How to Select, Hang & Light Fine Art Photography

Artwork is a reflection of a homeowner’s personality and style which is instrumental in making a house feel like a home. One of the best things about fine art is that it’s an investment you can take with you as you move and has the ability to appreciate in value over time. Whether you are in search of wall art for your home, office or private gallery, you’ll first want to answer these questions. What subject matter interests me most? What medium should I choose? What size will work best in my space? How do I properly hang and light the finished piece? Keep reading to learn more!

Rim to Rim, Grand Canyon, Arizona
"Rim to Rim", Grand Canyon, Arizona. Limited Edition.
Palm Trees and Daydreams Panoramic, Lanikai Beach, Hawaii.
"Palm Trees and Daydreams" Panoramic, Lanikai Beach, Hawaii. Limited Edition.

Tips for Selecting Fine Art for Your Home or Office:

Does it Make You Happy?

Are you interested in buying a fine art print, but don’t know where to start? Think about what you like and what makes you smile! If you see a print and it doesn’t make you feel happy or spark joy then keep looking for one that does. Also, ask yourself, am I looking for a print of a specific place that brings back fond memories…like your very first trip to Italy? Or am I in search of a piece that contains specific elements like water or mountains? Whatever your preference may be, take note as you browse through our limited edition image galleries.

To Blend In or Stand Out?

Does the color of the print need to match the colors in your room? While matching colors are usually a safe bet, it doesn’t mean you should stay away from contrasting colors. Ask yourself, do you want this fine art print to blend in with the décor of the room or do you want it to stand apart on its own as the pièce de résistance? If you aren’t sure which way to go, a monochrome black and white print is always a classic choice.

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Moondust, New Mexico Desert. Limited Edition.
"Moondust", New Mexico Desert. Limited Edition.

Tips for Selecting the Best Print Medium:

Fine Art Acrylic, Metal or Paper?

With infinite options to choose from it can be difficult knowing what medium is best for your fine art print. The good news is we have done the heavy lifting for you, narrowing it down to three distinctly beautiful gallery quality offerings that are sure to make a lasting impact in your space. To make the process as smooth as possible from buying to displaying, we offer three incredible "Ready to Hang" options: TruLife® Acrylic Prints, TruLife® Acrylic Framed Prints and Chromaluxe® Metal Prints. These three mediums come with frames attached, making it easy to hang right out of the box.

Framed or Frameless?

When purchasing a fine art Acrylic print, you have the option of adding an external frame or keeping the look frameless with an inset rear mounted frame. While adding an external frame can really bring a print to the next level in presentation, the final decision comes down to personal preference and the style that works best with your unique space.

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A 60 inch Gallery Ultra+ Lumachrome TruLife® Acrylic Framed Print
A 60" Gallery Ultra+ Lumachrome TruLife® Acrylic Framed Print

Tips for Determining Ideal Print Size for Your Space:

Bigger is Better

When it comes to selecting artwork for your wall, bigger IS better. Large statement pieces such as oversized gallery wall art create a focal point and transform a room, while small pieces often lack impact and look like an afterthought. That said, you will need to answer these questions to understand the appropriate print size for your space. Where do you plan to hang the artwork? Will it hang on an empty wall or over a piece of furniture? What are the dimensions of the wall or the furniture it will hang above? If you know the answers to these questions, the rest is easy!

Filling an Empty Wall

The general rule when hanging art on an empty wall, is to choose a piece that will cover between 4/7 and 3/4 of your wall. For example, a blank wall that is 120 inches wide (10 feet) requires a piece of finished art that is between 68-90 inches wide. Likewise, a blank wall that is 96 inches wide (8 feet) requires a piece of finished art that is between 55-72 inches wide. Are you interested in hanging several prints together? No problem! You can still use these width guidelines and think of the set as a single unit. Just make sure you space each piece no more than 2-4 inches apart so it looks like it’s meant to be a set.

Hanging Above Furniture

Many people purchasing artwork are planning to hang it over some type of furniture such as a sofa, headboard or table. In these cases, you will want to select a print size that is between 2/3 to 3/4 the width of the furniture. For example, a Sofa that is 84 inches wide looks best with a piece of finished art that is between 56-63 inches wide. Likewise, a Queen Headboard that is 65 inches wide looks best with a piece of finished art that is between 43-49 inches wide. Don’t have enough vertical space above your furniture? Consider a panoramic print that is far wider than it is tall. Lastly, if you plan to hang artwork over a fireplace make sure to select a piece with a width as least as wide as fireplace opening, but smaller than the mantle.

Determine Ideal Size With Our Wall Art Size Calculator

Print Size Comparison
A 72" wide print is the perfect size for a 96" wide sofa.

Tips for Hanging Fine Art on Your Wall:

Avoid Direct Sunlight

When it comes to hanging artwork, the number one thing you’ll want to avoid is hanging your artwork on a wall with direct sunlight or directly opposite a window. Even with advanced technology, such as the 99% UV blocking, anti-reflective TruLife® Acrylic, there is no fine art print medium on the market today fully immune to the damaging effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays or glare. If you want your fine art to last a lifetime and look its best, then be sure to follow these hanging tips.

