Lighting Artwork: A How-To Guide

It’s impossible to show off the full effect of a piece of artwork without proper lighting. If a framed painting or photograph is ensconced in shadows, it will appear dull and flat. Why buy an expensive piece of artwork without displaying it in the best light?

Whether you’re a designer, contractor, or homeowner, adding picture lights to emphasize the details and color in wall art will enhance the ambiance of any room.

4 inch low voltage trim


MR16 Flexible Wall Light

There are several different options for picture lights. The most seamless approach is to add a recessed light to your ceiling that shines on the picture. Our four-inch low voltage trim is ideal for this purpose: its adjustable elbow can be positioned at any angle.

Wall mounted picture lights are also a good option. While the recessed lights require an electrician, a drywall expert, and a painter, most of the wall mounted options can be installed by anyone. Mounting hardware is included, and the lights simply plug in to the nearest electrical outlet.

We do have one mounted picture light that is hardwired: the MR16 halogen flexible wall light. Installation requires access to the “back” of the wall for the MR16, but the finished effect will be well worth it. The curved arms of this model can provide a beautiful accent to artwork.

As far as light source, we typically recommend halogen for lighting artwork. Its crisp, white light has excellent color rendition and it has great beam control, allowing the light to be carefully focused. Our halogen picture lights are also dimmable, so you can control the light levels and reduce your energy costs.

Make sure your paintings or photographs don’t blend into the wall! Browse our selection of picture lights and comment below if you have any questions.

Emily Widle

Emily graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in journalism. She enjoys scouring the news to report on the latest in the lighting industry as well as bringing valuable remodeling tips and exemplar home projects to light.