Does Sunlight Fade Wall Art?

Great natural light can be one of the biggest selling points in a home: it creates a cheerful ambience like few other things can. When it comes to hanging artwork, however, living in a home that’s flooded with light can actually pose a challenge, and may leave you wondering if all that sunlight will end up ruining your art collection. So does sunlight really fade wall art?

In a word, yes … but it all depends on the type of art in question and the amount of sunlight it’s exposed to.

sunlight fade wall art
Image via ILevel

The Type of Artwork
UV rays can be extremely harmful to certain types of art, especially works on paper, watercolors, and photography. Left in direct sunlight for even a few hours a day, pieces in these media will begin to fade within a matter of months.

More resilient types of art that can withstand sunlight include oil-on-canvas and acrylic works, so long as there are no areas of blank canvas exposed to the sun.

The Amount of Sun
While indirect sunlight won’t warp sensitive works like photography and watercolors as quickly as daily exposure to the noon sun will, even indirect sunlight still cause fading over time. These best bet is to save fragile pieces for shaded spots.

The Type of Frame
For complete protection, we recommend that any work (even oil on canvas) that will be exposed to any amount of sunlight should be hung in a special archival-quality, UV-protected frame in order to minimize fading. While we still recommend works on paper and photography should be isolated from the sun whenever possible, a UV-glazed frame is the next-best insurance policy if complete shade isn’t an option.

Need help deciding where and how your pictures should be hung? Get in touch with ILevel to schedule a consultation.