Tips For Lighting Artwork

track-1A good piece of art can bring life and interest to a room. Shedding light on this piece of art can get a little tricky. The temperature of the bulb or the proximity of the fixture can damage the artwork or alter the look of the colors. Whether you want to use in-frame lighting, track lighting on the ceiling, or wall sconces to accent the area around the art, keep some of the following tips in mind.

Oil paintings can be especially difficult to light up because of the way the oil reflects direct lighting. Spectral highlights are created when intense light is directed towards the painting. Using a fully broad based light fixture is best for illuminating oil paintings.


If your painting is larger in scale, in-frame lighting may be a good option. There are many different options for in-frame lighting, some just light up the top of the frame, or the sides, and others light up all the way around it. This type of artwork lighting is a good option for encased paintings that have a glass barrier. It minimizes the glare caused by lights shining on the glass.


Track lighting is the most common type of lighting used in galleries across the nation for illuminating artwork. Track lighting is nice because it typically is adjustable and you can switch the angle the light is pointed to create different moods. Track lighting fixtures are great for photos and other pieces of art. The adjustable units allow you to illuminate one or more pieces of art at a time.

Overhead Light Fixtures

Overhead Light Fixtures are lights that are very common and are directly above the painting or photo on the ceiling. These fixtures can be recessed or a mounted fixture suspended or flush mounted to the ceiling. This type of artwork lighting is best used on frames that don’t have a glass covering because they can cause a glare. Some of these types of fixtures are adjustable and the bulbs can be tilted to angle correctly towards the art.

sconce1If you need help finding the right light fixture for your next art piece in your home, give Harold’s Lighting a call today or stop on by our stores in Bellevue and Seattle. We have tons of artwork light fixtures to choose from and can help you find the right fixture for your home or gallery.

New Light Fixtures – Not Just For Function

We talk a lot about how each type of light fixture can add more light here and there, but it’s important to remember how much the right fixture can add to the decor of a room.  A well matched light fixture in a room with complimenting decor can really round out the look and complete a room.

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 3.19.22 PMInterior designers all over the country will tell you that starting with the right light fixture is very important to set the mood of a room.  Many designers will start with a central fixture and build off of it, or they’ll have a pair or multiple matching fixtures to place throughout the room (example – sconces). Using the colors from the materials of the fixture and even the color and strength of the light emitted from the fixture to base the rest of the decor after can create a pleasing and welcoming atmosphere.

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 3.21.56 PMIf you’ve already picked out the rooms decor, don’t worry, there are many different styles, sizes, and options to choose from when looking for a new fixture.  Luckily, many fixtures can be customized with different finishes, fabrics and hardware to flow seamlessly with your existing decor.

You’ll find a light fixture to work for every room at Harold’s Lighting in Bellevue and Seattle. If we don’t have it in store, we can order it in or even make something custom to match your room’s style.

Vintage Fresh Looks

Another big trend in lighting this year is “Vintage Fresh”.  This technique takes vintage light fixture silhouettes and puts a fresh twist on them. Vintage inspired rooms are extremely popular with interior designers, and can look very updated surprisingly.  A vintage fresh light fixture can work with modern, traditional, contemporary or any other style room.

Mid-Century Modern light fixtures are extremely popular this year. They pull inspiration from styles from around 1933 – 1965 and bring them up to speed with modern lighting techniques and styles.  Many fixtures of this style are inspired by famous architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and furniture designers Charles and Ray Eames.

Industrial Light fixtures are again, also very popular. America’s factories and farms used to be lit up with hardworking, durable and heavy duty industrial light fixtures. Their sockets were bare and the turnkey switches were purely functional instead of fashionable. Now, this blue-collar inspired look can be seen in any sized room, no matter how fancy.

Harold’s Lighting in Bellevue and Seattle has many different Vintage light fixture styles to choose from in our showroom, or you can bring in an real vintage fixture to be restored. We can build something custom for your room or space and help you bring “Vintage Fresh” to your home.