Facade lighting design:Wall Washing VS Wall Grazing

Views: 0     Author: Grace     Publish Time: 2022-03-29      Origin: https://www.suntechleds.com/

The facade lighting design of the building is the lighting that reshapes the night landscape of the building with lights, which is a part of the night scene lighting. The purpose is to use the lighting to highlight the characteristics of the building and organically combine it with the surrounding environment to create a harmonious, beautiful, and distinctive night scene picture, so as to express the night image of the building. Facades have an impact on achieving aesthetic excellence, and this is where LED building facade lighting comes into play. Lighting the facade with lights can turn a building into a real eye-catcher as it accentuates the building and emphasizes key architectural features. Regarding facade lighting design, two concepts (namely, wall washing and wall grazing) need to be carefully considered in the design stage. What is the difference between them? The main difference is how far the light is mounted from the wall, please watch the following part:

Table 1:Difference between Wall Washing vs Wall Grazing from SuntechLed


Mounting distance from the wall

Mounting distance Lighting Ideas
Wall Washing >12" Spacing distance = ⅓ of the ceiling height

①Art  ②Collectibles  

③Indoor plants  ④Outdoor signs

Wall Grazing <12" Spacing distance = never more than 12 inches

①Home exterior  ②Stone pillars

③Brick wall  ④Kitchen backsplash

Wall Washing and Wall Grazing; we've all seen these terms in the lighting industry, but when we're asked about the difference, how many of us are confident in the answers given? Please see below for the detailed differences between them!


Wall Washing lighting

1.1 Definition of Wall Washing

The word "washing the wall" is self-explanatory and can be interpreted as washing the wall uniformly by using light (ie, evenly illuminating the wall surface). This can be achieved by evenly distributing the lumens over the entire wall surface from top to bottom without creating any dark lumens. Choosing the right fixing device helps to wash the wall accurately. This uniform lighting of the entire wall helps to hide imperfections in the artwork and also helps to eliminate shadows on the surface.

1.2 Three Installation Rules of Wall Washing

  • Installation distance = Spacing distance = ⅓ of ceiling height

  • Install 2 to 3 feet from the wall for spaces 9 feet or less, or 3 to 4 feet from the wall for spaces 9 to 11 feet tall

  • It is best to use wall wash on light-colored or matt finishes

1.3 Wall Wash Lighting Ideas

If you want to make the room feel bigger and less shadowy,  try one of these ideas for wall wash lighting.


From paintings to decorative wall hangings, wall washing is a great way to display your artwork. This way, decorative paintings appear clear and bright, grazing on the wall draws attention to the wall behind the art, and wall washing diffuses light to help the viewer focus on the art.


For lighting collectibles such as motorcycles and cars. In a small space, wall washing can brighten it up and make it feel larger.

(3)Indoor plants

Indoor plants close to walls can also benefit from wall washers. Since wall washing minimizes shadows, this technique creates a bright, cheerful atmosphere.

(4)Outdoor signs

When you want to make sure your sign is readable, light cleaning a simple outdoor sign is a smart choice. You don't have to worry about 3D letters casting hard-to-read shadows.

1.4 How to Wall Wash

The best lighting angle for wall washing is determined according to the installation position of the lamps. You should consider the height of walls and ceilings. The height of the wall you want to wash can determine:

  • What light fixture you should use

  • How far the light fixture is from a wall

  • The angle of the light fixture

First, think about the effect you want to achieve. Do you want to light up a small piece of art or an entire wall? Are you trying to draw attention to the details of the walls themselves? Or just want the room to feel more spacious?

With this in mind, you can start thinking about what type of fixtures you want and/or need for your project. Does your project require embedded fixtures?

Finally, calculate how far your lights need to be from the wall to get the effect you want. Do this by comparing the beam angles of different products. You can also contact your local lighting specialist for assistance.

1.5 Advantages of Wall wash

The wall washing effect with uniform lighting makes the appearance of the wall clearer and brighter. It also helps to better strengthen the structure of the wall surface. Some lighting designers also believe that washing the walls makes the whole room look more lively.

In order to obtain an effective and attractive wall washing effect, the lamps need to be installed at the ceiling height or higher, so that the lamps can effectively "wash" the vertical space. The luminaire also needs to keep a sufficient distance from the wall surface so that the light can spread out with a wider beam angle. The light should be level with the eyes or inclined towards the center of the feature or artwork.

Designers always recommend and practice the use of multi-directional lighting fixtures for wall washing. For example, the use of asymmetrical lamps can help to achieve the wall washing effect. The application of asymmetrical lamps provides one-way lighting. It is best to use a wall washer on walls that have a flat, smooth surface to limit shadows. With the advent of LED lamps, the flexibility provided by well-known manufacturers can help achieve uniform, shadow-free wall wash quality.

Please see the picture below, the distance comparison chart of Wall washing vs Wall Grazing lamp placement.

wall wash and wall grazing

Read more: The advantages of the wall washer

Wall Grazing lighting

2.1 Definition of Wall Grazing

Wall Grazing is another way to illuminate the surface, which is the opposite of wall washing. In terms of the wall-washing effect, the surface lighting is uneven compared to wall washing. By enhancing shadows, wall predation helps to make textured vertical surfaces more visible or prominent. By providing lighting on top of the textured surface, wall scratches will produce very obvious or obvious shadows, making the textured surface of the wall more beautiful.

