Top 5 Lighting solutions to illuminate your artwork

January 17, 2020 3 min read

Top 5 Lighting solutions to illuminate your artwork

Not seeing your pieces of art in the best light? It could be time for a change

You bought the print you had your eye on for a while. You had it professionally framed and put it up on the wall – but it looks, well, flat. What went wrong? The chances are, it’s the lighting. 

Picking out artwork for your home is an extremely personal process. It’s also crucial, however, that you take care to ensure the lights you’ve chosen are as specific as the piece itself. 

Here we show you how to use a range of lighting solutions, from gallery-style picture lights to adjustable ceiling spots, to continue the ‘gallery effect’ long after you’ve brought your artwork home…


Make a personal choice

Gallery style ceiling lights for artwork
There are multiple routes to effective illumination of your art on display, from gentle lights which cover the entire wall to spotlights.

According to interior designer Claire Davies, the direction of the light and the colour emitted by the light fixture are both factors to consider.

“For lighting paintings I’d recommend a gallery-style downlighter, which could even be in the same colour as the frame,” says Claire. “Sculptures, on the other hand, could make use of both downlighters and uplighters, to showcase the artwork from different angles. 

“There are also various tones of lighting which have their uses based on which setting the art is in. Warm, cold or daylight lighting will give the piece a different ambiance or mood.”


Wall washers

Element 69 adjustable wall light for lighting artwork
One early decision is whether you’d like to illuminate your work of art directly or indirectly. If you choose indirectly, or you’re searching for a simple way to illuminate a number of pieces on a single wall, wall washers such as our Element 69 LED wall light may be the best option.

They work by lighting up an entire wall instead of a specific piece of art. This creates a soft, even glow that’s easy to play around with.

Washers afford excellent flexibility since they distribute light evenly throughout your space. This means you won’t have to worry about the specifics of a particular artwork… simply swap out prints and paintings when seasons or styles change.

Picture lights

For a more individual approach, a picture light creates a light source close to the work of art, creating intimacy reminiscent of a classic art gallery. Picture lights are mounted to the wall or frame of the individual piece of art, illuminating the piece with low-wattage bulbs.

Since they make the artwork the focal point of the space, reserve these lights for the stand-out pieces in your collection. If you’ve guessed that these lights serve as decorative features in their own right, you are 100% correct. Picture lights can contribute greatly to the overall ambiance and composition of the room – when they are used well!

Ceiling-mounted spotlights

Clarity ceiling light, adjustable lights for artwork and galleries
Flexibility is the name of the game when it comes to spotlights. They’re adjustable, which means you can change the direction of the light beam to suit your artwork’s placement on the wall.

You can also have them professionally adjusted to ensure they illuminate your entire painting, not just one section. Ceiling-mounted spotlights give you the flexibility to choose a frame of any size, or to go frameless.

Spotlights are a great option for sculptures too. The three-dimensional nature of a sculpture means it needs to be lit from above, usually from multiple angles. That’s where ceiling-mounted spots come into their own. 

Track lights

If you have the space for them, track lights are an easy-to-install, easy-to-adjust option.

The ability to move lights along the track, or take them off entirely, is particularly useful if you want to reposition the pieces in your space, or expand your collection later on.

Thankfully, the track lighting of the past has evolved to deliver a far more subtle, minimalist look than in previous iterations.

With such a wide array of lighting in today’s marketplace, you’ll never be short of options which will put your artwork in the right light – and help you make your interior space a masterpiece.

For more information or to arrange a consultation with a member of the Light Yard team, call 0044 (0)330 223 3940 or contact us here.