliminates shadows and blemishes, creating a uniform and balanced look. This can greatly improve the overall aesthetic of a space and make it look more welcoming and visually appealing.
  2. Increases Perception of Space: Wall washing can make a room appear larger and brighter, which can enhance the perception of space. By illuminating the walls evenly, wall washing can create an illusion of depth and create a more dynamic and engaging environment.
  3. Minimizes Shadows and Blemishes: Shadows and blemishes on walls can be distracting. Wall washing eliminates these distractions by providing an evenly lit surface, making the wall look clean and visually appealing.
  4. Adds Visual Interest: Wall washing can add visual interest and depth to a space by creating a more dynamic environment. Shadows and highlights on the wall can create a sense of depth, making the space more engaging and interesting to look at.
  5. Enhances Wall Art and Decorations: Wall washing can also enhance wall art and decorations by providing a well-lit surface. This can help draw attention to these elements and make them look more visually appealing.
  6. Improves Functionality: In addition to enhancing the aesthetic of a space, wall washing can also improve its functionality. By providing a well-lit environment, wall washing can make it easier to see and perform tasks, making a space more usable and efficient.

A fashion mall building is lighted up by wall washing lights.

Wall washing is a powerful lighting technique that can enhance the visual appearance of a space and create a range of different lighting effects. Whether you're looking to eliminate shadows and blemishes, add visual interest, or create a warm and inviting atmosphere, wall washing can provide the solution. GL LED provides various high quality LED wall washer lights that can be used on different applications. Please contact us for your lighting needs.

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