2.2 Three Installation Rules of Wall Grazing

  • Installation distance = spacing distance = never more than 12 inches

  • Avoid unsightly wall texture or badly glued drywall or walls

  • Stay away from walls where things are installed (unwanted shadows and harsh reflections)

2.3 Wall Grazing Lighting Ideas

If you want to accentuate the walls and add shadows? Here are some ideas for wall grazing lighting. Let's have a look!

(1)Home exterior

Wall grazing is a smart move for a stone house. At night, lights close to the ground can accentuate rough, jagged edges and create a dramatic appearance.

(2)Stone pillars

While smoother columns may benefit from wall washing, you may want to accentuate the worn features of older columns. Grazing on the walls adds shade and creates a stately atmosphere.

(3)Brick wall

Interior or exterior, wall grazing can accentuate brick wall details. You can place lights at the top or bottom of the wall, depending on the effect you want to create.

(4)Kitchen backsplash

Place accent lights under kitchen cabinets to accentuate the textured backsplash. Wall grazing can draw attention to gaps between tiles or the edge of a sleek, unfinished backsplash.

2.4 How to Wall Grazing

Grazing and wall washing require much the same considerations, wall and ceiling heights, as this will determine:

  • What light fixture you should use

  • How far the light fixture is from a wall

  • The angle of the light fixture

Wall Grazing is ideal for creating a textured aesthetic for materials like brick and stone. Grazing mainly highlights the details of the wall itself so you can choose the right light fixture. Then achieve the effect you want to be based on the distance at which the light fixture is placed. 

2.5 Advantages of Wall Grazing

Wall grazing can be performed similar to wall washing, except the lights should be closer to the wall. These lights can even be mounted on the ground, shining toward the ceiling (or sky, if used for outdoor lighting) for an attractive upward lighting effect. This technique is also often used to illuminate carvings or statues. In any case, shadows can be made more or less pronounced by moving the light closer to or away from the wall.

By setting the lighting device closer to the wall so that the lux level decreases as the distance from the lighting device decreases, a wall predation effect can be achieved. The lamp can be placed on the ground and focused in an upward direction to create a mysterious, seductive or fascinating effect on the surface.

This method is usually used for the lighting of statues. By installing lamps near the wall surface or far away from the wall, the shadow effect on the surface can be more or less emphasized.



Unlike wall washes that accentuate wall features, wall grazing turns the wall itself into the focal point of the room. Wall washers illuminate the wall at a wider angle, creating a clear, bright wall and highlighting anything on it, while wall washers sweep across the surface of the wall at a narrow-angle to accentuate roughness or fun through shadows The beauty of the texture. Both techniques draw attention to walls and are a unique way to control how certain spaces or surfaces appear to the human eye.


Choose the appropriate LED wall washer/grazing LED lamps according to the project area and distance: the projection distance is related to the lens and power supply. The higher the optical power, the brighter the projection brightness, and the narrower the lens angle, the longer the projection distance.


It is best to let the LED light manufacturer provide you with the basic luminosity data of their products. Our company SuntechLed is one of the top LED wall washer light suppliers has various types of wall washers, we also have the LED mesh light, LED flood light, LED spotlight. And there are very professional designers who provide customers with free facade lighting design solutions. In addition, the facade lighting is an outdoor lighting design, so the selected luminaires should have an appropriate IP rating and IK rating so that the luminaires can withstand harsh and uneven environments.

WA042 Model wall washer

(For more information click on the image below)

Product Selection Table

Frequently Asked Questions

(1)Wall Grazing vs. Wall Washing: Which is Best?

The main difference between wall washing and grazing is how far the lights are mounted from the wall. Installing a light less than 2 feet from a wall will create a grazing effect, while more than 2.5 feet will widen the angle of the beam and wash the wall. The difference between the two has been specifically written in the article, both techniques allow us to visually see different effects, but which technique is best depends on the material of the wall and the effect you want to create.

(2)How far should wall washers be from the wall?

Mounting distance from the wall >12"

(3)How to install wall washer light?


(4)Where Should Wall Grazing Not Be Used?

Not recommended on walls with lots of hangings or ledges or on artwork and displays - as these create excessive shadows and prolonged darkness, which can be visually disturbing.

(5)When Not to Use Wall Washing?

Wall washes should not be used if the goal is to accentuate features or textures.

Products you may also be interested in:


Outdoor LED Wall Washer Light


Architectural Linear LED Light


RGBW DMX LED Flood Light Outdoor


Pixel Dot Light For Facade


Flexible LED Pixel Mesh Light


DMX LED Pixel Point Light




Articles of outdoor lighting you may also be interested in:


Bridge Lighting Guide


Engaging Ferris Wheel Lighting Project


Building Facade Lighting


LED Media Facade


Flood vs. Wall Washer


Outdoor Facade Lighting Types Guide

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