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13 Fast Ways to Perfect Wall Sconce Lighting! [2023 Ultimate Guide]

wall sconce lighting

Navigating the world of wall sconce lighting can be both intriguing and challenging. This article serves as an essential guide to understanding sconce wall lights, a decorative fixture that has evolved from being a mere source of light to an integral part of interior aesthetics. If you’ve ever pondered the significance of sconce designs, their placement, or the types available, this guide will answer your questions. Delving deep into the history, functionality, and modern adaptations of sconces, this article aims to enlighten readers on the benefits and beauty of these fixtures, giving a clear preview of what to expect.

What is a Sconce Wall Light?

A sconce wall light, commonly referred to as a sconce, is a decorative light fixture that is mounted directly to a wall. Unlike other lighting fixtures that hang from the ceiling or stand on the floor, sconces are designed to provide both functional and ambient lighting while serving as a decorative element in a room.

Historically, sconces were used with candles as a primary source of light. They were often made of wood or metal and were affixed to walls to hold candles or torches. This made them one of the earliest forms of lighting fixtures known to man. Over time, with the advent of electricity, sconces evolved to accommodate electric light sources, leading to a wide variety of designs and styles available today.

Here are some key points about sconce wall lights:

  1. Design and Functionality: Modern sconces come in various shapes, sizes, and designs. They can be simple and minimalist or ornate and decorative. Some sconces are designed to project light upwards, creating a soft ambient glow, while others may direct light downwards or in multiple directions.
  2. Placement: Sconces are versatile and can be placed in various locations within a home or commercial space. They are often found on either side of focal pieces like beds, fireplaces, or artwork. Their placement can help highlight specific architectural or design elements in a room.
  3. Types: There are different types of sconces available, each serving a unique purpose. For instance, sign sconces are used commercially to illuminate signs, posters, and billboards. Other types focus on providing ambient light or accentuating specific features in a room.
  4. Statistics: According to academic research, the use of sconces, especially LED lights, has seen a significant rise due to their energy efficiency and aesthetic appeal. In recent years, alongside sconces, track lighting has also become a favored choice among homeowners for its versatility and modern appeal. Moreover, the integration of LED profiles in sconces can enhance the overall aesthetic and provide a sleek finish to the lighting setup. Additionally, linear lighting solutions are merging with traditional sconce designs to offer a blend of modernity and classic elegance. For those seeking a contemporary touch, LED strip lighting is a fantastic choice, often used alongside wall sconces to create layered lighting effects. Similarly, LED panel lights are gaining traction for their sleek design and can be harmoniously paired with wall sconces for a cohesive lighting scheme. Additionally, integrating LED tube lighting with wall sconces can offer a unique blend of modern and traditional lighting elements. Moreover, for staircases, LED strip lights for stairs have become a popular choice, which can be aesthetically complemented with wall sconce lighting. In bedrooms, the use of LED strip lights for bedroom alongside wall sconces can create a cozy and inviting ambiance. For a more directed illumination, considering a spot lighting bar along with wall sconces can provide a balanced and flexible lighting solution. The shift towards sustainable and energy-efficient lighting solutions has further propelled the popularity of LED sconces.

In conclusion, sconce wall lights are not only functional lighting fixtures but also play a significant role in enhancing the aesthetics of a space. Whether you’re looking to illuminate a specific area or add a decorative touch to a room, sconces are a versatile and stylish choice.

wall sconce lighting
wall sconce lighting

How to Install a Wall Sconce Light

A wall sconce is a decorative light fixture that is mounted to a wall. Historically, sconces were used with candles and oil lamps, but modern sconces are typically electric. They can provide general room lighting and are commonly found in hallways and corridors. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to install a wall sconce light:

  1. Preparation: Before starting, ensure you have all the necessary tools and materials. Turn off the power to the circuit you’ll be working on to ensure safety.
  2. Choose the Location: Decide where you want to install the sconce. It’s recommended to place sconces 3/4 of the distance up the wall, measured from the floor to the ceiling. If installing multiple sconces, ensure they are spaced evenly.
  3. Install the Electrical Box: Modern lighting fixtures require an electrical box for installation. This box will house the wiring connections.
  4. Wire the Sconce: Connect the wires from the sconce to the wires in the electrical box. Typically, you’ll connect black to black (or red), white to white, and green or bare to green or bare.
  5. Mount the Sconce: Attach the sconce to the wall, ensuring it’s securely fastened.
  6. Test: Once installed, turn the power back on and test the sconce to ensure it’s working correctly.


