How to hang and light your artwork

Pooky's rechargeable picture lights

Image credit: The Ten Largest, No. 2, Childhood, Group IV, 1907, Hilma af Klint 
Published by King & McGaw 

To celebrate the launch of our new rechargeable picture lights, we asked the framing experts from King and McGaw and our founder, Rohan Blacker, for their top tips on how to hang and light your favourite pieces of artwork, for the most impressive gallery wall around! 

Read on to find out more…

Image credit: King and McGaw

A fundamental question, what's the best way to hang your art?

We generally recommend using a screw and, when required, a wall plug. It’s very easy to measure out and ensures your artwork is hung securely. Some period properties have picture rails, which are also a great way to hang your art. We have a useful video guide here with a step by step guide of how to hang your art using a screw and wall plug.

A common mistake when hanging artwork is to hang it too high on the wall. We’d recommend aiming to position your piece with the centre of it at eye level and as we mentioned earlier, position away from direct sunlight and any heat sources.

For hanging multiple pieces, the key is very careful measurement as you don’t want your pieces to be misaligned. A long spirit level or a laser level can be very useful for this. 

Image credit: King and McGaw

How do you choose the right frame for your piece of art?

A good quality frame protects your artwork, preserving it for many years to come. To ensure this, our frames are made from raw ash or oak. When selecting the colour and finish, it’s important to consider both the artwork itself and the decor in the room. For a more contemporary look we recommend a black, grey ash or white frame depending on the artwork. A natural oak finish works very well with many paintings from our museums and archives collections. Ultimately it comes down to personal taste! Learn more here.


Image credit: King and McGaw

How do you take the best care of your artwork?

To protect the artwork itself, perhaps the most important thing is to position it away from direct sunlight, this will avoid it fading over time. We’d also recommend avoiding hanging it near a radiator or boiler, as the heat could damage both the frame and the artwork. And be wary of hanging art in the bathroom, as evaporation and condensation can be damaging over time. Learn more here.

So, the artwork is hanging beautifully in its new frame, but how do we light it? We asked our founder, Rohan, for his top tips...


What's the best way to illuminate your artwork?

Art loves to be lit properly, and it's a shame to go the expense of buying a beautiful piece and not then to give it the gift of decent lighting.  There's nothing sadder than a lovely painting that has been well framed hanging without adequate light - it's such a waste - you're three quarters of the way there! There are myriad ways to light your artwork - recessed directed spots, tracked lights, floor or table level directed lights, but the best and most effective is always a dedicated picture light.

Should you choose accent lights or picture lights to brighten up your artwork?

As above, picture lights. Picture lights give dedicated, unobstructed light for that specific picture as well as providing an additional light wash for the room.

How do you choose the right size picture light for your artwork?

The basic rule of thumb is that your picture light should be a little more than half of the width of the picture it's illuminating. If the picture is particularly wide, then ideally, you'd have a light more like three quarters of the width. This can be expensive and difficult to find, so perhaps with the example of a very wide picture you could supplement the picture light with a table mounted task light, like the Pixii light (above) from Pooky - a super flexible, rechargeable light that can be positioned and pointed anywhere.

Why choose rechargeable picture lights to illuminate your artwork?

It's expensive tracking wiring into a wall, and quite often you actually want to hang your picture fractionally to the left or right! Equally if you live in a rented house or flat so simply cannot start changing the wiring of the house. So, a rechargeable picture light changes everything, and allows you to light any picture, anywhere, in any house, at minimal expense. They are ridiculously easy to install, have a good fifteen hours of charge, and are both remote controlled and dimmable. Charging is straightforward.

Of course, if you are doing a full refit and are able to have the foresight to plan exactly where each painting or picture will go, then regular picture lights would be the better option. But at a cost.

Option three is of course to have a mixture.

Whichever way you go, pictures have never been happier - it's now so easy to give them the gift of light...

Don't forget to enter the Pooky x King and McGaw competition now!