Lighting is the secret behind great artwork. Especially, if you are painting indoors, your work can suffer under inappropriate lighting.
So, you need to be pretty serious about how you light up your studio or workspace.
For normal activities, CRI, color temperature, brightness, etc. don’t have a massive impact. However, for painting, you need to be sure that the color of the objects you are watching is true and the color of the lights represents natural light.
This could be a little confusing and that’s the reason we got you covered.
Check out this list of the best lights for painting at night and indoors all day long. Make sure to read the buying guide first for a better understanding of the kind of light you need.
What Factors Make a Light Good for Painting?
1. High CRI Rating
CRI is Color Rendering Index. It ranges from 0-100. The CRI of light indicates the ability of a light source to show the colors of objects as close to what they are in sunlight. So, a higher CRI rating means the colors you see are true colors and will look quite the same when viewed under natural sunlight.
The best lights for painting at night should have a CRI of at least 80 and anything close to 90 or over can be considered perfect for professional use.
If you just need light for your usual artwork, CRI 80+ is good enough. But if you are in a situation where little details matter like restoration or working on an artwork that will be displayed, go for a CRI 90 rating. You can consider Yotutun Swing Arm Table for the best results.
2. The Right Color Temperature
Color temperature is simply the color of the light you and how it appears to you. This is an important factor for painters and artists of all kinds. If you have a light that throws off blue or yellow too much, you will end up with mismatched colors in your artwork as you will see colors differently.
The sweet spot is between 4500K-6500K. If the light is less than 4500K, it will give off a warmer color tone, and over 6500K, you will start to see harsh blue tones. As every individual view color differently, it’s better to test out different lights with different color temperatures to find your own sweet spot.
To play it safe, you can start using a 5000K light. This kind of light will offer slightly cool light and the details of objects or artworks stand out best in this color temperature.
3. The Type of Light Works Best for You – Lamp or Ceiling Lights
Lamps could be your best option if you use a small space in your room for your artwork. It will illuminate a specific area and won’t spread light all over your room. So, you have two options- A floor lamp or a table lamp.
Floor lamps are versatile. When you are done with work, you can change the angle of the light head to illuminate a larger portion of your room. It can double up as a task light as well as a room light. Whereas, a table light is shorter in length and made specifically to be used as a task light.
Some lights like the Neatfi XL have a magnifying glass attached. These types of light are perfect for working on small intricate details without straining your eyes.
Ceiling lights can also be a good option. When you finally decide to upgrade your entire room and transform it into a painting studio, ceiling lights will be your only option. The Ensenior ceiling lights offer higher lumens and just the right color temperature for professional work.
4. Adjustable Features – Brightness, Color Temperature, Position
The ability to adjust the brightness level could be super helpful. When you are working the whole day in lights, your eyes can become fatigued. So, dimming the lights down a few notches can really help. Most of the lights in this list have dimming capabilities. In the case of ceiling lights, you will need to install external dimmers.
Some lamps let you change the color temperature like Brightech Litespan or Verilux. This isn’t mandatory. However, for multipurpose use, this feature is essential. For example, when you are not working and maybe just reading a book, you can make the light look warmer.
7 Best Lights for Painting at Night 2023 Guide
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1. Brightech Litespan Slim Super Bright LED Lamp
Light Output: 950 lumens
Color Temperature: Adjustable 3000K-6000K
CRI: Not specified
The Brightech Litespan could be a game-changer for artists, painters, or professionals who work indoors where artificial light is necessary. It offers enough lumens to light up your workspace, but not too much to strain your eyes.
The reason we think Litespan is the best light for painting at night is that you can get a color temperature of 6000k which is close to daylight. Some artists might need to warm up the color a bit for specific projects and the ability to change between 3 color temperatures would be great for them. You can change between 3000K, 4000K, and 6000K.
The lamp can also be dimmed. So, when you are using it for just reading or watching TV, you can dim it. The best part is it will remember your last setting after you switch on the light and you can use the dimmer in all of the color temperature settings.