  • Sconces can be placed on both the interior and exterior walls of buildings.
  • Historically, candle sconces were often made of silver or brass from the 17th century, with porcelain and ormolu coming into use during the 18th century.
  • Modern electric light fixture sconces are often used in hallways or corridors to provide both lighting and a point of interest in a long passage.

The Timeless Appeal of Wall Sconces

Wall sconces have been a staple in home lighting for centuries, offering both functional illumination and decorative appeal. Their history is rich, tracing back to ancient times when wall torches were essential for lighting dark interiors. Over the years, these fixtures have undergone significant transformations, adapting to the changing needs and aesthetics of different eras. Today, wall sconces are more versatile than ever, available in a myriad of designs that cater to various styles and preferences.

From Wall Torches to Electric Sconces

The journey of wall sconces began with simple wall torches that were used in ancient civilizations. These torches, often made of wood or metal, were mounted on walls to provide light in the absence of electricity. As time progressed and technological advancements were made, the transition from torches to electric sconces began. The modern electric sconces retained the charm of their predecessors while offering more consistent and safer lighting solutions.

Antique-Inspired Sconces: A Nod to the Past

Even in contemporary times, the allure of the past remains influential in design. Antique-inspired sconces evoke memories of bygone eras, capturing the essence of old-world charm. These sconces often feature intricate designs, ornate detailing, and materials that reflect the craftsmanship of earlier times. They serve as a bridge between the past and the present, seamlessly blending historical elegance with modern functionality.

Modern and Contemporary Sconces: A Blend of Tradition and Innovation

Modern sconces are a testament to the evolution of design. While they may draw inspiration from traditional styles, they incorporate innovative features and sleek aesthetics. Contemporary sconces often prioritize minimalism, with clean lines and unobtrusive designs. They come in a variety of finishes and styles, allowing homeowners and designers to find the perfect fit for any space. Whether it’s a simple minimalist sconce or a more elaborate design, the modern sconce is a celebration of both tradition and innovation.

Comprehensive Insights from Various Sources

Drawing from various online articles and scholarly sources, it’s evident that wall sconces have a multifaceted role in home lighting. They are not just mere light fixtures but are pieces of art that enhance the aesthetics of a space. For instance, the article from Flos highlights the importance of considering the design, functionality, and placement of wall sconces. Illuminate Vintage emphasizes the benefits of using wall sconces, such as creating ambiance, saving space, and offering versatility.

The Lighting Company’s guide sheds light on the technical aspects of wall sconces, emphasizing the importance of choosing the right bulb, understanding the IP rating, and considering the direction of light. House and Garden offer a visual treat with a gallery of wall lights, showcasing the diverse range of designs available in the market. Tom Raffield’s guide focuses on the materials and craftsmanship of wall lights, emphasizing the beauty of handcrafted wooden sconces. Lastly, Shades of Light provides a comprehensive style guide on wall sconce light fixtures, detailing the various elements that make up a sconce, from shades to backplates and arms.

In conclusion, wall sconces are more than just light fixtures. They are a blend of history, art, and technology, offering both functionality and beauty. Whether you’re drawn to the classic charm of antique-inspired sconces or the sleek elegance of modern designs, there’s a wall sconce out there that’s perfect for your space.

wall sconce lighting
wall sconce lighting

Key Elements of a Stylish Wall Sconce

Introduction: A wall sconce is more than just a light source; it’s a statement piece. Understanding its key elements can help you choose the perfect sconce for your space. Wall sconces have been in use for centuries, even before the advent of electricity. They were essential for keeping rooms well lit, with wall torches and candle holders being the primary sources of light. Today, sconces come in a variety of styles, from antique-inspired designs that evoke the style of pre-electric wall sconces to minimalist and contemporary designs that suit modern homes.

Sconce Shades:

  • Directing light with style: Sconce shades surround the light source and help direct the light. They are available in various materials like fabric, metal, and glass. The choice of material affects the amount of light the sconce emits.
  • The impact of fabric, metal, and glass shades: For instance, a sconce with a clear glass shade will cast light out into the room, making it suitable for bathrooms. In contrast, an opaque metal shade might only throw light directly down, making them ideal for desks or positioned above artwork.
  • Choosing the right shade for your space: The shade you choose for your sconce is one of its most striking aspects. Clear glass shades are particularly useful in bathrooms, where even light spread is essential. On the other hand, opaque fabric shades provide a soft ambiance, making them perfect for dim hallways or stairwells.

