Top tips on how to light Artwork

26 / 04 / 2021

three different artworks lit with carefully selected LEDS

Lighting art is an exciting challenge and a crucial element in displaying artwork to ensure it is seen at its best at night. How art is lit can make it the centre piece of a room and bring a scheme together. With different solutions to suit different mediums, read our top tips on how to light art. Plus, discover the lighting toolbox to help achieve this.

Plan ahead

Pieces of artwork lit within a beautiful living room


Knowledge of which pieces of art will go where is crucial for the success of the scheme. It is best to discuss this as early as possible at the planning stage. Different mediums and sizes of art require different techniques and levels of light. Creating mock-ups with samples can often help to ensure the ultimate solution is found.

Link to your style

Wallace picture light to light traditional art

The lighting toolbox can be adapted to suit your scheme and style. For a historic interior or a more traditional effect, consider a picture light like the Wallace. This works best on oil paintings rather than glass fronted pictures which will create reflections. The unique discreet shape of the Wallace comes in a range of sizes and finishes to suit all art and provides full canvas illumination washing from the top to bottom of the picture for an even effect. With an exceptionally high CRI of 97 (R9 value of 90), you can be sure that the true colours of your art will be seen at night. This low glare, easy to install fitting can also be mounted both on both the wall and frame.

different approaches to lighting artwork with a downlight

For discreet solutions to lighting art, a flexible way of lighting is with a recessed downlight like the low glare LED Polespring.  This takes a variety of lamps with a different beam widths 10°, 26°, 36° and various lenses, softening and frosted which is ideal to allow a wall wash over a selection of pictures. The narrow beam provides focus over a special picture or sculptural piece.

Art lit with a Polespring Downlight

For future flexibility, consider track light systems with our Vorsa Track and Vorsa Spotlights. Spotlights can be positioned exactly where you need them and allow for flexibility should you wish to change the artwork you are lighting at a later stage.

Balance the light

balance the light by lighting key pieces of artwork

Lighting artwork effectively creates focal points within a scheme but it is key not to overlight. To create more drama, decide which is the key piece of art. Light these in a more focused way letting the rest be softly lit, or use a wall wash to softly light multiple pictures. Consider how lighting art combines with other layers of light within the room. This will ensure the perfect ambience in a space.

Ensure even lighting

Perfectly illuminate artwork with the Vorsa Frame

For key pieces of art or sculptural pieces, the Vorsa Frame is a specialist solution to produce a perfect, even light that precisely frames any object creating a self-illuminating effect. True colour phosphor technology ensures art is seen in its true light, bringing colours and textures come to life. Read more about the Vorsa Frame.

Select the right LEDs

Be sure to always see samples of any LED light to ensure the light is not too cold, is dimmable and has a good CRI (Colour Rendition Index) of 95 or above. This will ensure the best results on the painting. We would advise 2700K colour temperature to ensure the best and true visual impact of the art. Download our new digital brochure for more details on what to look for when selecting LEDs.

Bring sculptures to life

lighting sculptures using backlighting

Being 3D, lighting sculpture depends on what it looks like and may well be best cross-lit by two sources to get the true modelling. If lit in one direction this creates more shadows, which can be dramatic. If bronze, then back light can help to silhouette the sculpture emphasising the outline. Again, the Vorsa Frame can be used to exactly frame the sculpture with light. For smaller sculptural pieces in shelving niches for example, consider using the Minim joinery downlight to show art in its true colours and as a result create a focal point within the room.

light art and sculptures within shelving with the minim joinery light

 Speak to our team today to discuss which method is best to light your artwork, or follow us on Instagram for the latest inspiration.