Modern Wall Sconces
Dating back to the 15th century, wall sconces were invented before the luxury of electricity came to exist. They were once simple candle brackets, usually constructed from wood or metal, that were affixed to the walls of homes and churches to illuminate rooms and hallways after dark. It’s safe to say: This type of wall light fixture has come a long way from its Middle English origins.
Modern home lighting has redefined the notion of a sconce. Though its roots recall a more primitive era, it is now largely thought of as a wall lamp. Designer wall sconces are a thoughtful touch in any room of the home. Illuminate a hallway with a series of LED wall lights; flank a master bed with mid-century modern wall sconces; or decorate a living room or study with a modern wall lamp or two.
These fixtures shouldn’t be relegated to a home’s interiors, however. Modern outdoor sconces can transform a patio, terrace, or deck with warm, soft light, too. Affix wall sconces near your outdoor dining area or seating arrangement to shed light post-sunset. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by just how many places a wall sconce can look right at home.
Types of Wall Sconces
Today, wall sconces are available in a plethora of types, styles, and finishes. Consider these options as you shop pieces for your home.
A plug-in wall lamp is a sconce that is not hardwired. This type is relatively easy to install since you don’t need an electrician to wire it. However, it does require a nearby outlet — and its visible wires don’t offer the same clean, streamlined look that you can achieve with a hardwired sconce. Next, a swing arm wall lamp works much like a swing arm floor or table lamp. It’s designed with pivot points and an adjustable arm that extends from the wall, allowing you to direct the light in various directions.
If you prefer an updated take on the classic Middle Ages design, opt for modern candle wall sconces and pair them with flameless flickering candles. A flush mount wall sconce does just as its name suggests: It mounts flush with the wall. Often, this type features a sculptural silhouette, such as a bubble fixture. Finally, a barn light wall sconce evokes an industrial-chic aesthetic, featuring a gooseneck arm and dome-shaped diffuser.
Once you’ve chosen a style that plays well with your home’s interiors, think about wall sconce placement. They’re a truly versatile fixture that will look equally chic in a bedroom, office, bathroom, or living room. As a unique design element, a wall sconce effortlessly provides luminous ambient light to your interiors — no candles required.
At Design Within Reach, we’re here to answer questions and more, with complementary design services to support you at every step of your interior design journey. Our staff of in-store design professionals can give advice and recommendations via chat, photos, and live video. They can also do 3-D renderings of your rooms so you can see how an arrangement might work. Look for the black chat icon at the lower right of webpages.