Choosing the Right Size Picture Light

One of the most important questions people ask is how large of a picture light do I need? It's important to remember that there are general guidelines, but no hard and fast rules.

The general guideline for Traditional picture lights that have a two inch diameter shade (such as these House of Troy Antique Brass picture lights) is that the light should be at least half the width of the image you are trying to illuminate. Meaning that if you have a 20-inch wide image you need at least a 10 inch wide picture light. But that formula only really works for pictures up to 30 inches wide. Wider than 30 inches, the ratio of picture light width to image width increases incrementally so if you have a 60 inch wide image, the picture light should be approximately 40 inches wide. In other words two-thirds the size of the image.


The general guideline for modern Slimline picture lights that have a one inch diameter shade (such as these House of Troy Oil Rubbed Bronze Slimline picture lights) is the same with the picture light being at least half as wide as the image. But with Slimlines, the formula only really works for images up to 18 inches wide. As paintings get wider, the ratio increases more quickly so that a 30-inch wide image should have a picture light of approximately 20 inches wide or two-thirds the size.

For very large images the ratio keeps on increasing so that an image 60 inches wide should have a 45 inch picture light or 3/4 of the width of the image. Keep in mind that other factors can affect your choice of picture light, such as how dark the image is, how well-lit the room is and whether the picture light is LED, halogen or incandescent

If you have any questions or need advice, please give us a call! We are a small company in northern Vermont, located 5 miles from the House of Troy factory.  We know picture lights inside and out!