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Installing bathroom sconce lighting

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Transform the mood, style and decor of any room by installing sconce lighting

Transform the mood, style and decor of any room by installing sconce lighting

Wall sconces have become one of the most popular, contemporary styles of interior illumination fixtures. Sconce lighting, celebrated as an elegant decor accent, has proven particularly ideal for  hallways, stairways, bathrooms, and other architectural spaces that need soft, indirect accent lighting, or ambient background illumination.

Recently, wall sconces have gained rave reviews in prominent interior design, home decor and architectural publications, however, the history of wall sconces actually dates back thousands of years. Believe it or not, wall sconce lighting was one of the most functional and common methods for lighting ancient structures.

Egyptian temples and pyramids are some of the earliest landmarks featuring sconce lighting. During the Medieval and Renaissance periods in Europe, castles were illuminated with sconces. While large rooms and halls were typically lit with massive overhead chandeliers full of candles, sconces made of stone, iron or iron served to light the dark corners of hallways, staircases, and bed chambers. Generally, these sconces were carved or shaped to hold torches, which would be lit as natural light grew dim in the evenings.  

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Through history, the design and styles of wall sconces grew more elaborate; from carved stone and hammered iron to gilded, filigree, glass and mosaic designs. Today, sconces are available in a vast assortment of styles, colors, shapes, sizes, textures, finishes and specialty materials.

Whether you are installing bathroom sconces, hallway accents or utilizing sconces to light and accentuate artwork or architectural features in a larger room, there are some important tips to keep in mind.  

As a rule of thumb, sconces should be installed at a height of at least six feet above the floor. If a room contains vaulted or cathedral ceilings, it is advisable to position sconces even higher than six feet above floor level. Sconces that are set too low on a wall will simply look awkward. Low wall sconces also tend to make interior spaces appear smaller.  

Installing bathroom sconces is typically a question of properly framing and lighting a bathroom vanity area. A symmetrical pair of sconces will reflect light off the ceiling, and the bathroom mirror, thus providing ambient lighting as well as directional task lighting for personal grooming.


Sconces are particularly ideal for dim hallways or stairwells, where there is simply no space for standing lamps, and where overhead or recessed lighting may either be too bright, or impossible to  install. When installing hallway or stairwell sconces, care should be taken to select fixtures that do not protrude too far into a narrow passage way. This will lessen the likelihood of anyone bumping or injuring themselves on a sconce fixture.

In addition to installing bathroom sconces, and hallway or stairwell sconce fixtures, sconces can be utilized in a variety of other interior and exterior locations. Sconces, which can produce dramatic directed uplight, downlight or both, should be considered as d?cor accessories rather than primary lighting fixtures in a larger room.  

With this in mind, sconces should be used to accentuate architectural elements such as archways, vaulted ceilings or entry ways. Sconce lighting can also be used to make artwork or furnishings stand out. Sconces can also prove particularly functional and handy for elegantly illuminating dim areas around bookshelves, home stereo systems, wet bars, or in small rooms such as coat rooms, mud rooms even laundry rooms.  

Ultimately, sconces should be positioned to accentuate the focal points of a room, to frame a space, or to offer soft nuances of ambient lighting in dim areas, which makes them ideal bathroom lighting fixtures, as well as the perfect choice for other home lighting applications. If you are considering adding sconces to a home or other architectural space, it is important to understand that sconce lighting typically serves as soft, suggestive lighting, or glowing decor embellishments, rather than direct illumination. A well thought out arrangement of sconces can truly transform the mood and style of any room.

How to Install a Wall Light
Better Homes and Gardens: Adding Wall Sconces


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