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 that artists and designers consider when setting up a workspace.
In this tutorial, we’ll go over the basic elements of studio lighting, from the types of bulbs you should consider to the types of lighting, fixtures, intensity, and light temperature. No matter the medium, these are some great basics that’ll help you create a truly creative, inspiring space to up your creative game in.
How Color, Temperature, and Brightness Influence Your Art Studio Lighting
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.
First, many artists follow the Color Rendering Index (CRI), which measures and indicates a light’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 best at capturing this.
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 bulb yellow or orange 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 Your Best Art Studio Lighting
Audit Your Current Lighting
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 art studio lighting set-up.
If your space already has 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 qualify as the best art studio lighting.
To audit your existing art studio lighting, follow these steps:
- Layout some of your work (e.g. photos, prints, paintings, sculptures, etc.)
- Turn on all of the lights.
- Note where the light hits various surfaces.
- Note any shadows cast by the light hitting objects that get in the way (e.g. tables, large furniture, etc.)
- Note any areas where light doesn’t hit. Or 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?
- 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 to light or too dark, you’ll need to invest in some custom lighting.
Art Studio Lighting Fixtures to Consider
Because of how versatile they are, plug-in lights are great candidates for the best art studio lighting out there. And to get the most luminosity and accuracy out of your light bulbs, we recommend keeping your light bulbs exposed. 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, you may need to hang and swag your lighting into place.
For art studio lighting, you’ll have to think in more utilitarian versus aesthetic terms, but that doesn’t mean your lighting set up has to look boring by any means. We feature color cords in over 75 different colors, along with great light bulb cages and light fixture accessories that will help you create a space you love to make awesome projects in.
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Any questions about what makes the best art studio lighting? 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 social. We’re excited to see what you create.