Girlfriends Guide to Good Lighting-Sconces

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Good lighting is generally close to the top of every designers list when it comes to creating a warm inviting atmosphere. It’s not rocket science - we all look better when the lighting is flattering and our homes are more inviting when there are no dark, unlit corners. One of the easiest ways to add a touch of light right where you need it is to install a sconce. In this post I will share a few of my favorites and discuss the best ways to hang them and some places you can use sconces that you may have not considered.


How high you hang a sconce depends on the purpose of the lighting. If a sconce is just for mood or additional lighting, as a general rule install at 66” to 72” above the floor. This can be adjusted slightly higher if your ceilings are vaulted.

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If you are using a sconce for task light while you are seated in a chair, your height will be closer to 48” above the floor. This accordion wall sconce works really well as a desk lamp or a reading lamp for the adjacent chair.

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In a bathroom, putting sconces on either side of a mirror at eye level, will cast the most flattering glow on your face. It’s not as big a deal in kid’s bathrooms. Their faces gennerally look good in any lighting, but for those of us north of thirty, (I’m way north) we need all of the help we can get.

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To Wire Or Not To Wire

When possible I will always have my sconces installed and ideally connected to a switch with a dimmer. However, if that isn’t possible, it’s completely acceptable to cover the cord, plug it in and move on. Another option, that I have done in my house, is to use battery operated candles with remotes. The first two photos in this post are sconces with battery operated candles. I fell in love with the palm leaf sconces in a thrift store but had no way to wire them. The same is true of the pagoda style sconces in my dining room. Sconces with battery operated candles do not provide task quality lighting, but they do give off a beautiful glow in the evening and as a bonus are super easy to install.

Out Of The Box Placement

Let’s look at a few creative ways to use sconces.

Charlotte, NC based interior designer Amy Vermillion uses sconces in creative ways. As seen below, I love how she has installed them on either side of the kitchen hood in one of her projects.

She has also creatively placed them over the doorway and on the side of the cabinetry.

Current Favorites

The following are a few of my current favorites.

If your needing a little extra light in your life, try adding some sconces. Thanks for reading.