How to Light Hanging Wall Art

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How to Light Hanging Wall Art

Staff Writer · Sep 20, 2010

Investing in a great piece of wall art is a wonderful way to complete the look of a room. To show off a great piece and make it a focal point in the room you will want to be aware of some key points of hanging wall art. One way to bring attention to the piece of art is to use lighting to light it up and bring focus to it.

How Much Light Is Enough?

The general rule of thumb concerning wall art is that is should be lit with three times as much light as the rest of the wall. This will allow the art to stand out as much as possible. If a light is used on the wall art but only gives out as much light as other areas of the room, the purpose of lighting up the wall art is lost. There is such a thing as too much light, however. Too much light may cause the painting to fade or discolor and can create a glare on the art as well.

Styles of Lights

Lighting for wall art comes in many different styles. The best types of lighting will showcase the wall art without drawing attention to itself too much. A flashy light may look very appealing but the point of the lighting is not as a item of decor itself, but to show off the wall art. Most styles of picture lights come in a variety of finishes such as brass, gold, nickel and pewter. Choose a style that matches the remainder of the decor in the room and will blend in nicely.

How to Install

Most art should be installed at eye level. Done correctly, the lighting should be installed at a thirty degree angle to the art. The lights should be installed above the art shining down on it. Most picture lights are attached directly to the frame of the painting and screwed on or attached to the wall. Hard wired lighting will need to be installed to run into the wall to electrical wires and will be mounted on the ceiling usually to shine down on the art.

Different Types of Lighting

Picture lights are the simplest option to light up hanging wall art. They are the easiest to install and can be purchased as hard wired, plugging into an electrical socket or battery powered. They come in slimline models that are up to seven inches in length or round ones that put more of a spotlight on the art. Other options include track lighting with a track installed on the ceiling with multiple lights that can be moved along the track and focused wherever you desire. This can be installed where an old ceiling fixture once was or  new electrical wires will have to be run over to the location. The third option is recessed lighting and is probably the most complicated. These are hard wired as well but you will also need to cut a hold in the ceiling to fit it in flush. Any of these options are great ways to showcase art.

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