Ah, the ideal of north light! Nothing messes up my art creation more than terrible lighting! One thing all artists need is the correct lighting focused on their easel and palette. There’s much more to it than just grabbing a desk lamp and pointing it at your canvas though.
Our top pick for best overhead lighting for the studio is Gskaiwen 180 LED Studio Light, but read on for the reasons! Your needs may be quite different. I’ve scoured the market looking for the best overhead lighting for art studios!
If you are in a hurry and do not have time to skim through the entire article, here is a glimpse of our top picks for the best overhead lighting for art studio
- 180-LED Studio Light by GSKAIWEN <<Best versatility with a low footprint
- H90004SB2 2400W Lights by StudioFX <<Best for photographing your work and creating video
- Daylight U32500 Triple Bright Lamp, White
- Daylight Company LLC UN1530 Daylight Duo LED Art & Craft Floor Lamp
- SPK10-037 2500W Fluorescent Lighting kit by Fovitec
- H90004SB2 2400W Lights by StudioFX
- U31375 Artist Studio Lamp and Stand by Daylight
- 2400W Professional Lighting Kit by Fancierstudio
- 95W 5500K Professional Lighting Kit by Mountdog
- Dimmable 5600K LED Lighting System by Neewer
Reviews of best overhead lighting for studios
Each studio has unique needs, depending on what kind of art an artist is going to produce. Jewelry designers need bright, even light that will not strain the eyes. Painters need lighting that is as close to daylight as possible in order to correctly judge color hue and temperatures against each other. If you paint in a window that is not north facing, you know how the temperature of the light in your room drastically changes throughout the day.
Just check out the photo below of the ultimate frustration for an artist:
Here we have super strong light whiting out the canvas coming from behind the artist: which translates into cast shadows and headache-inducing eye strain and bleached out colors!
Adjustable options to reduce glare are on the top of my list, as some surfaces will be shiny and some will be matte. Of course, if you are not in a permanent studio, you need something that is portable, or at least, not permanently mounted to the ceiling. In addition, if you are anything like me and my studio, you may need to consider your budget. Some fixtures and replacement bulbs are ridiculously spendy!
The ideal measurement for studio lighting is in Kelvin units. The higher the Kelvin, the whiter the light. Firelight has very low Kelvin, while natural daylight is in the 5,000-6,000 Kelvin range. Don’t go too high though, you don’t want the intense white light of car headlights! Anything in the daylight range will be optimal for creating art.
1. 180-LED Studio Light by GSKAIWEN – Our number one recommendation for great versatility
Most lighting setups require softboxes, and umbrella stands to diffuse the light so that it becomes easier on the eyes without compromising on the intensity. However, the GSKAIWEN 180-LED Studio Light is an entry in our list of the best overhead lighting for art studio that gives you a more compact kit without bulky umbrellas or softboxes. Frankly, I like that it has a small footprint! Yet, it is still perfect for filming my work and tutorials. The optimal setup is two lights at 45 degrees to the canvas and work palette area. I love that they are also adjustable! These babies are going to join my studio soon!!
The LED lights are arranged on two stands that give you an ultra-clear but soft illumination. You can adjust the brightness to suit various needs and set your lights up at the ideal angles with its swiveling joints.
- Top-notch LED lights
- Convenient bag for portability
- Great price point
- Highly rated by owners
- Long-lasting LED bulbs
- 5300 – 5500 kelvin
Our Rating: 97%
2. H90004SB2 2400W Lights by StudioFX
The first entry on our list of the best overhead lighting for art studio is a product by StudioFX. This studio lighting kit is a three-piece system that has two soft boxes and an overhead boom softbox light. This set is used by my daughter to do professional filming for her business and I can attest that the light is amazing. Bulky, but amazing.
The lighting you can expect with this kit is constant and neutral in temperature. The light is bright enough to give you better overall visibility, but it is not too intense that it can strain your eyes. It has four bulbs in each softbox and there are switches for each of them so you can adjust the brightness of the setup based on your requirements.
The light stand allows for easy movement in your studio. This great set can be all folded up for storage or transport, but it DOES have a need for quite a bit of floor space. The added benefit of all this lighting is that it makes for superb filming and taking photos of your work for digital storage and printing. If you plan to do online lessons or creating an ecourse, this is the setup you will love.
- Seven feet tall light stand
- Very lightweight and easy to move
- 5500 Kelvin
- Total 11,200 lumens of light intensity
- Comes with back handles for easy transportation
- Delivers a soft and constant neutral light
- Disassembles for compact storage
Our Rating: 96%
3. Daylight U32500 Triple Bright Lamp
If you prefer to mount an overhead lamp on your easel or table, this lamp by Daylight Company is a bright, even color-correct light that will illuminate your entire work area. If I had a permanent studio setup, this would be ideal, although very white.