Sconce Backplates:

  • The anchor of the sconce: Backplates connect the light fixtures to the wall. They can range from subtle designs to dramatic statement pieces.
  • Exploring materials: Traditional metals like brass, iron, and wood are commonly used. However, there are also unique materials like mosaic tiles, art glass, or painted porcelain that can be used for backplates.

Sconce Arms:

  • The bridge between the shade and backplate: Sconce arms connect the light source and shade to the backplate. They can be fixed or moveable. If you prefer adjustability, swing arm fixtures are the way to go.
  • The aesthetic and functional aspects of sconce arms: The arm of a sconce can add considerable fashion or change the overall function of the light. For instance, swing arm wall lamps have adjustable arms, allowing you to position the lamp to suit your needs.

By understanding these key elements, you can make an informed decision when choosing a wall sconce that not only illuminates your space but also complements its overall design.

wall sconce lighting
wall sconce lighting

Choosing the Perfect Sconce Shade

The shade of a sconce plays a pivotal role in its overall appearance and the ambiance it creates. From trendy clear glass to opaque fabric, the choices are vast and varied. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you make the best choice:

The Allure of Clear Glass Shades: Brightness and Style

Clear glass shades are a popular choice for their ability to cast bright light across a space. These shades are especially useful in areas where even lighting is essential, such as bathrooms. When positioned correctly, clear glass sconces ensure that light is evenly spread across your face when looking into a mirror. The design possibilities are also vast, from rustic mason jar sconces to sleek dome glass designs. However, it’s crucial to mount such sconces slightly higher than eye-level to prevent the bulb from shining directly into one’s eyes.

Opaque Fabric Shades: Subtlety and Directed Light

For those seeking a more subtle lighting effect, opaque fabric shades are ideal. These shades block the light from shining directly out into the room, creating a soft ambiance. They are perfect for areas where a gentle glow is desired, such as dim hallways or stairwells. The Modern Classic Wall Sconce, for instance, features a half shade that washes the wall with a soft ambiance, casting both uplight and downlight.

The Harmony of Shade, Arm, and Backplate

The design of a sconce is not just about the shade. The backplate and arm play equally significant roles in determining the fixture’s overall look and functionality. For instance:

  • Sconce Shades: They surround the light source and direct the light. Their material, whether fabric, metal, or glass, affects the light’s dispersion.
  • Sconce Backplates: These connect the fixtures to the wall. They can be subtle or serve as dramatic statement pieces.
  • Sconce Arms: These connect the light source and shade to the backplate. They can be fixed or movable, like the swing arm fixtures.

When choosing a sconce, consider how these three elements interact. The shade often has the most significant impact on a sconce’s style. However, uniquely-shaped or boldly-accented backplates can add flair, and the arm’s design can affect how far the fixture protrudes from the wall.

In conclusion, sconces are a timeless lighting solution that can elevate the aesthetics of any space. By understanding the interplay between the shade, backplate, and arm, you can select the perfect sconce that not only meets your lighting needs but also complements your decor.

wall sconce lighting
wall sconce lighting

The Significance of the Sconce Backplate

The backplate of a sconce, often overlooked, can be a defining feature, adding character and depth to the fixture. Here’s a comprehensive look into the significance of the sconce backplate:

The sconce backplate is an integral part of the overall design of a wall sconce. It not only serves a functional purpose but also adds an aesthetic appeal to the fixture. The backplate can be subtle and unobtrusive or can act as a dramatic statement piece, depending on its design and material.

Traditional vs. Modern Materials: Sconce backplates can be made of traditional metals like brass, iron, and wood. These materials give a classic and timeless appeal to the sconce. On the other hand, modern backplates can be crafted from more unexpected materials like mosaic tiles, art glass, or painted porcelain, offering a contemporary touch.

The Charm of Rustic Wood and Iron Backplates: Rustic wood sconces, such as the Timber Bath Sconce, exude a rugged personality, making them a favorite for rustic, farmhouse, and boho eclectic decor aesthetics. Iron Candle Sconces, with their distinctive iron backplates, have an ageless appeal, and their dark finish offers versatility when paired with other décor elements.

Unique Designs: There are sconces that feature backplates made from mosaic tiles, art glass, or painted porcelain. For instance, the Ceramic Cylinder sconces bring a fashionable elegance with their soft glazed finish and dramatic yet gentle glow from their perforated ceramic shade. Porcelain wall sconces, like the ultra-modern Fitzgerald wall sconce, have a unique, feminine charm, making them a perfect fit in trendy spaces.

The sconce backplate, while often overshadowed by other components, plays a crucial role in determining the overall look and feel of the sconce. Whether you opt for a traditional design or a modern one, the backplate can significantly influence the ambiance of the space. By understanding its significance and choosing the right design, you can elevate the aesthetics of your interior decor.