Keep Artwork Eye Level

One of the biggest mistakes people make when decorating a home or office is hanging artwork too high. Generally, the center of a piece should hang at eye level, but this can vary given other décor in your room. Museums and Galleries often hang artwork centered at 57 inches; however when decorating a home the preference is to hang artwork closer to the eye level of the adults living there. With the average height of women being 64 inches, and men being 70 inches, true eye level usually falls between 60 to 66 inches from the floor.

Use Proper Spacing Above Furniture

Another thing to consider when determining how high a piece should hang, is whether it is hanging on a blank wall or above a piece of furniture. If you plan to hang artwork above a sofa, dresser, or headboard, the bottom of the piece should hang 6 to 12 inches from the top of the furniture. When hanging artwork above a fireplace, ensure the bottom of the piece hangs 3 to 6 inches above the mantle.

Lush, Gorton Creek, Oregon. Limited Edition.
"Lush", Gorton Creek, Oregon. Limited Edition.

Tips for Lighting Fine Art in Your Home or Office:

Select The Right Light Fixture Type

Properly lighting a fine art print can make all the difference in the world and turn a beautiful piece of art into an extraordinary showpiece. No matter which fixture type you choose, the general rule to ensure the best lighting without shadow or glare is to shine the light down towards the center of the print at a 30 degree angle.

Track Lights

Track lights are our #1 choice for lighting fine art due to their versatility as the angle and direction of the bulbs can be easily changed at any time. With track lights, you have the ability to shine multiple bulbs on a print, allowing the entire print to be fully and evenly illuminated. Given the contemporary look of track lighting, it tends to go well with frameless acrylic and metal prints.

  • PROs: Versatility in Changing Angle and Direction of Bulbs, Ability to Shine at 30 Degree Angle, Requires Only One Fixture for Larger Artwork
  • CONs: Contemporary Look Not for Everyone, Fixture Is Visible on Ceiling, Professional Installation Required
  • Angled Recessed Lights

    Angled Recessed Lights are our #2 choice for lighting fine art as this type of light looks great with all print styles, but typically has a limited range of angle and movement once installed. If you intend on keeping the same piece of art in the same place, then this would be a great choice. However, if you want the flexibility to re-arrange your art at a later date, then track lights may be a better option.

  • PROs: Fixture Blends in with Ceiling, Ability to Shine at 30 Degree Angle, Looks Great with All Styles of Homes
  • CONs: Allows for Only Slight Adjustments to Beam Angle After Install, May Require Two or More Fixtures for Larger Artwork, Professional Installation Required
  • Picture Lights

    Available in various sizes as well as power sources (battery, plug-in and hardwired), picture lights hang directly over a fine art print. This type of light is often seen in museums hanging over traditionally framed prints. This is our #3 choice for lighting fine art as the look of picture lights tends to be more obtrusive and the beam cast on the print is usually not at a 30 degree angle or as evenly spread as the other two fixture options.

  • PROs: Can Be Less Expensive, Professional Installation Not Required (Battery or Plug-In Style)
  • CONs: Most Visually Obtrusive Fixture, Not Able to Shine at a 30 degree Angle, Traditional Look Not for Everyone, Professional Installation Required (Hardwired)
  • Determine Light Placement With Our Wall Art Lighting Calculator

    A 72 inch Gallery Ultra TruLife® Acrylic Print of Garden of Eden lit from above with angled recessed lights.
    A 72" Gallery Ultra TruLife® Acrylic Print of "Garden of Eden" lit from above with angled recessed lights.

    Use LED Bulbs To Light Artwork

    In this guide, you’ve learned that sun’s UV rays wreak havoc on fine art, but did you know that certain types of light bulbs have damaging affects as well? Fluorescent lights for example should NEVER be used on fine art. Not only does the light distort the color of the art, it emits a high level of ultraviolet light which leads to permanent fading. Halogen and Incandescent bulbs cause damage in a different way; by emitting enough heat to “bake” the art over time leading to cracking and fading. So, which type of light bulb is safe for fine art? When it comes to lighting fine art, LED lights are the clear winner as they do not give off damaging heat, do not emit ultraviolet rays, have a long lifespan and are energy efficient. The key to finding the perfect LED is to choose one that has a Color Rendition Index (CRI) of 90 or greater. The higher the CRI the more accurate the color will be in comparison to natural light.

    Choose Color Temperature between 3000K-4000K

    Lastly, you will want to select an LED bulb with a Kelvin color temperature between 3000K to 4000K. This color temperature range will allow you to light your artwork without looking too warm (yellow) or too cool (blue). For homes already lit in warm white, we recommend a color temperature of 3000K to 3500K for your fine art prints. For homes already illuminated in cool-white, we recommend a color temperature of 4000K to light your artwork.

    Mountain Majesty, Ridgway, Colorado. Limited Edition.
    "Mountain Majesty", Ridgway, Colorado. Limited Edition.

    Discover The Max Foster Fine Art Gallery Collection

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