Tips for Storing Art: A Comprehensive Guide

May 24, 2024

Tips for Storing Art: A Comprehensive Guide

It is very important to store art correctly as improper art storage can lead to the art becoming damaged. This could lead to costly repairs or even that the art is permanently damaged. Proper art storage can alleviate any worries about this.

Tips for storing art: a comprehensive guide. Image shows frames stacked against each other.
Within this article we are going to discuss the key factors that affect art – temperature, humidity and light – and talk you through how proper art storage will stop them from damaging your art.

Understanding the Basics of Art Storage

The Role of Temperature and Humidity

The number one enemy to artwork is rapid changes in temperature and humidity. Artwork needs to be stored somewhere where the temperature is around 21-24 degrees Celsius and humidity should be 40-50%. This can be achieved with a humidifier but it is important to monitor the temperature and humidity of your storage space to make sure they both stay steady. You can monitor them with a temperature and humidity sensor.

Severe changes in climate can lead to cracked paint, warping, yellowing of paper and mould growth so it is important to keep the temperature and humidity steady.

Light Exposure and Its Impact

Light exposure is also really not good for your artwork. Artwork exposed to sunlight can fade so it is important to keep it away from windows.

Preventing damage via light exposure is very easy – simply keep your artwork away from sunlight so don’t keep it in a room with large windows or rooms that get excessive amounts of sunlight throughout the day.. If you can, try to avoid windows all together by choosing to use a storage unit for your art storage.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Location

When it comes to choosing the right location for your art storage, you have to pick carefully, particularly if you choose to store it within your home. 

It is not recommended that you store artwork within your basement or loft as these are areas in a home that see large fluctuations in temperature and humidity, depending on the season. Also, basements can be extremely damp which is not remotely good for artwork as dampness could lead to water damage and mould growth. 

You could use built-in cupboard space within your home or even a room but there are a lot of factors you need to look out for. The space must not have any air vents or open windows, if you can, you want to avoid having any windows at all. 

Self storage can be an excellent choice for art storage as it does not have windows and can be climate controlled, protecting your artwork from rapid temperature and humidity changes. 

Storage Solutions for Different Types of Art

Storing Paintings and Canvas Art

With paintings and canvas art, you will want to follow all of the tips above – steady temperature and humidity and avoiding light – but you will also want to store it off the floor and in an upright position

Storing canvases flat will lead to the material loosening and sagging over time, and you will begin to see impressions of the stretcher bars in the canvas’s fabric. Storing canvases upright also lessens the likelihood that dust and other particles will settle on the surface. It will also mean they need less storage space. 

And you need to keep them off the floor to simply keep them safe from spills or people accidentally treading on them. 

When they are in your art storage, you will also want to cover them with a light cloth. This will help keep them clear of dust, cobwebs, and other things that build up and settle in a space over time.

How to Store Sculptures and 3D Artworks

Before storing sculptures and 3D artwork, you will want to make sure that it is all clean by dusting them with a soft brush. Next, you will want to carefully bubble wrap each piece so it is safe whilst in storage or, if you are storing away from your home, whilst being transported to your art storage. 

Depending on what your sculptures are made out of, the climate of your storage can be even more important. Stone sculptures are very prone to decay dues to environmental factors so it is important that you choose the right art storage location. 

Preserving Paper-Based Art and Photographs

When it comes to storing paper-based art and photographs, the primary concern is that you keep each item flat. This can easily be achieved by storing the artworks in frames or in archival boxes

It is also very important that you keep this type of artwork away from light as inks on paper can fade very quickly. You will also want to keep paper-base art work away from pests. 

The easiest way to keep paper-based artwork safe is to store it with archival boxes. 

Advanced Art Storage Techniques

Utilising Storage Facilities

As we have already mentioned, using a self storage facility for your art storage is a really good idea. Many self storage companies offer climate controlled units and storage units do not have windows, making them ideal for art storage. 

Also, all professional storage facilities will have high-quality security systems in place so you can have complete peace of mind that your artwork is safe. All of our facilities have 24/7 CCTV surveillance and all our units are fitted with an intruder alarm and fire and smoke detectors. 

If you don’t have the right type of storage space within your home or art studio, it is a really good idea to consider self storage. 

The Role of Insurance in Art Storage

Getting insurance can be a good idea when it comes to your art storage. Depending on the value of your artwork, you may want to consider getting fine art insurance that will specifically cover any loss or damage to your artwork. 

If you are storing your art within your home, you will have to speak with your insurance provider about whether your homeowners insurance covers your artwork. Some homeowners insurance does not cover the full value of artwork Some insurers may have a sub-limit that applies in the event of a loss, which means your insurance will only cover certain items up to a specified amount. Some insurers however will allow you to add artworks as a separate endorsement or “rider” to your insurance policy which will cover them to the full amount. Your insurer may require you to provide a photo or detailed description of the item, and possibly an appraisal.

If you are using self storage for your art storage, you will need to get a separate policy as most home insurance does not cover anything that is stored outside the home. This could be specific art insurance or you could speak with the self storage facility and see if they offer insurance. Our customers can go onto our insurance policy and will be covered for things such as water leakages, theft by forcible violent entry or exit, moth/insect damage, lightning, fire, explosion, earthquake, storm, flood, riot, strike, amongst others. The cost to join the policy will depend on the value of your artwork but our average customer takes out £5,000 worth of insurance cover at a cost of £6.50 per week.

Tips for Storing Art

When it comes to storing art, it is very important that you have proper art storage. It must be the right location, with steady temperature and humidity and no exposure to sunlight. It is important that the artworks are stored in the correct way and are wrapped in bubble wrap, covered with light clothes or kept in archival boxes. 

Proper art storage is really important as it will protect your art investments. 

We hope you have found our advice helpful. If you would like to know more about our art storage, please click here to find your local store. 

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