Your Complete Guide to Art Studio Lighting

Your Complete Guide to Art Studio Lighting

Meggan Wynja

Drawing table with art supplies on it, wall collage, and a custom plug-in designer light fixture above

Best Lighting For Art Studios & More

Whether you’re renting a studio or repurposing a room at home, the most important aspect of designing an art studio is creating a space that cultivates creativity. This means designing a studio that helps you focus for hours on end. To do this, art studio lighting is often the most important consideration for artists and designers when setting up a workspace.

In this lighting guide, we’ll go over the basic elements of the best lighting for art studios, from the types of bulbs you should consider to the types of lighting, fixtures, intensity, and light temperature. We’ll also explore some fun choices that can help enhance your mood and make you feel more at home in your space.

No matter the medium you work with, these are some great ideas that’ll help you create a truly creative, inspiring space to up your creative game in!

How Color, Temperature, & Brightness Influence Your Art Studio Lighting

Two images side by side - Left side with paint color sample booklet and art supplies with Color Cord exposed since. Right side with 3-Arm Color Cord fixture with blue cord and hardware on fabric samples

Before we get into the specific types of art studio lighting you should invest in, let’s go over some basic aspects of light itself you’ll need to consider.

Light Color

First, many artists follow the Color Rendering Index (CRI), which measures and indicates a bulb’s ability to light color accurately, usually on a flat surface such as a canvas or print. The CRI is a 1-100 scale, with 100 being the best possible light for displaying natural hues at their most vibrant. Generally speaking, light bulbs with a CRI of 80 to 100 are the optimal choice for capturing this.

Light Temperature

Next, consider color temperature. Correlated Color Temperature (CCT), measured in Kelvin, refers to the visual “temperature” a lightbulb emits. For instance, a light bulb that emits a yellow or orange light is considered warm while one that emits pure white or blue light is considered cold.

Brightness, or “Luminosity”

Last, think about luminosity. As the name implies, luminosity uses “Lumens” to measure the level of brightness a lightbulb emits. Today, it’s pretty easy to buy lightbulbs measured in lumens. These can range anywhere between 450 for lower wattage, dimmer bulbs to bright 1600 Lumen bulbs.

Tips For Creating Optimal Art Studio Lighting

Artist desk with drafting and studio supplies and bulletin board with architectural drawings with Color Cord plug-in light fixture wrapped around DIY hook

Assess Your Current Art Studio Lights

If you’re not working in a windowless room, your studio likely gets at least some natural light during the day. Even if it’s not enough to be productive or useful, you should still factor that into your studio lighting set-up.

If your space already has some art studio lighting, take stock of what’s there. The wiring and existing lighting may save you time and money, especially if you’re renting a dedicated studio space in a commercial building.

However, if you’re setting up a creative space at home, keep in mind that most overhead residential lighting likely won’t be bright enough to create the best lighting for your art studio.

To assess your existing art studio lighting, follow these steps:

  1. Lay out some of your work (e.g. photos, prints, paintings, sculptures, etc.).
  2. Turn on all of the lights.
  3. Note where the light hits various surfaces.
  4. Note any shadows cast by the light hitting objects that get in the way (e.g. tables, large furniture, etc.).
  5. Note any areas where light doesn’t hit. If these areas are illuminated by existing lighting, is the lighting sufficient for doing accurate work? Are these areas you’ll need to be working in?
  6. Gauge how accurate the colors in your work are based on the existing lighting. If it’s fairly accurate, you might only need to add one or two fixtures to compensate for losses of natural light if you work after sunset. If it’s pretty inaccurate or colors appear too light or too dark, some extra wall sconces or pendant lights may do the trick.

Art Studio Lighting Fixtures to Consider

Because of how versatile they are, plug-in hanging lights are great candidates to create the best lighting for your art studio out there. And to get the most luminosity and accuracy out of your light bulbs, we recommend keeping your light bulbs exposed – no shades or cages. This will help light distribute more evenly throughout your studio. Also, keep in mind that if you have a particularly expansive space to work with or want to make your lighting even more visually striking, you may want to hang and swag your lighting into place.

If you want to incorporate more texture or add more of a statement lighting piece to mix whimsically with your task lighting at your drawing or computer desk, you could choose natural linen shades or natural shades that lend themselves well to a creative look and feel in a home or workspace.

Color Cord natural linen drum zip shade above a creative office space

How to Swag a Light Fixture

We have a variety of swag hooks, including pinch and T-swag, that can help you achieve the best lighting for your art studio. You can hang these to hold your cords out of the way along the wall, as well as inserting them in the perfect spot in the ceiling so your new pendant light hangs exactly where you need it to above your workspace. Follow our swag hook tutorial to learn how you can ensure creative success with every type of swag hook!

Making Aesthetic Choices

For art studio lighting, consider styles that are as utilitarian as they are pleasing to look at. Enhance your decor and accents, for example, with one of over 75 cord colors in our collection, as well as customizable finish options in bold hues. 

There are also many artistic interior design styles that might make you feel more at home in your space. Whether you prefer the light, bright decor of the coastal grandma trend or the eclectic and chic vibes of the rustic trend, you can make it happen with careful attention to your cord and fixture colors and textures. You might even consider spicing up existing trends with unique DIY fixtures that don’t require too much investment, like a clay pot  pendant light in blue or terracotta pink. Our lighting guides show you how to create art studio lighting that won’t interfere with how the light beams down onto your space.

How To Choose Cord Colors

If you’re looking for more subtle ways to update the room, explore color cord options that fit in with the existing decor to enhance your art studio lighting in more than just a functional way.

However, if you’re starting from scratch, you have a ton of opportunity to truly build the best lighting for your art studio from the ground up — paying close attention to how each piece you choose looks in the space.

For that coastal feel mentioned above, play with a blend of breezy blues and whites mixed with natural materials. If you love mid-century modern style with a contemporary vibe, choose neutral hues like browns and beiges and similar warm tones. And vintage retro lovers may want to go bold and bright with reds, purples, or greens that match other pops of color in your space.

How To Choose Light Fixture Colors

Our recommendation for fixture colors is similar to cord colors. Choose what fits in well with your space and what makes you happy when you look at it! However, fixtures make a slightly bolder statement than color cords because they’re bigger and more obvious in your space. 

When updating your art studio lighting, consider starting with our boutique collection’s rich but subdued light fixture colors to play earthy tones that mimic a painter’s earth palette: colors like linen, slate, latte, ochre, pine, and rust. The options in this collection will ensure you find a fixture that delivers whatever you need, as it includes adjustable wall sconce fixtures and pendant lights — all with single, double, and triple arm varieties.

Shop Color Cord Company

At Color Cord Company, we help professional decorators, retailers, and creative homeowners everywhere illuminate spaces uniquely. Whether it’s to change up your home office to allow for more creative projects or building art studio lighting from the ground up, we’re here to help.

We have everything you need to get your next project started, from the best cloth-covered cord to easy-to-install light fixtures, lamp parts, and other lighting supplies.

Any questions about what makes the best lighting for an art studio? Check out the rest of our tutorials or contact us to learn more. Want to show off how you’ve lit up your creative space with our designs? Tag us on socials. We’re excited to see what you create!

Back to blog