The Sconce How-to Guide


Most of the more modern homes I see nowadays have failed to include what I consider to be one of the most important lighting elements in virtually any room of the house: sconces or wall lights.

I feel that sconces form a vital component of home lighting and should be considered an essential, not just a nice to have. There are three reasons I believe this.

Pair of G. Leleu French Art Deco Sconces

Pair of G. Leleu French Art Deco Sconces

One: sconces provide the perfect combination of additional and alternative lighting sources. They easily help brighten a room if the overheads aren't doing the job, and are perfect for providing lower levels of mood lighting when the overheads are off.

Two: sconces are an attractive style element all on their own that adds to and can help cement your personal style. What better way to show off your Art Deco or Mid-century Modern prowess than with  perfectly designed, authentic wall sconce? 

Three: sconces are great space savers. If your room needs extra lighting but you dont have enough space for table or floor lamps, sconces are the perfect choice, because you don't need extra surfaces or any floor space to install sconces.

Set of Three American Art Deco Sconces

Set of Three American Art Deco Sconces

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your sconces.

Have the talk

The first thing to do, especially if your home doesn't currently have sconces, is to talk to an electrician about installing them. They will advise you about what is possible, particularly in terms of placement, and how much it will cost you.

Installing sconces may require some rewiring, so always use a qualified, properly accredited electrician to do any of this kind of work. 

Pair of Italian Mid-Century Corner Sconces

Pair of Italian Mid-Century Corner Sconces

The bright and the dim

While chatting to the electrician, make sure to ask about dimmer switches. One of the best ways to create mood lighting is to use dimmable sconces to control your lighting levels in any room.

Just remember, if you get a dimmer switch installed along with your new sconces, you will need to get compatible light bulbs. Make sure you have an easily available supply source in the night size and style for your chosen sconces. 

Pair of French Art Deco Theater Sconces Iron Nickel over Bronze

Pair of French Art Deco Theater Sconces Iron Nickel over Bronze

Size and style

Sconces come in many shapes, styles and sizes. Make sure to choose yours carefully to suit your needs. If your space is limited, choose sconces that don't protrude too far into the room, while high ceilings lend themselves to tall, majestic sconcing.

Also, make sure to try and match them to your ceiling lights or chandeliers, and if you can't match, make sure they complement one another.

Choose the right style and placement for your sconces and they will give you many years of perfect lighting joy.

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  • Matthew Pillet
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