The Role of the Sconce Arm

Introduction: The arm of a sconce can drastically alter its look and functionality. From adjustable swing arms to sleek fixed designs, the choices cater to diverse needs. The arm plays a pivotal role in determining the direction and spread of light, as well as the overall aesthetic of the sconce.

Swing Arm Sconces: Flexibility Meets Style Swing arm sconces offer the advantage of adjustability. These sconces can be moved or adjusted to direct light where it’s needed most, making them ideal for reading or task lighting. The flexibility of swing arm sconces allows homeowners to change the ambiance of a room with ease. Moreover, their stylish designs make them a favorite among interior designers and homeowners alike.

The Elegance of Long Arms and Unique Designs Long-arm sconces, often seen in contemporary settings, provide a touch of elegance and sophistication. These sconces extend further from the wall, casting light over a larger area. The unique designs of these sconces can serve as statement pieces, adding character to any room.

Accordion Wall Sconces: A Blend of Vintage and Modern Accordion wall sconces combine the charm of vintage designs with modern functionality. These sconces feature an extendable arm that can be adjusted to various lengths, similar to the mechanism of an accordion. They are perfect for spaces where the light source needs to be moved closer or further away from a particular area, such as over a desk or bedside table.

In conclusion, the arm of a sconce plays a crucial role in its functionality and design. Whether you prefer the adjustability of swing arms, the elegance of long arms, or the vintage charm of accordion sconces, there’s a design out there to suit your needs.

Technical Considerations Before Buying

Beyond aesthetics, it’s crucial to understand the technical aspects of sconces to ensure they fit seamlessly into your space and serve their intended purpose.

Installation Types

Plug-In vs. Hardwired Sconces: Weighing the Pros and Cons

  • The Convenience of Plug-In Sconces: Plug-in sconces are versatile and easy to install. They come with a cord that can be plugged into any standard outlet, making them ideal for renters or those who prefer a non-permanent lighting solution. These sconces can be moved around easily, offering flexibility in design and placement.
  • The Permanence of Hardwired Fixtures: Hardwired sconces are directly connected to the home’s electrical system. They offer a clean look without visible cords and are considered more permanent. While they require a more complex installation process, they provide a seamless appearance and are often more secure on the wall.

Switch Types

  • Pull Chains for Easy Access: Sconces with pull chains offer a vintage charm and are easy to operate. They’re especially useful in places where a wall switch isn’t easily accessible.
  • On/Off Switches for a Sleek Look: Some sconces come with built-in on/off switches, usually located on the fixture itself. This design provides a modern, streamlined appearance and is often preferred for its simplicity.

Dimming Capabilities

  • Setting the Mood with Adjustable Brightness: Dimmable sconces allow you to adjust the light intensity to suit different moods and occasions. Whether you want a bright light for reading or a soft glow for relaxation, dimmable sconces offer versatility.
  • The Advantages of Dimmable Sconces: Most modern wall lamps are dimmable or offer the option to install a separate dimmer switch. Lights with dimming capabilities allow you to experiment with their output, adjusting the intensity according to the time of day and the tone you wish to set in the space.

Dimensions and Placement

  • Finding the Right Size and Height for Your Sconce: The size and brightness of the sconce are crucial factors. For bedside sconces, ensure that the light is at eye level when sitting on the bed. For smaller designs, like those used in bathrooms next to mirrors, they should be mounted according to the user’s height.
  • Avoiding Common Placement Pitfalls: When installing wall sconces as a series, ensure they are placed at equidistant points. The distance between them should depend on the size of the room/wall and the desired effect. Upward-facing sconces should be approximately 20 inches from the ceiling to accentuate features like designer ceilings.

In conclusion, while the design and style of a sconce are essential, understanding its technical aspects ensures that it serves its purpose effectively and enhances the overall ambiance of the space.

Bulb Considerations for Wall Sconces

Introduction: The bulb used in a sconce can influence its light output, energy efficiency, and overall look. Making an informed choice can enhance the sconce’s performance and longevity.

Understanding bulb base sizes: The base size of a bulb is crucial as it determines how the bulb fits into the sconce. There are various base sizes available, and choosing the right one ensures that the bulb securely fits into the sconce, providing optimal light output. It’s essential to refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines or consult with lighting experts to select the appropriate base size for your sconce.