Being a lamp LED, you need to consider the stability of the base as well. The base has a dimension of 8” X 10” X 2”. As it has a smaller depth, it can easily go under the sofa or bed. So, this is great for small studios. The lamp has a flexible gooseneck that can be turned in any direction. Unlike other gooseneck lamp heads, this light head stays in one place and doesn’t move around at all. That can save you time from constant adjustments.
The power button is what controls all the functions of the lamp. It can take some time to get used to it. Moreover, we recommend not moving the lamp around too much. The attachment of the pole to the base isn’t the strongest one and it can become loose over time. However, It won’t tip over!!
The LED lights can’t be replaced. They are fixed inside the lamp. But being LEDs, they tend to have a longer lifespan. You can expect them to last 5-10 years at least. Overall, this Brightech lamp is super useful for painters and DIYers as well.
2. Neatfi XL Bifocals LED Magnifying Lamp
Light Output: 600 lumens Approx
Color Temperature: Adjustable 3000K-6000K
The Neatfi XL is a magnifying lamp that can work both as a work light as well as a magnifier when you need to look at the details. Its adjustable features and true color spectrum make it the best light for any kind of artist who wants precision in their work.
The lamp has a CRI rating of 80 which is what the least you want from a lamp dedicated to painting and artwork. You can also change the color temperature from 3000K-6000K in 3 levels. So, it is also versatile enough to use for other purposes.
You can attach the lamp with the clamp to a table or wherever you prefer to work. The lamp head has a 360-degree swivel so you can move it fast and in various positions.
The magnifying lens is made of glass and you can expect it to hold its shape over time. The lens has two parts for different kinds of magnification. The 5 diopter part is for distant vision which has a 225% magnification and the 20 diopter lens is for near vision and has a 600% magnification. The best part is you can change the position of the lens through 12 o’clock, 4 o’clock, and 8 o’clock.
We were also impressed by the brightness adjustment ability of the lamp. It can be adjusted from 25%-100% in 4 levels which is super useful when you don’t want too much light. The product description says that it has a light output of 1200 lumens. However, in reality, it offers 600 lumens (what we have found through our research), so you won’t need to go down too much on the brightness.
The Neatifi doesn’t have an auto remember function. But if you tap the button two times quickly, it will remember your current brightness setting the next time you turn the lights on.
3. Lavish Home 72-0820 (Beige) Natural Sunlight Lamp
Light Output: 1300 lumens
Color Temperature: 6500K
CRI: Not specified
At 6500K, you will get pure white light and that’s what you need from a floor lamp dedicated to painting. It will be a slightly blue tint to it but will help you see the true colors of your artwork clearly.
The Lavish Home lamp has CFL bulbs that can emit 1300 lumens. So, it’s quite bright. It will become a bit hot because it’s not LED. Still, it can run for hours without being an issue.
The lamp has an adjustable gooseneck which you can move in various directions. You can even move it around your home as it is quite lightweight and it will still hold its shape.
Like the previous lights in this list, you can also adjust the brightness in four levels. It would have been much better if the lamp had an adjustable color temperature. However, if you are planning to use this lamp solely for painting, this shouldn’t be an issue.
4. YOTUTUN Swing Arm Table Lamp
Light Output: 1050 lumens approx
Color Temperature: 3000k-6000k
The Yotutun table lamp is just the right kind of light you need for painting at night. It’s also one of the most versatile and customizable lights on this list. Because of its clamp-based design, you can set it up on any table without eating up space. Professional and amateur artists can both rely on this light.
In most cases, you will be using the 6000K color temperature which will give you close to pure white light. Having a CRI rating of 90+, this lamp will help you see the colors of your artwork like how they look naturally. Apart from that, you can also change the color temperature to 3000K or 4000K. Both of these setting is great for reading and other non-work activities.
The most unique thing about this lamp is you can adjust brightness in 10 levels. You can go all the way down to make the light super dim. This will help you achieve the right kind of lighting for your needs.
Like most table lamps, the Yotutun has a gooseneck that is super adjustable and can move 360-degrees. You can bend it sideways, up and down whatever suits you. The ability to power up the lamp using a USB cable is an impressive feature. This will allow you to power up the lamp from a laptop, pc, power bank, or whatever power source you have at home. You can control all functionalities using the controller. It has switches for all 4 switches that make it easier to adjust the settings of the lamp.
All things good, this lamp does have an issue that you consider. Despite being an LED, it can get quite hot after a few hours, and then it might shut down. However, it also cools down pretty quickly.
5. Verilux SmartLight Full Spectrum LED Modern Floor Lamp
Light Output: 800 lumens
Color Temperature: 3000k-5000k
The Verilux Smartlight is one of the best lights for painting at night for the simple reason that it can offer 5000K lighting. This is a type of light that is in between warm and blue and is perfect for seeing small details because of the color contrast. On top of that, it has a CRI of 80+ which should help you see the natural colors of your artwork.
You can also adjust the color temperature from 5000K to 4000K or 3000K. So, you can use this light even after you finish your work for reading and watching movies on devices. There’s a touch panel of the pole that lets you configure all the settings. It has a 5 level brightness adjustment which we think should be okay for most users.
Like most floor lamps, you should consider the stability of the lamp. In this case, the Verilux has a weighted base that will keep the light in place. The attachment of the pole with the base is not the strongest. Yes, it is sturdy enough, but if you move the lamp frequently the screws will loosen up quickly.
We also found that this lamp doesn’t heat up even after hours of use. So, that’s a good sign. The flexible gooseneck of the lamp gives you the freedom to set up the light in various positions. Overall, if you have been searching for a daylight lamp for painting, this has got to be on your list.
6. Ensenior Ultra-Thin LED Recessed Ceiling Light
Light Output: 1050 lumens
Color Temperature: 5000k
Have you considered a recessed light for your artwork? The Ensenior could be the perfect light for your painting studio. A small table lamp or floor will keep you limited to working on a specific position of your room. But if you are a professional and want to optimize every corner of your studio for work, this could be the best light for your painting activities.
The Ensenior recessed light is super thin and requires only 2-in of ceiling spaces. Because it is IC rated, it is thermally protected and won’t be an issue if it comes in contact with the ceiling insulations.
This version of the Ensenior has a color temperature of 5000k which is highly recommended for professional artwork. Moreover, the CRI rating is also up to the mark. If you need a higher color temperature, you can also find a 6000k version of these lights. One single piece of this light can produce 1050 lumens at 12 W which is quite a lot to cover a large portion of the room.
Right out of the box, you won’t be able to dim these lights. But with a compatible dimmer, you can dim them from 5%-100%. The manufacture does provide a list of compatible dimmers and that should do the job. The Lutron and ZOOZ dimmers work perfectly with these lights. However, in some cases, with an external dimmer, you might hear buzzing noises or occasional flickers.
7. Sunco Lighting
Light Output: 660 lumens
Color Temperature: Available in variable K ratings
You can also consider Sunco lights for your painting studio or art gallery. These lights can be easily installed within your ceiling and won’t interfere with your insulation.
Sunco lights are available in various K ratings like 3000K and 6000K. So, whatever color temperature suits your kind of work, go with that. We recommend sticking to either 5000K, or anything under 6500K. All of the lights come with a CRI of more than 80 and that’s good enough for most artworks.
The lights have dimming capabilities. However, you will need to buy an external dimmer to achieve that. The only thing that could have been improved was the metal frame. It is not the sturdiest and looks cheap.
We have a few recommendations that will help you choose the best light for painting at night. Brightech, Yotutun, and Verilux are the 3 lights we think are perfect for both Amateurs and Professionals. You can even change the brightness and color temperature. So, these lights aren’t limited to only work. You can use them for other activities also. If you have a larger studio and need more uniform lights throughout the room, ceiling lights are your best option.