How to Light Your Artwork Like a Pro

  1. Move the Plug

The first step in making your artwork look professional is to make sure any nearby outlets are placed efficiently. If there is floor lamp lighting, the plug should be close the lamp or even in the flooring. If your artwork requires an outlet or is lit from overhead, the outlet should be behind the artwork or near the light source.

How to Move  an Outlet

Moving a light switch can be a DIY scenario. Make sure the circuit breaker is switched off. Use a voltage tester to make sure the outlet is off even if you are confident you know which breaker controls the outlet. Remove the wall plate and the plug from the wall, removing the wires via the back of the plug. Mark the area for your new plug height. Cut the hole for the new outlet using a jab saw or multi-tool.

Measure the distance between your old plug and the new plug, as you are going to have to feed wire through the wall. Make sure you add a foot or more of extra wire for handling. Use a remodel wire box, so you don’t have to cut a big hole to mount the box. Secure it in place, and feed the wires into the box. Then, mount the new outlet similarly to how the old one was mounted (or per instructions if it is different).

Attach the new wire to the old, and cover the old plug with a solid wall plate. If you want to be professional, cover it in with drywall and patch accordingly. Then, turn on the breaker, and you have an appropriately-placed outlet.

Note: Don’t use these instructions as a step-by-step plan. These are simply written to give you an idea of the work involved in moving the location of an outlet. It is relatively simple, but if you don’t fully understand how to work with electrical wiring and outlets, don’t do it! Electricity is dangerous, and you can save a lot of time and trouble by simply hiring a licensed electrician.

  1. Select the Right Height

The height at which you place your art and your lighting is crucial to making it look professional. Typically, artwork should be at eye level. For most people, that means the center of the art should be 57 to 60 inches off of the ground. The height of the lighting can vary, but it should shine directly at the artwork to avoid shadowing. Picture lamps are designed to give a good angle of light, but adjustable recessed lighting is an attractive modern alternative. It is recommended in most cases to hire an electrician to install lighting to prevent fire hazards.

  1. Select the Right Bulb

When it comes to bulbs, the answers for most artwork illumination lie in the Color Rendering Index (CRI). This is a scale that compares natural sunlight (with a CRI of 100) to artificial lighting, so you want to choose as high of a CRI as you can find. Choosing an appropriate high-value CRI will give you clear, crisp light that will not alter the colors on the artwork. You can also adjust lighting based on correlated color temperature, or CCT. This alters the warmth of the light from warm to cool lighting colors.

Natural light is almost always the best color of light for artwork, and since actual natural light can harm art with ultraviolet radiation, getting a bulb with a high CRI value is almost always a good thing. However, you must also consider the ambience of the room. In certain situations, such as dining rooms with warm light from chandeliers, the overall feeling of the room may be altered by putting natural, bright light into it. Don’t use CRI recommendations as a rule but rather a recommendation based on typical circumstances. If the art is important, it can be assumed that you want to light it correctly. This would be an incorrect notion if the ambience of the room is more important.

Make Your Artwork Look and Feel Professional

Everyone has their own, unique desires and resources available to hang artwork. In some cases, the dedicated parent may spend the time and money required to frame and light their child’s artwork. In other cases, it requires a painting or a photograph by a notable artist to warrant the expenditures. Understanding the basics about how to light your artwork like a professional can give you the understanding of the potential for your art pieces. They don’t have be hung in unlit portions of the room where they blend into the walls. Instead, they can be illuminated, and the quality of the art will add to the quality of the room design. The biggest things to remember are that plugs should be in the right place, height matters, and lighting quality does make a difference.

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