Five Tips for Lighting Art

The right lighting around your favourite artcan make it the star of your room. The considerations include the amount of natural light as well as artificial lighting options like track, accent to recessed lighting.

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When putting the finishing touches on a room, “there’s nothing better than a

beautifully lit piece of art,” says Richard Mishaan, an AD100 designer known for incorporating arresting artworks into his projects. “Beautiful art enlivens everything in a home,” he notes. And, of course, good lighting enhances that effect.
But there is no one-size-fits-all approach when lighting art—and there are several potential pitfalls. “The big question is whether you want to directly illuminate the art or just have a piece live in a nicely lit room,” says lighting designer Doug Russell of Lighting Workshop. Below, Mishaan and Russell share their expert tips about lighting options.

Ceiling-mounted accent lights
“Pin spotlights that direct light onto individual artworks is a great way of illuminating them,” says Mishaan. These ceiling fixtures can be recessed or surface-mounted, and they allow the direction of light to be adjusted. They can also be specified with a range of light-beam spreads, so “you can ensure that the light covers most of the artwork,” not just a small part of it, he says.

Cecily Brown
Overhead recessed spots illuminate a painting by Cecily Brown at the Miami Beach home of TV producer Douglas S. Cramer and artist Hubert Bush. / Photo: Bjorn Wallander

As a rule of thumb, adds Russell, ceiling-mounted lights should be placed so that the light beam hits the center of the artwork when the fixture is adjusted to a 30-degree angle. “If you light a piece of art at ten degrees, which means you’re really close to the wall and pointing almost straight …


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