An easy way to add a pop of color or texture to your walls is to hang up a painting
or other work of art
that appeals to you. Once you’ve brought your new masterpiece home and found it a place on your wall, be sure that poor lighting doesn’t detract from the statement you intended to make. Poor lighting can distort colors and add unappealing shadows, making it hard to fully appreciate artwork and other wall decorations. Solving this frustrating problem is simple, though. By adding picture lights you can illuminate the grandeur and beauty of your wall décor for all to see and enjoy.
What styles of art lighting can I choose from?
Your picture lights can come in a few different shapes. Most are shaped like bars, which provide the most illumination and are a great choice for larger wall décor pieces. Others are more like spotlights, and they can help illuminate smaller works of art. There are also a few different ways your display lighting can be mounted, including freestanding, wall-mounted and clamp-on.• Freestanding:
If there’s no possible way you’ll be able to attach a picture light to your wall or the artwork itself, freestanding art lighting is the perfect solution. This style resembles a floor lamp and simply needs to be positioned near your artwork to provide ample illumination. You can easily adjust where the light is directed and no DIY handiwork is needed. This is also a great choice if you’re renting since it won’t leave any holes in the wall or ceiling.• Wall-mounted:
If you’re worried about your artwork becoming damaged or don’t have a frame to mount a picture light to, you can attach this style to the wall just above your piece. This also allows you to switch out your artwork as you please without having to worry about re-attaching the light. If you do install wall-mounted picture lights, be sure there is enough room between the picture and the ceiling for the light to fit.• Clamp-on:
This style either attaches to the back of the artwork and arches over to provide light, or is clipped onto the frame. If your decoration is unframed or has an heirloom or expensive frame, this may not be the best choice as it could cause damage.
What sizes do picture lights come in?
When choosing the size of your art lighting, make sure it’s not so large as to overwhelm your décor, but also not so small that it doesn’t provide enough light. Here are a few general guidelines to point you in the right direction:• 8- to 14-inch frame:
4.5-inch picture light• 12 to 18 inches:
5.5 inches• 16 to 24 inches:
7 to 9 inches• 25 to 37 inches:
14.5 to 16 inches• 38 inches or more:
What kind of bulb should my picture light have?
Generally, incandescent and halogen lights are recommended for lighting artwork. Incandescent bulbs are touted for their warm illumination that highlights reds and yellows and flatters blues and greens. Halogen bulbs produce the purest white light that brings out all of the rich colors in your artwork, but they also generate quite a bit of heat and should be placed well away from the surface of your frame, canvas or wall. Fluorescent lights are the poorest choice since the UV rays they give off can damage your artwork as well as distort the colors.
Most galleries aim for light that mimics daylight no matter which type of bulb they use, but you’ll still want to be careful since very bright, high temperature bulbs in the daylight range can still be a bit too harsh. When choosing your bulbs, keep in mind that the temperature range for emulating daylight is between 5,500 and 6,500K (Kelvins), though some as low as 3,500 may produce an delightful ambience, as well.