Using Light and Shadows to Create Ambiance

June 4, 2020 September 17th, 2020 No Comments

For a long time, light was only seen as a necessity of everyday life. Over time, artists began to study its properties and the ways it can accentuate shapes and textures. Today, artists and designers around the globe use light to create art and establish visually appealing and emotionally inspiring designs.

Light art or luminism, is an art form in which light is the ‘paint brush’. It is an art form in which either a sculpture produces light, or light is used to create a “sculpture” through the use of light, colors, and shadows. Light can highlight beauty, reveal different perspectives and shapes, give the illusion of spaciousness, and even create ambiance.

When creating light art, designers use many different techniques for different results. Lighting techniques such as highlighting, silhouetting, and shadowing create different effects. By applying different techniques, living spaces can be transformed in different manners.

Using Light in Landscapes

The lights used for the outdoor illumination of gardens, architecture, trees, and other unique yard features are known as landscape lights. Using light, there are two ways to make landscape lighting beautiful. First, reveal beauty already present in the landscape. Second, create new beauty through the use of light and shadow. This second way is at the heart of the artistry of the lighting designer. But, even if you’re not a lighting designer, there is one simple way to create beauty through light and shadow; decorative area lights. These are unique fixtures that allow DIYers to become designers in their own rights.

Decorative area lights are eye-catching luminaires; beautiful during the daytime and at night. When lit, the towers project compelling patterns of light and shadows to help set the mood and provide ambiance. Bollards and path lights with intricate designs showcase how effective designs can create impressive visual elements in landscape lighting design. The artistic combination of light and shadows can add flair and wonder to virtually any nighttime scene. Lights such as these are unique to lighting design as they act as sculpture’s producing light and they also create visual “sculptures” in the surrounding area.


Decorative area lights can be used in a variety of manners depending on the specific design goals of the project. Typically, they are:

  • Positioned in gardens for beautiful illumination on surrounding plants and vegetation.
  • Set at the corners of landscape features for area lighting (decks, patios, etc.).
  • Placed along walkways or entryways for path lighting.

It is important to keep in mind that decorative area lights essentially project their patterns 360-degrees, downward and upward. With this in mind, it is important to also consider locations near walls or other large surfaces to take full advantage of the artistic, geometric patterns.

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