Wall Sconces

All about decorative and contemporary wall sconces

Wall sconces are dual-purpose in your home decor — not only do they provide additional ambient light, but the many unique and attractive designs make them an art form that enhances your room's style, as well.

Types of Wall Sconces

Though you can find purely decorative wall sconces, most are fully functional at providing ambient or additional lighting. The type of sconce you choose often dictates the level of light you will get. The choices include:

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  • Candle Wall Sconces. Candle wall sconces are mostly decorative, as they don't generally produce a lot of light, and they also can be hazardous and are more difficult to maintain.
  • Globe or Shade Wall Sconces. Glass globes or fabric shades give these sconces the appearance of a table lamp without the hassle of finding the space. They can provide a lot of light, but because of the shades, they often direct light downward rather than projecting it outward.
  • Panel Wall Sconces. In a panel wall sconce, a fiberglass or glass panel conceals the bulb or candle while still allowing light to pass through. The light passes outward but is made more subtle because of the panel.
  • Directional Wall Sconces. These sconces feature "arms" that can be positioned in different directions to provide light over a larger area. They typically provide the most direct light of all the wall sconces listed.

Wall Sconce Designs

Classic and contemporary wall sconces are available in designs to suit any tastes. For a more traditional, elegant look, crystal wall sconces are always in style. Many look like miniature chandeliers, featuring dozens of crystals backlit with real or imitation candles, but you can find more modest interpretations as well.

In the modern design category, the options are almost limitless. Geometrics, intricate vines and simple blocks are all common modern wall sconce styles. You'll often find bold colors and unusual materials, such as wood, metal or even paper.

Placing Wall Sconces

Though often used as an accessory or simply a source of ambient light, wall sconces can also be used as task lighting. They're perfect for providing light around doorways or in small rooms where there is no room for a lamp.

In general, though, sconces are primarily decorative, so you can think about style first when you go to hang them. Matching sconces can be used to frame a piece of artwork or to provide balance over larger pieces of furniture, such as a hutch or sofa. Uniquely designed single sconces can serve as art themselves, hung as a focal piece on any wall.