Lighting for Posters

Posters are a great, affordable way to decorate the home, whether they’re stuck to a wall with drawing pins or carefully presented in a complementary frame. And lighting can play a vital role in showing them off to their best advantage.

Lighting a poster can be as simple as hanging it up near a window or letting ambient indoor light take care of it. But dedicated lighting for art can make a huge difference to its impact as well as the ambiance in your home. Where do you start with that?

Colour Temperature

Unlike incandescent or halogen lighting, today’s LED lamps and light fittings come in a wide range of colour temperatures. And that’s handy for lighting posters and other artworks because it means you can hand-pick a colour to accentuate the colours in your picture.

Let’s think of an example. How would you light Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ with its swirling cobalt blue sky, yellow stars and yellow moon? Here are some choices:

  • A cool white light of between 4500K and 6500K emphasises the blueness of Van Gogh’s sky at the slight expense of less warmth in the moon and stars.
  • A neutral white is often perceived as having a colour temperature of 3500K to 4000K in artificial lighting, which might produce a more balanced result in Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’.
  • A warm white light of 2700K emphasises the Indian yellow in Van Gogh’s moon, to the minor detriment of the blue sky.

Since Van Gogh often blended deep blues with bright yellows, his paintings are less straightforward to light than some others.

Light Quality & CRI Scores

One benefit that old lighting technology had over new one was its inherent high quality. For instance, halogen lighting is good at displaying every colour in the visible spectrum, albeit with a warm bias. LED and fluorescent lighting are less predictable.

The CRI rating in modern lighting products is a sign of their quality. For lighting your favourite posters and pictures, a minimum CRI score of 90 is a nice thing to have. That’s if you want to bring out as much colour as possible.

Daylight Quality

The ultimate light source of quality light is daylight. That might be more than sufficient for lighting your posters. It’s exciting, however, to create mood in the home with pockets of light and express yourself at the same time with favourite posters and artworks. Purpose-made picture lights or GU10 spotlights will do the trick!