Light Your Artwork the Right Way
Beautiful artwork can bring your room to life, but not if your paintings and other artwork are lost in the shadows. Let them take center stage and grab the attention they deserve with the right lighting.
When designing your lighting scheme for artwork, think about the type of fixtures that will work with your pieces and with your decorating style. When you’re ready to start shopping and installing, call SESCOS for expert guidance.
Do you want to light a single piece of art, a grouping or a whole wall? Your choice of fixtures will make all the difference.
Track lighting. Its versatility makes track lighting a good choice for lighting large pieces of art. You can place the tracks anywhere in the room and light up your artwork without flooding the whole room with brightness.
Picture lights. Picture lights are usually placed directly over the frame. They come in a huge variety of styles and sizes and add another decorative element to your design.
Wall washers. A wall-washing sconce floods light over the wall rather than into the room. Depending on the type and style you install, the light can be down-lit, up-lit or both.
Recessed lights. Low-voltage recessed lights are a great way to showcase your art in a clean, subtle way. Recessed lights can also be used to create a wall-washing effect.
Importance of Bulb Type
The type of bulb you use is crucial to making your artwork look its best. Decorators use a measured called the color rendering index (CRI) to determine the best lighting for paintings and photographs. The CRI index ranges from 1 to 100. To avoid muddy colors, use lights that have a CRI of 80 or higher.
LED. LED bulbs have excellent CRI and they’re the most energy-efficient option. They’re also the best choice for fragile or valuable artwork because they don’t emit heat that could damage older, finer materials.
Incandescent. These are another good choice. Although casting a slightly warm tone, they have a good CRI level and don’t get excessively hot.
Fluorescent. The yellow-gray tones of fluorescent lights are not only famously unflattering to skin tones, they’re also unflattering to most art. Fluorescent bulbs have low CRI and won’t show your art’s true colors.
Halogen. These bulbs produce a clear, white light that is ideal for color resolution, but their high heat levels can damage paintings. If you use them, place them several feet away from the art they’re illuminating.
Direct sunlight: While fine for stone and marble, the ultraviolet rays in direct sunlight can be damaging to paints, canvas, and fabrics.
Consider these pointers when it’s time to think about where to place your lighting.
Three sides now. Most statuary looks best when it’s lighted on three sides. Up-lighting is another option for sculptures and statuary.
Three times stronger. To properly stand out, a piece of hanging art should be three times brighter than the room’s ambient lighting. Add a dimmer switch so you can lower the light at different times of the day or night.
30 degrees. Most decorators recommend positioning the light at a 30-degree angle to the painting in order to reduce glare. Glare is most common with oil paintings and artwork that’s covered in glass.
As the weather warms up, don’t forget your outdoor artwork. If you have statues, figurines or fountains as part of your landscape, use strategically placed lights to make them stand out.
- Up-light a flagpole on holidays.
- Add safety to lighting around your pool or other water feature.
- Use colored lights to add a special touch to your patio parties.
- Illuminate the shrubbery around a statue or a garden bench for a subtle but noticeable effect.
Get the Lighting Right with SESCOS
When it’s time to give your indoor and outdoor artwork the right lighting, call SESCOS for expert advice and fast, safe installation. We’ll show you the latest in lighting technology and help you plan a lighting design that will showcase your home and your art in all their beauty.