You’ve invested in an art collection you enjoy, now make sure you’re displaying it to its best.
Not lighting your paintings correctly does a disservice to the work — dulling colors, hiding highlights, and keeping viewers from appreciating the details that attracted you to the piece in the first place.
At the California galleries of Thomas Kinkade Carmel, Monterey, and Placerville, we’ve put together 5 art lighting tips to help you display your collection.
- Avoid Direct Sunlight
- Choose The Right Lights
- Choose The Right Level Of Brightness
- Choose The Right Lighting Angle
- Consult A Gallery Professional
1. Avoid Direct Sunlight
Sunshine can be a beautiful, natural way to brighten a room, but exposing your art collection to direct sunlight also exposes it to damaging UV rays. Fading, peeling, cracking — these are all unfortunate and sometimes irreversible damages that can affect the longevity and value of your favorite pieces.
2. Choose The Right Lights
So, now that you know artificial sources work best for art lighting, which types of bulbs should you go for?
- Fluorescent bulbs are extremely white and bright in a way that can wash out art.
- Incandescent bulbs are warm and soft, but also often not powerful enough to illuminate artwork effectively on their own.
- Halogens have a cooler cast but can give off a lot of heat.
- LED bulbs are usually your best bet. They are cool, long-lasting, and available in a variety of cool and warm options to accent your specific collection best.
Once you choose your bulbs, the fixtures are up to you. Choose an option that accents your home decor or that is easy to position in ways that accent your favorite features of each piece.
- Ceiling-Mounted Lamps
- Track Lighting
- Picture Lights
3. Choose The Right Level Of Brightness
Lights that are too bright will hide details just as easily as inadequate lighting. A good rule of thumb is to choose a brightness three times brighter than the room’s ambient lighting.
4. Choose The Right Lighting Angle
Once your bulbs and fixtures are in place, you’ll want to angle lights in a way that enhances painting and sculpture. Incorrect angles can distort details, hide texture, or cause shadows — which you may or may not want.
To avoid glare in glossy finishes and works displayed under glass, you can use a 30-degree angle. Increase the angle to avoid casting shadows and decrease the angle to highlight texture.
- Oil Paintings — To reduce glare, avoid spotlights or narrow beams. Use a variety of softer light sources to create the intensity you want.
- Acrylic Paintings — Choose a true to color bulb — rated as close to 100 CRI as possible.
- Lithograph, Serigraph & Watercolor Paintings — Try to avoid UV damage and glare on glass if the painting is framed.
- Art Print & Photography — Try to avoid glare on glass and glossy finishes.
- Sculpture — Illuminate from multiple angles, preferably not from below.
5. Consult A Gallery Professional
Choosing home gallery lights and positioning them just right can be challenging. Why not consider consulting with a professional that does this all this time? An art gallery lighting professional can give you valuable tips and tricks and help you troubleshoot common issues.
Talk To An Art Consultant In California
We hope these tips will help you display your artwork in a way that you enjoy. If you’re shopping for new fine art, we invite you to stop by a California Thomas Kinkade gallery in Carmel, Monterey, or Placerville today. Our knowledgeable Art Consultants can help you shop for paintings from our Limited Edition collections and advice you on how to display and light each masterpiece.