Artwork can add or take away from the aesthetic of a room, and much of that comes down to choosing the correct lighting. It is one of the most effective ways to level up the design and bring joy to everyday life. Painting and other artwork can tell a story, add life to a room, or become the focal point, depending on how you light it.
There is no one-size-fits-all method for lighting artwork. The critical question is whether you want to directly illuminate the artwork or just let it live in a beautifully lit room. Read more to find out how to light a painting and other ideas to make your artwork stand out.
How Do You Light Your Artwork?
Picture, art and display lighting fixtures could be mounted on the wall above paintings and other types of artwork. They generally have low-wattage or LED bulbs to protect the work and foster a sense of intimacy that pulls observers in for a closer look. They can also be combined with other types of lighting to create an appealing focal point in the space.
Keep these things in mind when illuminating paintings and other artwork:
- Direct the beam on the center of the artwork at about eye level
- Make sure the beam lights the top and bottom of the frame equally
- Be mindful of the beam’s angle; too straight can cause glare, and too angled can cast shadows
- A 30-degree angle offers the best results
Alora Lighting Valise 19 Inch LED Picture and Display Light
The stunning artwork in this entryway requires an equally stunning picture light, and the Alora Lighting Valise 19 Inch LED Picture and Display Light doesn’t disappoint. Its attractive, functional design showcases the spectacular original artwork and makes a statement that sets the tone for the rest of the home’s interior design.
Types of Lighting for Art
Although picture lights are the most well-known type of lighting for art, some may prefer natural lighting, and others use ambient lighting to create a holistic setting for the room. This approach takes the focus off the art, allowing it to be enjoyed as a part of the space. However, they still need to be well-lit.
Redford 32 Inch Wall Sconce by Regina Andrew
When using natural light, make sure it is indirect light, as UV rays can damage the artwork. But since natural light disappears when the sun sets, a picture light such as the Redford 32 Inch Wall Sconce by Regina Andrew can offer extended illumination. It’s easy to imagine enjoying this sitting room and any time of the day or night.
Casey 64 Inch Reading Lamp by Adesso
In the stunning interior design, the Casey 64 Inch Reading Lamp by Adesso illuminates the artwork and the area around it. It throws interesting shadows that make the image come alive so that the combination of light and art becomes the center of attention.
Felix 65 Inch Floor Lamp by Adesso
A fresh take on wall washing, the Felix 65 Inch Floor Lamp by Adesso uses the play of light and shadow to put the focus on the art next to it. The result is a Zen-like vibe that enhances relaxation and serenity.
Choosing the Right Type of Light for a Painting
No single type of light works for every style of artwork. The paint medium will influence what light is best for a specific piece of art. For instance, acrylic paintings are usually not glossy, so glare isn’t an issue, and any type of light should work. On the other hand, oil painting can be more challenging to light because of the highlights within the paint. Oil and acrylic paintings can be lit so that the shadows on the surface can be minimized or maximized.
For photographs, a matte finish can be lit like an acrylic painting, and glossy finishes benefit from broad lighting. The angle of the light is especially important of the artwork is framed behind glass.
Ralph Lauren Langham 36 Inch LED Picture and Display Light by Ralph Lauren
The simple lines of the Ralph Lauren Langham 36 Inch LED Picture and Display Light by Ralph Lauren highlight the subtle artwork behind the desk in this office. Ambient light from the Viper 41 Inch 12 Light Chandelier by Regina Andrew helps dispel shadows and give the room a warm glow once the natural light recedes.
E. F. Chapman Cabinet Maker 24 Inch Picture and Display Light by Visual Comfort and Co.
The perfectly angled E. F. Chapman Cabinet Maker 24 Inch Picture and Display Light by Visual Comfort and Co. ensure there’s no glare to detract from the iconic black-and-white photograph in this office. The decorative flair of the picture light brings attention to the image without overwhelming it. The Aerin Sommerard 50 Inch 3 Light Chandelier by Visual Comfort and Co. completes the room with elegance.