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Valance, Recessed, Soffit, Cove; What is the Difference

Valance, Recessed, Soffit, Cove; What is the Difference

Recessed, valance, soffit, and cove. Maybe you have heard these terms in reference to different lighting options, but what exactly do they mean, and how do they differ?

One thing these different lighting types have in common is that they all typically fall under the category of architectural lighting. Architectural lighting is a term used to describe efficient, functional, and aesthetically pleasing lighting that does not fight with the architecture of the building, but rather compliments it. Generally, lighting that falls under this category will be sleek and out of sight.

But, how do these lighting options differ, and how can you know which will work best for you? The team here at The Copper Connection is here to help break these terms down for you, so that you can make an informed decision.


Cove lighting is built into a ledge or recess and directs light upwards. This kind of light is generally an excellent choice if you are simply wanting to add a bit of ambiance to an area or a room. You will most often see this type of lighting highlighting the outer edges of a ceiling or wall.


The opposite of cove, soffit lighting is built into the architecture and directs light downwards. This lighting is a great option for under cabinets and you will often find it used in this way. However, the downcast from this light can provide you with a beautifully dramatic effect if you use it to highlight textures like stucco and wood.


Valance lighting casts light both upwards and downwards. Naturally, this type of lighting looks excellent running along the length of a wall. Because it provides light in both directions, it can elegantly illuminate a living room or bedroom.


Also known as can lights, recessed lighting is built into the ceiling, leaving only a bit of trim visible. These lights offer a bright, crisp light capable of illuminating the entire area it is placed in. Can lights can be very versatile and in turn are a great option for any room.

Lighting is a powerful tool that can transform a room. Whether you need to add functionality or atmosphere or both, there is a lighting option out there for you. If you need someone to install the lighting design you had in mind, The Copper Connection is ready to help! We provide electrical services for both commercial and residential buildings. So, regardless of your situation, you can call on us.

By The Copper Connection 10-24-2019