Wall Washing and the Art of the Graze

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BY ELLIE DEES

Walls can be illuminated in two basic ways – wall washing and wall grazing. The main difference in the two styles is the distance from the lighting fixture to the surface.

The wall washing technique starts with light fixtures that are positioned further away from the wall – usually at least a foot from the surface. Using fixtures that are most often mounted in or on the ceiling, wall washing creates a uniform spread of light that eliminates shadows and helps hide imperfections.

By highlighting architectural features as a luminous background, wall washing can help create the illusion of more space inside a room. Wall washing is best applied with a wider beam angle on a smooth, flat surface and it creates a bright, clear look.

Wall grazing has the opposite effect. It involves using fixtures that are positioned less than a foot from the wall, most often with a tighter beam angle that forces the light to skim or graze the surface. This highlights the texture of the wall – turning it into a focal point of the room or façade. It’s a great look that stresses the shadows created by nooks and crannies in materials like brick or natural stone walls and fireplaces.

Slight adjustments to a fixture’s narrow beam angles can create dramatic changes in the grazer’s effect, which can be applied either as downlighting or up-lighting pointed toward the sky. Well-tuned wall grazing – whether in Static White, Static Colors or color-changing RGB – can create a stunning exterior facade for businesses and homes alike.

Acolyte offers a wide variety of premium LED wall washing and grazing options, including the Atom Linear fixture and the exterior Armor Series, which features the Mini Linear, the Nano Linear and Mini Linear RGBW fixtures that are manufactured with our impervious Gel-Flush Technology. Check out the new Direct AC Mini, which can be used without an external driver! Acolyte also specializes in custom work – consider any of Acolyte’s RibbonLyte products in specially designed channel fixtures for your grazing and wall washing solutions.

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