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Wall Sconces

Wall sconces are a very versatile type of light that can provide ambient, task or accent lighting to any space. Once used to hold candles and torches against the wall to light the way, sconces remain a very popular choice in lighting, although are available in a much wider range of practical styles and designs. Whether you want to use a wall sconce to illuminate a hallway or shine the spotlight on a piece of art, make sure you read the following advice about wall sconce lighting prior to making a purchase.

Why should I choose wall sconce lighting over other types?


Wall sconces are a great way to add lighting without taking up precious floor space, making them ideal for spots that are tight on space, like hallways. Sconce lights can used as ambient lighting, providing the main light source where you don’t need to go overkill on the illumination or perhaps don’t have the ability to install ceiling lights. They are also ideal for task lighting when you have limited tabletop space, like a reading nook or as a bedside lamp alternative. Try incorporating decorative wall sconces instead of simple overhead lighting to add style to an otherwise plain space. Check out our guide to the different types of lighting to see where to use wall sconce lighting in your home.

What styles of wall sconces are available?


Options are endless when it comes to wall sconces, making it easy to find a style to match the look you’re going for. If you’re in the market for rustic sconces, for example, an oversized cast iron fixture will provide ample, ambient lighting while lending the right look to your space. For a streamlined look, try adding modern wall sconces with clean, straight lines. Determine what’s right for you by first evaluating the size of the room you’re working in. Thinking about how you want the sconce lights to function will also help narrow down style selection. If they will act as a primary source of lighting, you’ll likely need more fixtures which might mean you want to go with something understated that doesn’t complete with existing decor. If the aim is to add complementary or accent light to the space, you may need less fixtures and can go with something a bit more bold or unique.

Where can I use a wall sconce?


A wall sconce can be used in any room in the home, but determine exactly what you want from your lighting to decide where one will work best for you. Sconce lights are great for accenting artwork and flanking headboards, as well as serving as great vanity lighting near a bathroom mirror. They’re also helpful in small entryways and narrow hallways or staircases where floor space is minimal but lighting is necessary.

Where exactly your sconce lights should be installed on the wall depends on the size of the room and their purpose. For general lighting purposes, they should be mounted 60 to 66 inches above the ground. Spread them anywhere from 6 to 10 feet apart: closer to 6 feet if you want more fixtures and thus more light, or closer to 10 feet if you prefer less light. If you’re installing bedroom sconces for nightly reading, place them within arms reach so turning them on an off is easy once you’re already in bed. For vanity wall sconces, place them right about eye level so you’re face is properly illuminated for any sort of bathroom tasks, like applying makeup.

What do I need to know about installing wall sconces?


Take into account whether your wall has been pre-wired to accept a wall sconce. If it hasn’t, you may need to hire a professional to help you install it since it will likely involve some rewiring. If you don’t want to deal with the extra expense and effort, seek out a plug-in wall sconce but make sure the cord will reach the closest outlet where you intend to use it. You should decide if you want a wall sconce with a switch before you invest in a hardwired or plug-in piece — if you’re using it as a bedroom wall lamp, a switch will be a lifesaver so you don’t have to get out of bed to turn off the lights or pull a plug.
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