We’ve talked a lot about the types of art you should choose for your homes and offices, but we still haven’t talked about how to best display that art. In this article, we focus on lighting, an important aspect of interior design—an aspect so important, it can make or break the aesthetics of your room.
How Lighting Affects the Way We View Art
Lighting varies by several factors—temperature, source, and brightness. When you change any of these factors, you also change your perception of color. This, in turn, affects your view of the art in the room as well.
Light Frequencies and Their Impact on Art
How we view color is derived from the frequency of its light source and the frequency of the reflective surface it falls upon. If the surface of a painting does not have the capacity to absorb light, all colors will be reflected and we will see only white. If the surface has the ability to absorb only reds, the reflection will be in blue or green. These are two examples of how the frequencies of light affect what you see.
Incandescent bulbs, when used to enhance a painting, will highlight the warmer colors. These colors, such as red and green, are highlighted because light from incandescent bulbs contains more of those colors. Similarly, fluorescent light will reflect and highlight the cooler tones of the object, especially the blue.
Not only do colors change slightly when exposed to different types of lighting, but the colors also vary between natural and man-made light forms. An art piece will appear one way to you in the daylight and show you different hues in other light sources. This occurrence is a scientific phenomenon known as mesmerism.
Incandescent light is preferred extensively over other forms of light, especially indoors where daylight is unavailable. At the supermarket, you will never see fluorescent light being used near the fruits and vegetables because it makes objects look harsh and reflects back blue light.
How Glass Affects Art Lighting
Many people frame paintings in glass to keep them in mint condition and safe from wear and tear. However, a framing glass, though an excellent way to keep the painting intact, effects the clarity of the artwork. It becomes a hindrance, making the original piece look less vibrant than it really is, because some of the light focused on the painting is absorbed by the glass. The percentage of reflection creates a harsh glare and impacts the visual quality of the artwork.
Even completely transparent glass blocks 20 percent of the image beneath it. Two percent of the light will be absorbed, and the remaining eight percent will be reflected back. To mitigate these issues, a special type of inorganic glass with low iron properties can be used to frame paintings. This type of glass, known as “art glass” maintains the colors’ natural look.
When choosing a light for your interior, especially if the aim is to highlight certain objects or art pieces, consider the type of room. Commercial and hospital applications often use light that is higher than 3500K, while households use light that is 3500K or below because it is warm, soft, and gentle on the eyes. Both the light frequency and the glass you’re using to frame your painting should be considered when you’re displaying art in a room. This principle applies to both your personal, residential design and your office.