What are wall sconces?

A sconce, by definition, is typically a wall lighting fixture that is installed using the wall for support. Such lights are usually directed upwards and owe their existence to the pre-modern age, when fixtures like these were used to hold candles and torches. Modern wall sconces come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and generally require some sort of electric light source that connects within the fixture.

What is a wall light? What is the difference between a sconce and a wall lamp?

The terms “wall light” and “wall sconces” are often used interchangeably and essentially mean the same thing – a lamp that is mounted on a wall. However, if we were to go into the technical details, where a wall light differs from a sconce is in its make – its light source is usually covered, typically by glass. However, lights are rarely categorized based on these technical differences. Today’s lighting designers and manufacturers usually club sconces and wall lamps together.

Should I have wall lights?

Yes, adding wall lamps to your home décor is a good idea. Wall lights or sconces can add a fantastic layer of lighting to your ambiance, whether you wish to install them indoors or outdoors. Modern wall lights can elevate the lighting design and décor of any interior space, while also providing effective illumination in terms of ambient lighting, accent lighting or general lighting. When installed on the exterior walls, porch, deck, patio or driveways, wall sconces stand out as decorative pieces while also providing soft illumination post sunset.

Flos Pochette LED or Halogen Wall Sconce Wall Lighting by Rodolfo Dordoni

What are the different types of wall sconces?

Contemporary wall lights come in various shapes, sizes and makes. Here is a quick round-up of the most popular and common types of wall sconces:

  • Flush mount wall light
  • Semi-flush mount wall light
  • Spotlight sconce
  • Armed sconce
  • Recessed light sconce
  • Lantern-type wall sconce
  • Half-moon sconce
  • Floodlight sconce
  • Wallchieres
  • Candle sconce
  • Picture light

The materials that wall sconces and lamps are typically made from include:

  • Metal
  • Glass
  • Ceramic
  • Crystal
  • Plastic

Lighting design companies like FLOS are known for their massive range of wall sconces and wall lights crafted by the best designers in the world. These collections feature a variety of sconces and lamps, including iconic designs such as the Mini Glo-Ball Sconce, IC Lights, Pochette, On the Rocks, Tilee and WireRing.

Wirering Wall Lights wall sconces by Formafantasma

How and where to use wall sconces?

While you can let your imagination and creativity take over when it comes to figuring out where you want to install wall lights, the general consensus and design thinking dictates that certain types of wall sconces are to be used for specific purposes. For example, a picture light is typically used for highlighting a portrait, painting or piece of art that is hung on the wall. Similarly, sconces that provide uplighting are generally preferred as the primary or secondary source of illumination in driveways, porches, stairways, entryways, hallways, corridors or large dining/living rooms. You will also find some wall sconces that are specifically designed to cater to the needs of a particular room. The WireRing lamp, for instance, is apt for ultramodern living rooms or swanky office cabins.

Flos Mini Glo-Ball C/W Modern Wall Sconces

How do you install wall sconces?

Some wall lights are fairly simple to install while some others may have a really complex assembly and installation process. While you will get an exhaustive user manual or installation guide from the manufacturer or seller, it is recommended that you get the lamp installed with the help of a lighting professional. Would you rather rack your brains on which wire goes where than call an expert and get it done quickly and efficiently?

At what height should a wall light be? How far apart should wall sconces be?

When you talk about wall sconces as a series of wall lamps, it is important that you make sure they are placed and installed at equidistant points. How far from each other they should be would largely depend upon the size of the room/wall and the kind of effect you wish to achieve. In terms of the mounting height, remember that upward-facing sconces should be approximately 20 inches from the ceiling. Since they are throwing light upwards, such lamps can accentuate the beauty of a false ceiling or designer ceiling. For bedside sconces, make sure that the light is at eye level when you sit on the bed. For smaller designs (generally used in bathrooms next to the mirror), they should be mounted according to the user’s height.

265 Wall Lamp by Paolo Rizzatto - Living Room Lights

What does wall wash lighting mean?

Wall washing or fill lighting refers to a method that is sometimes used in order to illuminate flat walls, distributing the light evenly from the floor to the ceiling. Wall wash lights can help draw your attention to a large part of a smooth surface – generally an indoor wall. Modern wall lamps offer LED light options, too, when it comes to wall washers.

Purpose, size and brightness

It is essential that you first determine what your purpose for buying a wall light is. This would largely depend on assessing your needs, putting down your design and décor plan on paper and gauging what kind of wall lighting you need. The type, size and brightness of the wall sconce are all important factors for consideration once you establish your unique needs. Most modern wall lamps are dimmable, or at least offer you 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 the day and the tone you wish to set in the said space.