The main objective of this research was to investigate the effects of shade onthe architecture and quality of beech saplings. Beech saplings (between 3-5.5 m tall) were examined in unmanaged gaps in the research area GGO Kočevje, where the vegetation type is classified as Hedero-Fagetum. We sampled40 plots among three gap sizes containing a total of 400 individual beech saplings. For each plot we determined following parameters: relative light intensity (RLI), canopy density, tree density, density of upper layer, and gap age. For each sapling sampled, we determined height, diameter, height increment, and the following qualitative parameters: width of crown, number ofdead and healthy branches, size of bending, deviation from vertical growth, and type of terminal shoot. We found that the occurrence of the lammas height increment was not dependent on the light regime. In plots with high light levels (RLI 79 %; size 71 ar) the effect of light on the type of terminal shoot, length of crown, and height-diameter ratio was negative. In plots with mid-range light levels (RLI 32 %; size 14 ar) the height-diameter ratio was better, the stem length without branches was longer, and the height increment was the largest. Also, the number of saplings with two terminal shoots was highest in these conditions. In plots with low light levels (RLI 14 %; size 1 ar) there were the largest number of saplings with one terminal shoot, crown size was the largest, and stem length without branches was the longest. The negative effects of low light conditions showed a deviation from vertical growth, lower height increments, and the largest height-diameter ratio.