It can be adjusted vertically, horizontally and laterally for great versatility.
- 3x 14W Daylight tubes (250W equivalent)
- 24 inches wide
- 6,500 kelvin
- Great for accurate color rendering
Our Rating: 95%
4. Daylight Company LLC UN1530 Daylight Duo LED Art & Craft Floor Lamp
The Daylight Company does it again with a double head, low profile lamp that will project over your shoulder onto your work area with daylight temperature bulbs. If you work close to your canvas and don’t need to step back often to view your work, this lamp might just be a great fit for you. You could always adjust it to project up and over your canvas area to also flood the palette area, but you may need to set it on a box to get sufficient height to do so. The price point is certainly attractive and the arm is very flexible.
- Flexible arm for versatile adjusting
- Dims by a touch
- Also available as a clamping light or a table lamp
- accurate color rendering thanks to 56 high quality LED lights
- Lux output at 12″: 2, 090 Lux
- 6,000 degree Kelvin
- Highly rated by owners
Our rating: 92%
5. SPK10-037 2500W Fluorescent Lighting Kit by Fovitec
Ideal for a wide variety of applications, the second entry on our list of the best overhead lighting for art studio is the Fluorescent Lighting Kit by Fovitec. The 1000W lights are surprisingly bright. The entire setup consists of five incandescent bulbs.
The softbox makes the light a lot easier on the eyes and dampens the intensity to make the light friendlier on the eyes but still bright enough to get the job done. The single-stand kit is easy to set up and install.
If you are looking for a straightforward lighting setup with a softbox, you might love this.
- Decent warm lighting
- 5500 Kelvin
- Energy-efficient fluorescent lights
- Practical design suitable for smaller spaces
- High-quality construction
Our Rating: 91%
6. H90004SB2 2400W Lights by StudioFX
If you are in search of a more complete lighting setup for your studio where you might need to light up subjects and work surfaces or have to use lights for photography, the 5500K Lighting System by Neewer is an entry on our list of the best overhead lighting for art studio that can do the trick.
There are two light stands, two umbrellas, a couple of carrying bags, clamps, and even a green screen within the kit. The reliable stands can be positioned well and are stable due to the three legs and construction quality. You can use the green screen and umbrellas for various applications to take photographs in your studio.
- Excellent brightness of bulbs
- Durable stand and bulbs
- 5500 Kelvin
- High price point
- Practical clamps and carrying bag to make it easy to move and set up the system
Our Rating: 90%
H90004SB2 2400W Lights by StudioFX
7. U31375 Artist Studio Lamp and Stand by Daylight
If you are looking for the simplest setup when it comes to the best overhead lighting for art studio, the U31375 is a high-end setup for an art studio light that gives you direct light to cover your working surface. This is a lighting set that I use in my studio. I’ll be really transparent here: I have to have something very portable because my ‘studio’ is not a dedicated space. I share it with my office, my living room and and my bedroom. sigh. I know. Not ideal. So, I need to be able to move it around easily and put it in the corner when I’m not painting. I would much prefer to leave my heavy easel up 24/7 and mount a large horizontal light over head, but alas, it is not meant to be. To be ideal, I need two of these, each one aiming at 45 degrees to my canvas. I also would prefer a more flexible arm for adjusting. This one looks flexible, but in reality it is quite stiff and uncooperative for easy aiming. I make it work, but I DO have to wrestle with it and reclamp it several times to get it just so.
There is a single setup that consumes 32Watts and gives you 5000K daylight tone. It can cover a wide area if you place it farther away from the canvas. The lamp’s body is made using brushed aluminum, and it is incredibly convenient to use.
- Long-lasting construction quality
- 5000 Kelvin
- Ideal brightness for various application
- Highly portable and easy to handle
- Limited adjustability with the flexible arm
Our Rating: 86%
8. 2400W Professional Lighting Kit by Fancierstudio
If you need a setup with multiple light sources, but you don’t want a very complex system, the Fancierstudio Professional Lighting Kit gives you a decent but straightforward option. There are three softboxes on individual stands that give you different light sources to illuminate from different angles for the perfect setup.
The 2400W setup. It gives you natural lighting indoors that makes it easier for you to get a more neutral light that gives you good illumination for a long time.
- Powerful lights
- 5500 Kelvin
- Resilient overall construction quality
- Convenient stand size for portability and stable lighting
Our Rating: 85%
9. 95W 5500K Professional Lighting Kit by Mountdog
If you are on a budget, but you require professional-level lighting for your art studio, this 95W Professional Lighting Kit by Mountdog might suit your needs. The continuous softbox lighting you get with this is enough to give you proper illumination to light up large areas with a single bulb.
