Wall Washing: A Beginner’s Guide to Wall Washer Lighting

Wall Washer Lighting

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Despite the misleading name, wall washing does not include soap, sponges, or spray. In fact, it has nothing to do with physically washing anything. It is a lighting technique.

There are many different LED wall wash lights, and it can be difficult to know how to choose the right wall wash for your project.

In this article, you will learn about wall washing and how to achieve your desired effect. 



wall washing-1Wall washing can be used by anyone who wants to use vertical, indirect lighting placed at a certain distance and angle from a wall to create a smooth “wash” effect. If done correctly, wall washing can simultaneously hide rough imperfections, eliminate shadows, and uniformly light up a wall.

When wall washing, make sure that the light fixture is angled correctly towards the featured item. For example, if it is just a plain wall, center the light. If the main feature is a picture, center the light on that.

For example, let’s say you want to showcase a piece at an art exhibition. You can use a wall wash lighting technique to distribute light down an entire wall. A well-lit wall will bring out the best features in an artist’s work.



Best Wall Washing Angles for LightingAs mentioned before, wall washing is done by mounting lights at or above the ceiling. Take into account the height of your wall and ceiling. 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 what you are trying to achieve. Are you trying to light a small piece of artwork or an entire wall? Are you trying to call attention to the details of the wall itself? Or do you want to make the room feel more spacious?

With this in mind, you can start to consider what type of fixtures you want and/or need for your project. Will you need recessed fixtures for your project? A track system where multiple lights are attached to a linear power supply can be another option.

Finally, calculate the distance from the wall that your lights need to be in order to achieve your desired result. Do this by comparing the beam angles of different products. You can also reach out to a lighting professional for help in this department.



It may take some time to determine what fixtures to use for your wall washing project. The good news is that there is a wide variety of wall washing products to choose from.

track wall washerTrack-Wall-Washers are rectangular fixtures that attach to a piece of track. They can evenly wash a wall with light, illuminate artwork, and draw attention to architectural details such as fireplaces, wall textures, and more.

recessed wall washer light fixturesRecessed-Wall-Washers are installed into the ceiling, and they can be used for the same applications as regular track wall washers. Because of the application type, they are more discreet than track wall washers.

Track Heads, Downlights, Hallway lighters, and Recessed Multiples are all used to achieve a wall wash effect. It just depends on how you use them and what optic they have!



You really can’t successfully light a feature wall without the use of wall washing techniques. But when you use wall washers the right way, you can quickly create an amazing effect on a well-lit space.

Hopefully, now you can narrow down your lighting search by asking yourself the few simple questions covered in this blog. 

If you are still lost on where to start, there are many resources available to help you such as lighting designers, lighting sales representatives and IES files.

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