Envision Fine Art in Your Home or Office
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!
Subject Matter: 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.
Color Scheme: 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.
Print Medium: Paper, Metal or Acrylic?
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: Gallery Ultra Lumachrome TruLife® Acrylic Prints, Gallery Ultra+ Lumachrome TruLife® Acrylic Framed Prints and Museum Standard Lumachrome Acrylic Prints. These three mediums come with frames attached, making it easy to hang right out of the box. We also offer a Fujiflex Crystal Archive Paper Print, which is "Ready to Frame" for those that want to manage the framing themselves.
Print Size: 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!
Gallery Art: 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.
Planning Artwork Around 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.
Hanging Wall Art: Keep it 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.
Hanging Artwork 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.
Lighting Artwork: Avoid Direct Sunlight
When it comes to lighting, 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 lighting tips.
Lighting Fine Art Prints: Fixture Types
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 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.
- 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 could 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.
- Picture Lights come in various sizes as well as power sources (battery, plug-in and hardwired) and 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 not as evenly spread as the other two fixture options.
Lighting: All About Bulbs
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.
LEDs for the Win!
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.
Bulb Color Temperature
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.