Can You Layer Lamps in Front of Your Artwork?

Can you layer lamps in front of your artwork? The answer is YES! Let me show you some examples and tell you why layering happens all the time in the world of interior design.

Last week when I showcased the new botanical artwork in my dining room, many of you were bothered that my lamps covered up part of the artwork.

I also received a few comments suggesting that I stack the art instead, so that the lamps weren’t in the way. And I realized, one of the reasons for the suggestions was because I had changed the wall. Prior to this row of botanicals, I had a simple, glam mirror there instead.

Since I wanted to do a little tutorial about the undertone of the neutral background of this artwork anyway, I thought I’d dedicate an entire post to show you that, in fact, layering accessories or lamps in front of art happens regularly in the design world.

Since I’m obviously obsessed with flowers, and this room is filled with them, it doesn’t bother me in the least that part of them are covered.

Here are some good examples of lamps layered in front of artwork:

In this one, imagine how small the lamp would have to be in order to NOT cover the art in any way. And since this is a narrow wall behind the sofa, we would have needed a few pieces of much smaller artwork if we were trying to decorate AROUND the table lamp.

The wall behind this sofa is obviously a huge focal point of this room and the art positioned behind the crystal lamp is perfection.

Barbara Barry

In this dining room, the lines of the base of the lamp are subtly repeated in the abstract artwork which is partly hidden by the oversize lamp (below):

Heidi Caillier

Layering feels luxurious

This art-filled wall with the lampshade on the left completely hiding the piece behind it again gives the room a sense of luxury.

If you only have once piece of art plunked above your sofa, of course it would seem wrong to have one placed behind a lamp.

Jeffrey Bilhuber

This artwork not only has a lamp in front of it but coral as well. And it’s beautiful.

Monica Bhargava

Anyway back to my botanicals. I did a little poll on Instagram asking my followers which undertone they were and almost everyone guessed correctly!

But I thought it was a good opportunity to talk about it and give you some insight on how I use my large painted colour samples!

Check out my large painted colour board collections here in Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams.

The early bird discount for my Specify Colour with Confidence Spring workshops ends March 6, 2020. Register here.

Let me know what you think! And if you have any questions!

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  1. Yes, of course one can layer lamps, plants or other accessories to overlap art in a vignette. Your example is perhaps more overlapped than most, but it iis hard for me to imagine why someone would object.

  2. It seems off-balance/wonky to me to have the art extending beyond the console? I think would work in a super eclectic room or gallery wall, but it sticks out to me in this instance, hmm….

  3. Are there guidelines for how high above the consoles the art should hang (or from the floor or ceiling) in these types of vignettes? I think all of these are lovely but in a few of these examples, I have the urge to scootch the art a bit higher so less is covered.

  4. I, personally, still do not care for the lamps in front of the art work. I realize that a lot of decorating is subjective. Opinions differ, and if you are happy with the look that is wonderful. I only posted to point out my first reaction to the new arrangement..

    In the best of the examples, you posted, the art work is not almost complacently covered up by the lamp. And they seem to be more in harmony with the art.

    It is always a treat when you post about color and how you feel it should be used and chosen.

  5. Covering up some of the art is almost inevitable, but I would agree with those saying there is a limit and there is too much. It’s not a huge deal if you cover 1/4 of a larger piece of art but covering almost 50% still looks like too much to me. I agree, stacked would look better with a bit more distance between them so the lamps still overlapped a bit. To each their own though, if you like it that is all that matters. You can’t please everyone.

  6. I think the answer (at least for all artists and lifetime art students out here) is that if it is mass-produced, an illustration, or a frivolous piece acquired for decoration only, then layering is fine, but if it is really art, why would we put something in front of it.