Picture Lighting Tips from NYC Professional Art Installer

As NYC’s top professional art installers, we’re often asked for picture lighting tips. When thinking about lighting, we like to first understand the role that artwork plays in a room. Is the artwork the star? Is it a supporting cast member? In other words, do you want to directly light a piece, or have it live in a well-lit room? Answers to questions like these will help determine the lighting solution you choose.

There are four ways to light artwork in any room: frame or wall mounted individual picture lights, track lighting, ambient light, and recessed ceiling lights.

Two general picture lighting tips before we dive in: in all of your lighting solutions, use LED bulbs which emit no UV rays and less heat, and avoid direct and prolonged exposure to natural light as it can cause damage to artworks.

Frame or Wall Mounted Individual Lights

While there are several pieces of art on this wall, the woman in red is clearly the star of this beautiful room. There are three considerations for choosing a frame or wall mounted picture light: size, color, and style. As for size, the standard rule of thumb is to choose a picture light that is half the size of the image you are lighting. However, our lady in red is a perfect example where rules of thumb are made to be broken. This light covers almost the entire piece, clearly making the artwork the focal point of the room. As for style and color, think about complementing both the room and the artwork. This piece has a contemporary feel, and a modern lighting solution is a perfect partner to it.

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The piece below is perfectly lit to create ambience in this home bar. This single striking piece creates an elegant, clubby mood in this room that is distinct from the rest of the house.

















Track Lighting

Track lighting has come along way since its days above the office cubicle. These lights illuminate multiple works at once, and allow you to customize the direction of the light. The minimalist track below is a perfect accompaniment to this grid arrangement of photography.











Ambient Lighting

Lamps and natural light come to mind when we think of ambient lighting in a room. Below is an ingenious example of lighting a gallery wall with ambient light. Two clever light fixtures are integral pieces of this eclectic gallery wall.

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Recessed Lighting

The pieces in this stairway are lit by individual picture lights and by a beam of recessed lighting. We often think of recessed lighting as spotlights installed in the ceiling. Recessed lights have the same benefits as track lighting, but they are more difficult to install and cannot easily be moved. Here, Scott is installing specialty picture lights for these pieces.

Scott providing picture lighting tips








For all of your art installation needs, including picture light installation, give us a call at 212.477.4319 and email