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A Brilliant Lighting Idea

A Brilliant Lighting Idea

For most of us, there is often a least one picture that hangs on a wall that means more to us than all the rest. Maybe it's a picture you created for yourself, something to found in a small store on your honeymoon, or a family favorite. You may be lucky and have more than one. Whether it is one or more, while we all cherish the picture and the memories it evokes, few of us do an excellent job to light it well.


If next time you look at your favorite picture, you wonder why it's in the dark or at least not as vibrant as you remember it; here are a few ways to make it the center of attention again with the help of a residential lighting designer.


Step 1: Get the right light on it.


A good article in Architectural Digest offers 8 Tips for Lighting Art: How to Light Artwork in Your Home. Some of the tips seem to fall slighty outside the scope of the article but its worth considering at least four different approaches.


  1. Ceiling-mounted accent lights - Those lighting cans you put in your ceiling can do more than light the floor. Many ceiling lights are designed to angle the light down and focus it on a specific wall area. You should aim the light at the center of the artwork and beware if the can is too close to the painting, it will create shadows.


  1. Track lights- Architectural Digest suggests that if you are the type of person who may move your artwork often, you might want to consider using track lighting. While some people think they don't look attractive, their ability to be pointed in different directions gives you lots of flexibility.


  1. Wall washers - This may be the most flexible approach, although a little indiscriminate. A modern 'wall washer' can come in many different types and designs. If you are building a new home or renovating one, you have options around recessed, surface-mounted, and track-mounted fixtures that can be installed on walls, ceilings, and floors.


  1. Specialist art lights - A quick search on for picture lights will provide you with over 250 different options. Big or small, wide and narrow, these lights are installed over or next to the picture and light that one area. You can also go to a specialist museum provider who can offer you comprehensive, high-value solutions.


Step 2: Use the right bulbs


We have talked before in these blogs about the fact that not all LED lights are the same. We have discussed in other blogs about how some LEDs dim to warm and exude more comfortable and relaxing light. Some can even make your artwork pop.


Companies like Ketra and USAi have technology that is designed to bring artwork to life. A good example is an article on Ketra’s website that talked about how their vibrancy technology elevates art. Over at USAi there is great content about how to preserve your valued art by managing what light you allow to illuminate it.


There are many other options on the market but the price you pay for them is a good indication of how much care the provider is taking. Some of the more sophisticated LEDs can cover well over a $100 but they last a long time and do more than just throw out light.


Step 3: Use the right glass


Often artwork is covered in glass or acrylics and what those materials are made of can make all the difference. One of techniques you will find in museums and luxury homes is the use of anti-reflective glass. While this can add to the cost – there is no point having that lovely piece of artwork, lighting it well and then having hideous reflections. You can learn more about anti-reflective glass on YouTube and other places you find information. Here is just one example of a video that goes into more details about the topic.


The right mix


How you approach lighting your artwork will vary depending on whether you are building a new home or adding lights into an existing home. Clearly this is easier done before the walls and ceiling are up, but the expert residential lighting designers at BRAVAS we have experience with both approaches. While getting the right lights on your art work may feel like an extra or unnecessary step, once you have done it, it will help you appreciate what you have even more. If fact, its almost like looking at those pictures for the first time, all over again.

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