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Up Yours: The Magic of Up-Lights

by on Nov 7, 2006

Let’s face it; the human face lit from below looks creepy. So, if you don’t want to look like a character from a John Carpenter movie or an aging starlet minus the pancake foundation, save the up-lighting for your abode.

Negative Space, Man

Positioning can up-lighters on the floor at the base of large houseplants create drama as light filters through leaves and casts interesting shadows on walls and ceilings. Taking this one step further, GE has developed a halogen “plant stake” that you can shove in the dirt of your favorite ficus. The shadows up-lights provide create an arty, negative space effect that will impress your family and friends, especially when you use the term “negative space” in describing them.  

A couple of plants potted in a very dimly lit room.


Large pieces of furniture can benefit from the addition of up-lighting too. For instance, a large armoire positioned in the corner of a room with an up-lighter illuminating from behind creates depth. The light emanating from the rear creates a frame, highlighting the armoire itself.

Up a Tree

Up-lighting isn’t reserved for interior spaces only. Weatherproof up-lighters are available for outdoor applications. Positioning up-lights at the base of a tree or two can make any yard look like a country club—although it helps if the trees are well pruned, the lawn is mowed and there aren’t any plastic children’s toys scattered about.

Up a Stream

Also profiting from up-lighting are water fountains and garden sculpture, which take center stage when illuminated from below. And, in the case of fountains, the reflection of light upon the water is especially theatrical. Not to mention romantic.


Simple outdoor up-lighters have stakes to position them in the ground. Unique alternatives to these are faux stone up-lighters. These phony rocks can be camouflaged in the surrounding landscape. If you are concerned with electrical wiring in outdoor applications, solar-powered up-lighters are available.

For indoor up-lighters and GE’s plant stake, visit Home Depot, which currently have styles ranging in price from $10 to $17. To find your nearest Home Depot go to Check out for a good assortment of both indoor and outdoor up-lights ranging in price from $8 to $50. If you’re looking for hassle-free exterior solar lighting, visit for an excellent selection of solar alternatives, including the faux rock variety for $30.


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