Wall sconces shown in navy master bathroom mounted next to mirrors

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Wall Sconces

Choosing the right wall sconces for your home can be a daunting task. With so many options available in the market, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. In this ultimate guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about choosing wall sconces that not only enhance the aesthetics of your space but also provide the right amount of lighting. From understanding different types of wall sconces to considering factors like size, style, and placement, this guide will help you make an informed decision that suits your personal taste and lighting needs.

Types of Wall Sconces

Wall sconces come in various types, each with its own unique design and functionality. Here are a few common types of wall sconces:

1. Candle Wall Sconces: These are traditional wall sconces that resemble candle holders. They add a classic touch to any space and are often used in vintage or rustic-themed interiors.

2. Plug-In Wall Sconces: As the name suggests, these sconces can be plugged into a power outlet. They are a convenient option if you want to avoid electrical work or if you prefer to move your sconces around.

3. Swing Arm Wall Sconces: These sconces feature a flexible arm that can be adjusted to direct the light in different directions. They are ideal for reading areas or spaces where adjustable lighting is required.

4. Upward and Downward Wall Sconces: These sconces are designed to direct light either upwards or downwards. Upward sconces create a soft ambient glow, while downward sconces provide focused task lighting.

5. Picture Light Wall Sconces: If you want to highlight artwork or photographs on your walls, picture light sconces are a great choice. They are designed to illuminate the artwork without casting shadows.

6. Outdoor Wall Sconces: These sconces are specifically designed to withstand outdoor conditions. They are commonly used to illuminate the exterior of a house, patio, or garden area.

Factors to Consider

When choosing wall sconces, there are several factors you should consider. These factors will help you make an informed decision and ensure that the sconces you choose meet your specific needs and preferences. Here are some important factors to consider:

1. Style: Consider the overall style and theme of your space. Choose wall sconces that complement the existing decor and enhance the aesthetic appeal of the room. For example, if you have a modern or contemporary interior, sleek and minimalistic sconces may be a good choice.

2. Size and Placement: Determine the size and placement of the wall sconces based on the available wall space and the purpose of the lighting. Consider the height, width, and depth of the sconces to ensure they fit well on the wall and provide adequate lighting in the desired area.

3. Lighting Needs: Think about the type of lighting you need in the space. Are you looking for ambient lighting to create a cozy atmosphere, task lighting for specific activities, or accent lighting to highlight certain features? Different types of wall sconces provide different lighting effects, so choose accordingly.

4. Power Source: Decide whether you want hardwired sconces that require electrical work or plug-in sconces that can be easily installed without any wiring. Hardwired sconces offer a seamless look and are a permanent fixture, while plug-in sconces provide flexibility and can be moved around as needed.

5. Energy Efficiency: Consider the energy efficiency of the wall sconces. Look for sconces that use LED bulbs, as they are more energy-efficient and have a longer lifespan compared to traditional incandescent or halogen bulbs.

6. Budget: Set a budget for your wall sconces and consider the cost of the sconces, installation, and any additional accessories or features you may need. There are wall sconces available in a wide range of price points, so you can find options that fit within your budget.

By considering these factors, you can narrow down your choices and select the wall sconces that are best suited for your space and lighting needs.

Placement and Installation

When it comes to the placement and installation of wall sconces, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind:

1. Height: The height at which you install your wall sconces will depend on the purpose of the lighting and the desired effect. As a general rule, sconces should be installed at eye level, which is typically around 60-66 inches from the floor. However, if you're using sconces for task lighting, such as in a bathroom or above a bedside table, you may want to install them slightly lower for better visibility.

2. Distance between Sconces: If you're installing multiple wall sconces in a row, it's important to consider the spacing between them. The general guideline is to space sconces about 6-8 feet apart, depending on the size of the wall and the desired aesthetic.

3. Wiring and Electrical Work: If you choose hardwired wall sconces, you'll need to consider the electrical work involved. It's recommended to hire a licensed electrician to ensure proper installation and compliance with local building codes.

4. Mounting Surface: Before installing wall sconces, make sure the mounting surface is suitable for the weight and size of the sconce. If you're unsure, consult with a professional or refer to the manufacturer's guidelines.

5. Switches and Dimmers: Consider the placement of switches and dimmers for controlling the wall sconces. You'll want them to be easily accessible and conveniently located.

Remember to always follow safety guidelines and consult with a professional if you're unsure about any aspect of the installation process.

Maintenance and Care

When it comes to the maintenance and care of wall sconces, there are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Cleaning: Regular cleaning is important to keep your wall sconces looking their best. Dust and dirt can accumulate on the surface, affecting the brightness and overall appearance. Use a soft cloth or a duster to gently wipe the sconces, avoiding any harsh chemicals that may damage the finish.

2. Bulb Replacement: Over time, the bulbs in your wall sconces will need to be replaced. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for the specific type of bulb required. Make sure to turn off the power and allow the bulbs to cool before replacing them.

3. Inspect Wiring: Periodically inspect the wiring of your wall sconces to ensure they are in good condition. Look for any frayed or damaged wires and replace them if necessary. It's always a good idea to turn off the power before inspecting the wiring.

4. Check for Loose Parts: Occasionally, the mounting screws or other parts of the wall sconces may become loose. Check for any loose parts and tighten them if needed to ensure the sconces are securely attached to the wall.

5. Outdoor Sconces: If you have outdoor wall sconces, it's important to protect them from the elements. Choose sconces that are designed for outdoor use and regularly clean them to remove any dirt or debris.

By following these maintenance and care tips, you can prolong the lifespan of your wall sconces and keep them looking beautiful.


Choosing the right wall sconces can greatly enhance the ambiance and functionality of your space. By considering factors like size, style, lighting needs, placement, and maintenance, you can make an informed decision that not only complements your decor but also provides the perfect lighting solution. Whether you opt for plug-in or hardwired sconces, remember to consult professionals when it comes to electrical work for a safe and seamless installation. With this ultimate guide, you are now equipped with the knowledge to choose wall sconces that will transform your home into a well-lit and stylish haven.

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