How You Light Your Art Can Make a World of Difference

How You Light Your Art Can Make a World of Difference

If you’re a serious art collector, then you probably know the way you light your art can help make it stand out. Proper lighting for your art will allow your paintings to look just as they did in the gallery.
With lighting you can illuminate your art directly so your paintings will take center stage in your San Diego home. The following are the best techniques and fixtures to light your art and make it look its best.


Light Your Art with These Fixtures

There is nothing more beautiful than a properly lit piece of art. It will make your home gallery shine and stir the same emotion as it did in the gallery.

There are not a one size fits all approach to light your art. Here are some professionally recommended fixtures.

Ceiling Mounted Lights

Ceiling mounted lights will make your art, not the light, the focus. These lights sit flush with your ceiling or can be recessed. They are adjustable and can be directed to the wall where your art is hanging. This is a great technique for art lighting.

The direction of the light can also be adjusted. This will help you cover most of the artwork and not just a portion of it.

A professional can help you install your ceiling-mounted lights. Aim for a 30-degree angle. A 45-degree angle could give off a reflective glare.

When spotting wall art, place the light approximately 3-4 feet from the wall on 8–9-foot ceilings, and approximately 3-4 feet from the wall on 9-11-foot ceilings.

The light beam will spread wider the farther the lighting is from the art. Too close, and the light will look like a laser beam on your wall.

Your artwork lighting should fully illuminate the subject and no more. Too much light will take away from the effect.

Track Lighting for Artwork

If you like to change up the placement of your art every now and then, opt for track lighting. Track lighting has come a long way, as today’s track lighting looks much cleaner and more minimalist than track lighting of the past.

When using the right lamps, track lighting provides the same quality of lighting as ceiling-mounted lights, but they have the advantage of being able to be moved around.

This is a good option if you and your art will be staying in place for a while. Two-story homes could incur some drywall damage if you install track lighting downstairs, so be sure to have this installed by a lighting expert.

The track lighting offers flexibility that recessed ceiling lights do not. Recessed ceiling lights would require a lot to move them, but with track lighting you can easily slide the lamps around, or even take one off when you rearrange your art.

The only trade-off is that you will have a track on the ceiling that won’t be covered up like recessed lighting.

Wash the Wall in Light

If you want the flexibility of track lighting but without the tracks, consider wall washing instead. Wall washing is a technique for wall art lighting that delivers a wide distribution of light.

You don’t have to spotlight every painting. With this technique, you highlight the entire wall. Wall washer light fixtures come in many different types, including recessed and surface mounted lights.

Wall washing will also indirectly brighten the room where the art is displayed, and is a technique used by many contemporary galleries. It allows you to rearrange your art on the wall without having to readjust a thing. This is a more casual style of lighting for artwork.

Individual Picture Lights

Individual lighting for paintings is the perfect option for a small intimate display of art or renters. Picture lighting is mounted to the frame of the wall behind the painting.

Picture lights light your art with very low-wattage lamps, which give your gallery a sense of intimacy, as each piece invites you to examine it closer. When installed by a lighting professional, the individual picture light cords will be hidden from view or hardwired into your home.

These lights also add a decorative touch to the room. Wall art lighting fixtures can be very attractive and play up the accent colors of your room. There are options for large works of art, as well as smaller works.

Artwork Lighting Techniques

There are other things you should keep in mind when lighting your art. Applying a few of these savvy techniques can help draw attention to your art and room the right way.

Use LED Lights

Many renowned art galleries and institutions are making a move to LED lighting. These bulbs emit less heat and block ultraviolet rays. Yes, LED lighting is more expensive, but it will pay off in the long run. LED lighting will save you money on your energy bills and it could save your prized artwork from damage, too.

Play Up the Angles

No matter how beautiful your lighting fixtures, make sure they highlight your art. You do not want your fixtures casting crazy shadows and patterns over your artwork. Evenly illuminate the art to avoid competing shadows.

Consider the Palette

Take a look at the color in your art and use appropriate materials. The Color Rendering Index measures how accurately a light source reflects color and intensity. This scale is compared to natural light.

A higher CRI is more desirable. You should aim for 90 and above to achieve the best lighting for your art. A temperature of 2000-3000K will emit a soft white glow that will accent your artwork without skewing the colors.

Avoid Direct Sunlight

Never place your art in the path of direct sunlight. Art is delicate and direct sunlight will damage your paintings. The UV rays will affect the molecules of the canvas or paper, and after prolonged exposure it can change the color of your painting.

Proper Lighting Will Enhance Your Art

These are just a few suggestions to help you light your art the right way. Every piece of art in your home has been carefully selected by you and your family. Lighting Distinctions has the experience in interior lighting that you need to highlight your collection.

Contact us today and we can assist in the installation of a proper lighting system to create the home gallery of your dreams.

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