I would like to light up three picture frames with something from the floor. They will be behind a sofa so we wouldn't see them and the picture frames are about at 1.5 meter above the ground.

I have thought of using LEDs, but I think an LED strip wouldn't be enough to light them and also, it wouldn't be directional. I have also thought of using a strip for halogen lighting but I think it would be too hot and too near the sofa, so I do not like this idea.

How can I make a light setup to light 3 picture frames from the ground?


If you have the room on the floor, then you can get a floor mounted track style fixture. These have a weighted base with the transformer in them to make them harder to knock over or move.floor mount track style fixture.

The only downside of using these are;

  1. If they accidentally get moved into a couch or something like that it could become a fire issue.
  2. If you cannot move it out from the wall because of restrictive space you might end up with a lighting technique called wall grazing. This would cause the bottom of your frame (if it is a traditional wooden frame that stick out past the cloth itself) to cast a shadow across the painting.

The upsides are;

  1. The lamps used have various beam spreads and wattages available for use.
  2. LED's are made to be retrofitted into these by only changing the lamp.
  3. If it works out you don't have to get on a ladder and hang track lighting.

I've seen renters (don't know if you are or not) hang track lighting and use something to hide the wire and just plug it into the wall and use a plug in dimmer to control the lights. Then when they move they take it away.

The picture came from here. Good Luck!

  • Good idea, I still can take the consideration. My only concern is the fire. The same thing with led would be great. Nov 28 '11 at 13:54
  • Most LED manufacturers make Mr16 lamps that just plug into the socket and uses the existing xfmr. The lamps have built in drivers so it would operate in this or other track fixtures. Most DIY box stores have them.
    – lqlarry
    Nov 28 '11 at 20:02

Does it really have to be from the floor?

I don't know what the official name for them is (some searching suggests 'picture light'), but there exist fixtures that are made to be mounted above or below a picture frame, stick out a couple of inches, and then cast light back onto the picture.

enter image description here

Wireless LED Picture Light

Now that LEDs are available, your concerns with heat won't be a problem, but if you went with top down, even hallogen would likely be okay.

Part of the issue with lighting is that if you're coming from the floor, it's going to need to be placed some distance in front of the painting so it's not too severe of an angle; flat images (eg, photographs) might be okay with the angle, but oils and other stuff with texture can look really bad as the texture results in uneven lighting and odd shadows.

  • It needs to be on the floor because those picture frame are hang by some rope on the ceiling. I need the light to light the picture but also the wall to show the depth. Nov 28 '11 at 20:08

LED spotlight uplighters would do the job just fine. You can get directional and intense focus LED lights these days - an example - and colours are very easy to get too if you want something different.

  • Does these led bulb can fit on normal track lighting? Nov 28 '11 at 13:53
  • That example I posted fits in exactly the same socket as the track lights I have in my kitchen ceiling, so I'd say yes - some will be track compatible.
    – Rory Alsop
    Nov 28 '11 at 16:21
  • I'll go see my local store to try to find out a track that can those LED spotlight. Nov 28 '11 at 18:13

Typically Track lighting is used to accent artwork, but it is mounted to the ceiling not the floor.

enter image description here

Track lighting allows you to position the lights where you want them, as well as allowing you to point them in any direction you like.

  • Wouldn't this heat up too much? Nov 27 '11 at 19:57
  • @Daok It would depend on the bulbs used, but I've seen this used in many art galleries so I'm sure it's an issue that is easily solvable.
    – Tester101
    Nov 27 '11 at 20:01
  • 1
    You can also try mini-track lighting. Mr16 lamps are best used for these because the of choice of beam spreads. Three pictures and 3 fixtures with the correct beam spread can pretty much light the picture and not much around it. If you are worried about the heat make sure the lamps have a diachroic film on them. This sends the heat out the back of the lamp. Also if you get bare-back track heads (these just have a socket and holder for the lamp) you might not want the light coming from the back of the lamp onto the ceiling. Then you can get a coated back that blocks the light.
    – lqlarry
    Nov 27 '11 at 22:10

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