The light stand is large and high enough to give you excellent adjustability for the angle. The top lamp holder has a 210-degree swivel that allows you to change the direction without rotating the entire stand.
- Affordable light for the quality it offers
- Ideal height for various applications
- 5500 Kelvin
- Swivel head with wide range for better adjustment of angles
Our Rating: 82%
10. Dimmable 5600K LED Lighting System by Neewer
The last entry on our list of the best overhead lighting for art studio is another product by Neewer. The Dimmable 5600K LED Lighting System features super bright LED lights that come with a USB setup. It’s projection areas are much smaller than our other recommendations, but if you work small, this might be a great choice for your studio.
The kit includes two tripod stands with lights that you can connect with USB ports for an easier way to power them up. The lights have a dimmable system that you can use to cater to various applications. The winning quality of this kit is the shooting effect.
If you are using the lights for photography, you can make the lights flash so you can get the best illumination for your photography.
- Versatile lighting kit
- Easy to operate design
- 5600 Kelvin
- 15 inches from base to top of lights
- Long-lasting LED bulbs
Our Rating: 75%
Things to Consider While Buying the Best Overhead Lighting for Art Studio
While our list above might have narrowed down the options you can consider for the best overhead lighting for art studios, they are all quite different from each other. I have created a guide to give you additional help so you can choose the perfect one for your needs.
You may be wondering I didn’t mention one of the more well-known manufacturers of daylight lamps. That’s because I own one and I am not impressed. The projection area is not big enough to create art with. It is passable for quilting, where you are head-bent over your sewing machine, but that’s about it. The bulbs and fixtures are really expensive as well. For my money, I want illumination and a broad enough swath of light that I can move around a bit.
Don’t hesitate to add more lighting if you find that one or two fixtures do not meet your needs. Proper lighting is crucial!
The light intensity refers to how bright the lighting is in the setup. The wattage and lumens are critical factors here.
Watts refers to how much power the bulbs need to produce light. The higher the watts, the more energy they consume. Higher watt bulbs are typically brighter than those with lower wattage, but the lumens is what really represents the brightness and intensity of the lights.
LED lights give you more lumens for a lower wattage and last longer than energy savers and incandescent bulbs. The products we’ve featured include LED and energy saver lamps that can suit your needs.
Light Temperature and Color
The temperature and color of the light does not literally refer to the heat it produces. Rather, it talks about the overall color you can expect.
Some lights give off a yellowish hue that resembles sunlight during a sunny day. These are warmer in temperature. These are the typical indoor lamps that we are all used to with a regular warm orange-yellow casting light bulb, commonly called incandescent bulbs. No so good for judging paint colors by though!
Others can give off an overcast sunny feel with a whiter light. These lights are cooler.
The construction quality of the entire setup is a critical factor when you are looking for the best overhead lighting for art studio. It determines how flexible or rigid the setup is so you can adjust the lighting to suit various needs.
The construction quality also affects how durable your lighting system is. If it is made using poor materials, the stand and other equipment can easily become damaged. Look for a setup that can give you a variety of options in terms of adjustability and has a durable design.
If you are setting up an artist studio or need to revamp the lighting to make your experience of making art better, you can find the perfect fit for the best overhead lighting for an art studio in our list.
FAQs for the Best Overhead Lighting for Art Studio
Q. How to effectively use the overhead lighting in my art studio?
- Properly using the overhead lighting in your studio can depend a lot on the nature of the work you are doing and the lighting setup you have. Ideally, you want to make sure that the studio lighting helps you properly light up the subject you are working on and it provides you proper illumination on your working surface.
- It should not create any unnecessary shadows on your work surface so you have a better idea of what you are making.
- Placement should eliminate glare on the surface of your work – often two lights angled 45 degrees to the canvas are ideal.
Q. Does it take very long to install a lighting kit?
- Depending on the complexity of the kit you purchase, it can take from a few minutes to up to 40 minutes to get your setup correctly. If you are simply using a kit with a single overhead light on your work surface, it can take less than five minutes to set everything up. We did not include any lighting that needs to be hardwired into your home by an electrician.
Q. Can I install the overhead lighting for my art studio in the bedroom?
- While there is no problem with setting up the lights in your bedroom, you just need to make sure that you have enough room to install them. Some of these lights are optimized to enhance your experience of working in the studio for artwork, photography, and videography and need plenty of room for you to maneuver in.
Q. Is it costly to maintain studio lighting?
- Not really. You may need to replace the light bulbs in the fixtures for your overhead lighting solution from time to time. If your system has LED lights, you’re less likely to have to replace them anytime soon because an average LED light bulb can last up to 50,000 hours.
- Getting the best overhead lighting for your art studio is typically a one-time cost unless you damage something and need to replace it.
Three Point Lighting: