The Keys to Proper Artwork Lighting: Art Lights for Paintings in Cardiff by The Sea

The Keys to Proper Artwork Lighting: Art Lights for Paintings in Cardiff by The Sea

From 2019 to 2020, online sales of art doubled in value to over $12 billion dollars. Did you buy some art of your own this year? If so, congratulations!

A beautiful piece of art offers you years of enjoyment, and you want to give it pride of place so you and your family and friends in Cardiff- by-the-Sea can admire it. 

Hanging artwork in your home is sometimes daunting, however. Putting artwork up in your home is more than hanging it in the right place. You also want to make sure it has the proper lighting, and art lights for paintings are very different than the lights you have for other rooms. 

Below is our guide to help with hanging your artwork and lighting it right.


Hanging Your Artwork

If you’re new to hanging artwork, there are a few tips that will make your art look its best. The first thing to know is that most art prints and paintings look best when the center of the piece is about five feet off the ground. This puts the art around eye level for most people.

Start with the bottom of your piece, about four feet off the ground. Adjust it up or down according to your height and the size of the piece.

It’s common for people to hang art too high on the wall. Hanging your art lower makes it more a part of the space. 

In Cardiff-by-the-Sea we get plenty of sunshine all year, so avoid hanging any works of art in direct sunlight. Sunlight fades your precious artwork. 

Evaluating the Existing Room Lighting Conditions

Take a hard look at the room where you’re hanging your art. How is the current lighting? Is the room dark or is it bright?

If the room feels dark, you’ll want some additional lighting. Keep in mind that darker prints need a little more light than bright prints.

What’s the current lighting situation? Do you have recessed lights, track lights, overhead lights, or lamps?

Take note of the types of bulbs in your light fixtures. What’s the brightness level? 

Most art looks good with a lux of about 100-200. Don’t worry about the technicalities. You can download a free app on your phone and measure the lux yourself. 

The app uses your front-facing camera to measure the light. Place your phone on the wall where you want your art. Pushing the “measure” button shows you the lux reading for that area. 

If you have dimmable bulbs in your light fixtures, measure the lux at the settings you most often use for the lights. 

Understanding Color Temperature

Lightbulbs emit a warm (orange/yellow) or cool (blue) color. This is measured in degrees Kelvin.

A high color temperature of around 5,000 creates cool colors. A lower Kelvin creates warm colors. Studies show viewers prefer viewing art at about 3,800 Kelvin

Proper artwork lighting needs a good lighting strategy because art lighting varies between types of pieces. You don’t light an antique chair or statue the same way you light an oil painting or fine art photography print.

It helps to have an expert consult from the Cardiff- by-the-Sea area with you when it comes to choosing your artwork lighting. An expert can also help you understand the Color Rendering Index (CRI) and the R9 scale. 

The CRI measures how well the light shows the colors of different objects as compared to natural daylight. A CRI of 90 or higher is good for viewing works of art. 

The R9 scale measures how well the color red shows with a light source. Reproducing red is difficult, so it’s good to understand how your light source renders red. A lightbulb with an R9 of 80 or higher is good for lighting your art prints. 

Types of Art Lighting

There are many different ways of lighting your art. The right lighting helps you see the work as the artist intended. Pick the type that’s most appropriate for your room, wall, and artwork. 

Picture Lights

You mount a picture light on the wall or even the frame of an individual picture. These are low-wattage lumen lamps that provide intimacy to the art. A picture light invites the viewer to walk in closer for a good look at the art. 

Picture lights are also decorative, which adds a nice touch to a photo or an oil painting. They’re also easy to hang and only require an outlet for the cord. 

Make sure picture lights are mounted well. A picture light that’s not well attached to a frame can damage the artwork. 

Ceiling-Mounted Lights

There are two types of ceiling-mounted lights, recessed or surface-mounted. Either way, these are a great option for lighting your artwork. 

Both options offer directional lighting so you can adjust the light right where you want it. You can also specify the spread of the light so there’s enough light to cover your art. 

Are you using ceiling-mounted lights? Make sure you adjust the light to a 30-degree angle with the light beam hitting the center of the artwork. Avoid casting long shadows below the piece or causing a reflective glare on the art. 

Wall-Washer Lights

Do you have a gallery wall with several pieces of art? Wall-washer lighting is a nice option. 

Wall washers don’t spotlight each work of art. Instead, they offer a nice spread of light across the wall that makes sure all your art is well lit.  Track lighting, recessed lights, and surface-mounted lights all deliver a wide light distribution. 

This type of lighting makes it easy to move your art on the wall because you’re not spotlighting a particular art piece. Wall washers also light the rest of the room indirectly. 

Track Lights

Track lights are like ceiling-mounted lights, only they have a couple of advantages. Installation is easier and they offer a little more flexibility. You can move the lights within the track and even remove a spotlight or add one. 

Use the Proper Artwork Lighting for Your Works of Art in Cardiff-by-the-Sea

Use the proper artwork lighting to get the most enjoyment from your artwork. Lighting your artwork is more than turning on the overhead light; you want the best and safest light for your art. 

Are you looking for help with your artwork lighting? At Lighting Distinctions in the Cardiff-by-the-Sea area, we have experts who can help. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

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