Wall sconces offer the beauty and versatility of lamps without taking up the surface space. Use them alone or in pairs.
Wall Sconce Size
Wall sconces range in size from 4 1/2 inches to 17 inches wide and come in a variety of shapes, allowing them to fit in tight spaces. Smaller wall sconces are sometimes referred to as pocket sconces.
Types of Wall Sconces
Wall sconces mounted with the shades pointed up provide ambient and accent lighting, and those with the shades pointed down provide task lighting. Utilize both mounting options throughout your home for a mix of different lighting types. Use wall sconces in the bathroom, bedroom, dining room, foyer, hallway, living room or office. For more information on lighting your home, check out Home Lighting Tips.
Wall Sconces With Glass Shades
A wall sconce with a frosted white glass shade.
Wall sconces with glass shades are the most common type of wall sconce. Depending on how you mount them, they can provide ambient, accent or task lighting.
Wall Sconces With Fabric Shades
A wall sconce with a brown square fabric shade.
Wall sconces with fabric shades provide diffused light and work well in living rooms and bedrooms to provide ambient or accent lighting.
Wall Sconces With Cylindrical Shades
A white cylindrical wall sconce.
Wall sconces with cylindrical shades can be mounted vertically or horizontally. Use these to frame a bathroom mirror, or mount them above the mirror as well.
Wall Sconces With Curved Shades
A wall sconce with a curved shade.
Wall sconces with curved shades hug the wall and often have a decorative or themed shade. Frame the mantel with these to create a focal point in the living room and provide accent lighting.
Directional Wall Sconces
A wall sconce with a directional shade.
Directional wall sconces have a hinged shade, allowing it to move up and down. Mount these to the wall in front of a desk or next to the bed for task lighting.
Swing-Arm Wall Sconces
A black swing-arm wall sconce.
Swing-arm wall sconces have a hinged arm letting the light extend out, back, left or right. Choose from modern desk lamp styles or more contemporary models with fabric shades.
Candle Wall Sconces
A two-light candle wall sconce.
Candle wall sconces are designed to look like candles and come in one-, two- or three-light fixtures. Pair these with a matching chandelier in the dining room, or mount in the hallway for an old-world feel.
A dimmer switch allows you to change the mood of the room. Check the packaging to see if the wall sconce is dimmable.
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Wall Sconce Styles and Finishes
A wall sconce above a desk.
Shades: Wall sconce shades are usually glass or fabric. Many glass shades also have decorative metal work woven into the glass or encasing it. Popular wall sconce shades include:
Whiten opal etched glass
Finishes: Wall sconces come in a variety of finishes. Take a cue from the existing finishes in your home. If the door handles and cabinet hardware are all in brushed nickel, choose lighting fixtures in a complementary finish. Popular wall sconce finishes include:
If you find a wall sconce you like and need other lighting fixtures, check to see if it’s part of a collection. Lighting collections offer fixtures in the same style and finish for many areas of the home. For more information on lighting options, check out Lighting at a Glance.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for step-by-step directions, safety, warning and caution information. If in doubt, consult a qualified electrician.
Interior Lighting Install
Don’t forget light bulbs. Things like color temperature, lumens and wattage all play a factor in your room’s quality of light. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescents (CFLs) help lower energy costs. Both have a lower wattage but provide the same light output as higher wattage incandescent bulbs. LEDs are also cool to the touch. In general, look for a warm white color temperature for living rooms and bedrooms, a bright white color temperature for kitchens and workspaces, and a daylight color temperature for reading nooks and studies.