Are Wall Sconces Still in Style?

Although wall sconces are spectacular in pretty much every way, the name itself doesn’t do much to entice new customers. The word “sconce” itself feels very old and outdated, refraining some from knowing more about them.

You may even be wondering, “Are wall sconces still in style”? If so, then the answer is yes! They are one of the leading light fixtures when it comes to home décor design and come in a wide variety of designs to meet any needs one may have.

To better understand the brilliance of wall sconces, it is important to understand where they came from. Let’s take a small dive into the amazing world of wall sconces.

Are Wall Sconces Still in Style?

Yes, wall sconces are still in style and will be for a long time to come. The only thing that is outdated about wall sconces is its name. The word “sconce” comes from the Latin word “Sconsa”, which means “to hide”. In the 14th century, it was used to mostly describe portable lanterns or candles but today, they are cutting edge light fixtures that provide both aesthetic appeals as well as great functionality.

Are Wall Sconces Still in Style

Why are light sconces so amazing? They not only illuminate the area perfectly but also allow you to create an ambiance you want through design and placement.

Many underestimate the power of light. When it’s just the right amount, it can uplift and motivate you or it can calm you down.

The key is to understand the intensity of light and knowledge about the proper placement of the fixture. In today’s modern homes, a single ceiling light is no longer considered to be sufficient and most interior designers believe that every home needs multiple light sources in a room rather than a single bright and intense one.

Here are 3 reasons why wall sconces will probably be in style for a long time to come:

  1. Design – Wall sconces come in an astounding variety of designs. No matter what idea you may have in your mind, there will be a wall sconce that can make it happen. Whether it is for your bathroom, bedroom or your reading nook, there is a wall sconce that will not only help you to get great lighting but also one that perfectly matches the ambiance you want to create.
  2. Illuminating Dark Areas – Although this may seem obvious for a light fixture, wall sconces are perfect for lighting up small dark areas such as your stairway, corridors and can be used even outside. You can also couple them up with PIR detectors so that they automatically get turned on once you walk near the sensors.
  3. Minimum Obstruction – Due to the way they are designed, wall sconces never get in your way unlike a table lamp or a floor lamp. They are always mounted on the wall and at a height where they don’t obstruct you while you walk near it. Due to their small size, it’s also more convenient to clean around them than traditional lamps.
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Different Types of Wall Sconces used Today

Here are some of the different types of wall scones you can buy today:

  • Down Light – These sconces cast the light downwards and are used usually in large rooms that feel empty. Having these scones will help to create a cozy and intimate ambiance in the room.
  • Up Light – These wall sconces cast the light in the upward direction and are ideal for small rooms as the upward light helps to make the room feel bigger than it is.
  • Up and Down Light – These sconces are an amalgamation of the down and up light wall sconces and help to get well-balanced lighting, especially for hallways and entryways.
  • Modern – These wall sconces usually come with a minimalist design and offer more functionality rather than aesthetics. Some of them come with very unique looks and so it would be wiser to see a 3D sample of how it would look before buying and installing them.
  • Rustic – These sconces provide a rustic look and feel to the room. They are used mostly with dark interiors and distressed furniture. They also look good in modern interiors but you will have to choose an appropriate design.

Plug-In Wall Sconces and Hardwired Sconces

One of the most commonly asked questions is which type of wall sconces one should get. Both types come in a wide variety of styles and designs and so aesthetically it doesn’t matter which one you get. The major difference between both of them is that the plug-in ones offer a temporary lighting solution whereas the hardwired ones are permanent.

So if you are staying in a rented house or apartment, then getting a plug-in wall sconce would be wiser as you can rearrange it whenever you like. These sconces feature a simple installation. When it comes to hardwired wall sconces, always call a professional electrician to install them.

Should Wall Sconces Face Up or Down?

There is no hard and fast rule that wall sconces should be facing only one way and not the other. Some wall sconces are designed to face up whereas others are intended to face down.

If your wall sconce burns fuel and is designed like a candle, then it should ideally be facing up. At the same time, if it runs on electricity and doesn’t have a specific design that requires it to face up or down, you can choose its orientation.

Most wall sconces are specifically designed to work better at a particular orientation and so it would be wise to read the label before installing them.

Best Uses of Wall Sconces

Sconces being a direct source of light can not only help with basic illumination but can also have a significant impact on the décor. They work very well in stairways, bathrooms or any room where you need a bit of decorative or ambient lighting. With positioning and type of design, you can use wall sconces to spruce up your place and get some great lighting in your place. Here are some of the best uses of wall sconces and the best placements for different scenarios.

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In the Bathroom

The bathroom is a great place to add wall sconces not only for some great lighting but also to create a great ambiance. However, placement is key here to get the most flattering light. The best way to install them is to have them mounted at eye level on either side of the mirror.

Do make sure that the sconces emit light outward and not directional (up or down). The standard mounting height of wall sconces in bathrooms is about 70 inches from the ground (from the floor to the middle of the light). If you don’t have sufficient space on either side of the mirror, then you can mount them on the adjacent walls on the sides of the mirror.

In Reading Nooks

If you have a comfortable reading nook in your house, then wall sconces are a great way to get some great reading light and to create a gorgeous ambiance. To get the right placement, you need to have someone sit and mark the spots 15 to 20 inches or so above their shoulders.

Do note that the ideal placement would be on the wall behind your chair or sofa so that the light falls gently onto your books. Directional wall sconces are what you should get for this purpose as you can change the orientation as per your liking.

In the Bedroom

Installing wall sconces on either side of your bed is also a great way to get a reading light as well as mood lighting in your bedroom. Here also directional sconces are preferred so that you can adjust the orientation to your liking. Placement is a little tricky here as you don’t want it to be too low where it obstructs your bedside table or too high where you cannot reach the switch while lying on your bed.

Since the height of the bed differs vastly from one household to another, one of the best ways to get the proper placement is to have someone sit on the bed and mark the spot a little above their shoulder.


While the word “sconce” may sound old, wall sconces are one of the best options to go for when it comes to ambient or mood lighting with a purpose. They have existed for hundreds of years and are still in demand for their unique timeless feel, great convenience and versatility in design. Whether it is for indoors or outdoors and antique or contemporary homes, you will always find a wall sconce that will perfectly create the ambiance you are looking for.

Wall sconces are one of the best light fixtures to have in your home if you want to have a great mixture of aesthetics as well as functionality. With the right design and placement, you can set the ambiance as per your taste along with a ton of comfort and convenience.

Placement however is extremely important and it’s always helpful to have someone with you so that you can measure the right height for mounting them. If you are inexperienced in installing light fixtures, do call an electrician to make sure that the fitting goes well without any hitches.

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