The benefits of LED sconce bulbs: LED bulbs have revolutionized the lighting industry with their energy efficiency and longevity. When used in wall sconces, they offer several advantages:

  • Energy Efficiency: LED bulbs consume significantly less energy than traditional incandescent or halogen bulbs, leading to reduced electricity bills.
  • Longevity: LED bulbs have a longer lifespan, often lasting up to 25,000 hours or more. This reduces the frequency of replacements, saving time and money.
  • Cooler Operation: Unlike traditional bulbs, LEDs operate at a cooler temperature, reducing the risk of overheating and ensuring the safety of the sconce and surrounding materials.

Customizing your sconce with the right bulb: The choice of bulb can dramatically influence the ambiance and aesthetics of a space. For instance, a warm-colored bulb can create a cozy atmosphere, while a cool-colored bulb can make a room feel more spacious and modern. Additionally, the bulb’s brightness (measured in lumens) can be adjusted to set the desired mood. Dimmable bulbs offer flexibility in adjusting the light intensity, perfect for creating different moods at different times.

From the historical perspective, sconces were traditionally used with candles and oil lamps. The modern electric sconces provide both lighting and a point of interest, especially in hallways or corridors. The light from sconces, especially those with reflecting backplates, intensifies the ambiance of a room.

Having journeyed through the intricate world of wall sconce lighting, it’s evident that these fixtures are more than just sources of light; they are statements of style and functionality. We urge you to take action, whether it’s incorporating a sconce into your decor or simply appreciating their historical significance. If you found this guide insightful, please share it on your social media platforms and let others in on the knowledge. We value your feedback, so leave your comments and opinions below. If there’s something you felt was missing or if you have further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. Your insights will only enhance our future content.


  1. What type of wall sconce gives the most light?
    • Wall sconces with half lamp shades tend to give off the most light as their unique shape allows light to bounce off the back as well as surrounding walls. Additionally, the design of the sconce shade or cover can also significantly affect the amount and direction of light emitted​.
  2. What is the advice on wall lights?
    • Wall lights can be applied in any room, both indoors and outdoors, and can work alongside ceiling lights to provide supplemental illumination. They can create a more atmospheric effect when used in place of overhead lighting and can help alleviate glare​.
    • The number of wall lights should correspond to the available space on the wall. For instance, a wall under 6 feet may require one wall light, while a wall measuring 7 to 9 feet may benefit from a pair of lights​.
  3. How do I choose wall sconces?
    • When choosing wall sconces, consider the space and the type of lighting needed. There are various types of wall sconces like Armed Sconce, Flush Mount Sconce, Half-Moon Sconces, Spotlight Sconces, etc., each with different lighting configurations like up-light, down-light, and all-around light to suit different purposes and spaces​.
  4. Do wall sconces provide enough light?
    • Wall sconces can provide sufficient light depending on their design and the number installed. They can brighten a room and create a pleasing atmosphere, especially when part of a layered lighting scheme. However, they may not provide as much light as overhead fixtures and might need to be complemented by other light sources for adequate illumination​.
  5. Can wall sconces light a room?
    • Wall sconces alone may not provide enough light to fully illuminate a room, but they can significantly contribute to the room’s overall lighting when used alongside other light sources like ceiling lights or floor lamps. They are more suited for creating a cozy or dramatic effect, highlighting architectural features, or providing task lighting in certain areas.

More Aritlce about Wall Sconce Lighting


About Gilbert

Our email: [email protected] Dear readers of Kosoom.uk! I am delighted to introduce myself as Gilbert, your dedicated source of enlightenment when it comes to LED lights. If you have questions about any LED lights, please feel free to contact us to our email: [email protected] We will give you a satisfactory answer as soon as possible. Hailing from the heart of England, I bring to you a wealth of professional expertise and a passion for all things LED. As an Englishman with a fervent interest in illumination technology, I have made it my mission to illuminate the path to understanding LED lights, tailored especially for the inquisitive minds of Britain. With a background steeped in the intricacies of LED technology, I stand ready to shed light on every facet of this brilliant innovation. Through my articles, I intend to guide you through the captivating world of LED lights, providing you with insights that not only unravel the science behind these luminous marvels but also highlight their practical applications and benefits in the UK context. In collaboration with Kosoom, I embark on this journey to demystify LED lights for you. Whether you're curious about the evolution of LED technology, eager to decipher the nuances of LED color temperatures, or seeking advice on optimizing lighting choices for your home, workplace, or public spaces, I am your trusted companion. My articles will offer you clear, concise, and expertly-crafted explanations that bridge the gap between complex technical jargon and approachable, relatable understanding. Stay tuned for a series of articles that will not only elevate your understanding but also brighten up your perspectives on the art and science of lighting.

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