Living Space

How to Choose the Right Wall Sconces for Your Home

Whether you’re looking for accent lighting, ambient illumination, or directed task lighting, wall sconces are the perfect solution. But with so many options available, how do you choose the right ones for your home?

Personal style should always play a role in design choices, including light fixtures. Consider these tips when shopping for wall sconces to help you make the best decisions for your space.


Incorporating LED wall sconces in your home can be a great way to create soft shadows, highlight artwork and architectural elements indoors or out, illuminate a hallway, or even act as a nightlight. These lamps can be found in various shapes, sizes, and finishes to complement your existing furnishings.

You want to position the sconce so that the light source is at a comfortable reading level. This can be determined by sitting in your normal resting position and measuring the distance from your eyes to the top of the sconce.

If you need more directed task lighting, choose sconces with longer arms that can be adjusted or ones that feature shield-style shades that help to focus the light where you need it most. If you want a slimmer silhouette, consider ADA sconces designed to extend less from the wall. This helps lower the risk of protruding designs, creating safety concerns.


When choosing a wall sconce, style is essential. The look should complement the room and the light fixtures you already have, blending to create a cohesive space.

For instance, if you have chandeliers with a globe shape, you can choose sconces with a similar shade design for consistency. You can also find a fixture with an unusual silhouette, like this full-circle sconce, to add something eye-catching to your home.

If you have a contemporary or minimalist aesthetic, consider flush mount sconces with sleek designs and metal finishes. These are the least intrusive type, making them fantastic for hallway lighting where you want to minimize visual distraction.

On the other hand, rustic or country-style sconces with organic shapes and rustic materials like wood are popular in quaint homes. They work well as accent lighting, illuminate a gallery wall, or showcase family photos. Many of these sconces also have downlights to provide task lighting.

Light Bulbs

Typically, wall sconces come with a light bulb included. Some are designed to cast lighting upward, and others downward. Some sconces offer both options and can be switched from one to the other based on your preference after purchase.

Many sconces feature shades that are uniquely shaped. Some, like this Full Circle Sconce, feature a cylindrical shade suspended from an arm accented with a small ring. This design complements the sconce’s backplate and creates a unified look that would be perfect next to a living room mirror or oversized art piece.

Other sconces have backplates made from traditional materials like brass or iron. These designs create a classic silhouette that fits modern, transitional, and rustic home styles. Sconces with backplates crafted from mosaic tiles, art glass, or painted porcelain add a chic, eclectic touch. Make sure the sconces you choose to blend with other light fixtures in the room before making your final decision. Layered lighting is an essential component of any well-lit space.


Depending on the location of your existing electrical outlets, you’ll need to determine whether you want to choose a plug-in fixture or hardwire your new sconces. Plug-in sconces offer a more affordable option, but you’ll need an electrician to install a junction box if there isn’t one already in place.

Most wall sconces work best in pairs, flanking a mirror or piece of art, highlighting a fireplace, or adding visual symmetry to a room’s focal point. The ideal height for a wall sconce is between 6-1/2 and 78 inches above the floor. It’s important to avoid mounting a sconce so high that it will be difficult to reach and must be adjusted frequently.

When shopping for new sconces, look for finishes coordinating with your home’s other light fixtures. Layered lighting is ideal for most interior spaces and can make a space feel more significant, inviting, and functional. When determining how many sconces to purchase, think about the length of the room or hallway and aim for one every 8 to 10 feet.


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