How Many Uplights Do I Need?

Without a doubt, this is the most common question that we are asked, and unfortunately there isn’t a magic answer that fits all circumstances. There are however some basic rules and guidelines to help. First the “rules”:

  • Even one uplight is better than none.
  • You can never have enough uplights.

In following the first rule, you understand that having any additional, controllable, light in the room will help create the focus and ambiance desired. Therefore, never feel bad for not having exactly the right number of lights because whatever you did is better than nothing! The second rule, however, implies that most rooms have so many interesting features (columns, windows, drapes, corners, doorways, art, etc.), that there is almost no limit—beyond your budget—for what one could do to an event space. More lights doesn’t always mean brighter light…on the contrary, having more lights available gives you the chance to use them at lower intensities, at slightly different hues, or in combinations to create layered, textured looks.

So how does one choose the number of lights? First you need to think through a few elements:

  • Is budget the ultimate deciding factor?
  • How large is the room?
  • Are you lighting all four walls, or just featured areas?
  • Do you want the outside of the entryway lit?
  • What kinds of existing lighting is in the room?
  • Will your entertainment provide any lighting?
  • Is there something in particular that you wish to highlight (sweetheart table, cake area, stage, chuppah, etc.)?
  • Are you using uplights for general warm glow, or are you looking to make an impact with vibrant colors?
  • What is the condition of the walls (covered in art, dull airwalls, lots of windows, etc.)?

Often, a simple look at event space photos online, and a few answers to the above questions, will help us ballpark the number of lights that would be ideal.

A note about “seamless coverage”
Many uplighting photos (including our own) can give the illusion of “seamless” coverage where the light covers the entire walls and ceiling evenly. Seamless coverage to the naked eye would require an extreme number lights all around the room (and also some projected from a spot off camera). Room photos are often taken with longer exposures which allows the camera to multiply the effect of the light. This isn’t to say that the rooms aren’t beautiful with 20-30 lights in them, but that the seamless look really comes through in the photos.