Wall Grazers and Wall Washers: Technique Explaination

Released on Sep. 28, 2021


Wall grazers and wall washers are accent lighting techniques that add visual interest to an often overlooked element of a room: the walls. You can use wall grazing or wall washing to evoke a specific lighting ambience. These techniques are achieved in a similar way, but produce different effects.

Wall Grazers and Wall Washers: Technique Explaination

What is wall-washing lighting?

Wall grazing highlights the texture of a wall through shadows, while wall washing enhances its smoothness by removing shadows.

The wall wash effect is created by installing a light in the ceiling so that the light beam shines at a wide angle on the wall. By installing ceiling lights at least 2.5 to 3 feet from the wall, you can wash a vertical wall space of 8 to 9 feet with lights.

This type of lighting makes sense in places like art galleries. ANANLIGHT shares with you.

Ideas for wall wash lights


From paintings to decorative wall hangings, wall washes are a great idea for displaying artwork. Where wall grazing draws attention to the wall behind the artwork, a wall wash will diffuse the light to help the viewer focus on the artwork.

Outdoor signs

Washing simple outdoor signs with light is a smart option when you want to make sure your sign is readable. You don't have to worry about 3D letters casting shadows that are difficult to read.

Wall Grazers and Wall Washers: Technique Explaination

What is wall grazing lighting?

Wall grazing is a lighting technique in which light is placed from the floor or ceiling close to the wall to force the beam to hit the wall at a narrow angle. This angle draws the eye to the texture of the wall by creating shadows.

This style of accent lighting is also often used to illuminate the exterior of stone houses at night.

Ideas for wall grazing lighting

Brick walls

Inside and out, wall grazing can highlight the details of a brick wall. You can place the lights at the bottom or top of the wall, depending on the effect you want to create.

Stone pillars

While a smoother stone column may benefit from a wall wash, you may need to highlight the worn features of an old stone column. Wall grazing adds shadows and establishes a stately atmosphere. 


The main difference between a wall rubbing light and a wall wash is how far away from the wall the light is installed. Mounting the light less than 2 feet away from the wall will create a grazing effect, while a distance of more than 2.5 feet will widen the angle of the beam and wash out the wall.

Which one you choose depends on the material of the wall and the effect you want to create. Contact us for high quality LED wall washer lights, we are a professional shop outdoor lighting manufacturer.