Choosing the Perfect Vintage Wall Sconces for Your Space

Choosing the Perfect Vintage Wall Sconces for Your Space

Proper home lighting is essential to your eye health, mood, and overall feel of your space. If you’re looking for a new and practical light source for your home, you might consider installing wall sconces. These vintage fixtures look fantastic in any room, especially bathrooms, living rooms, and hallways. How you place a sconce is unique to each room and its lighting needs. Consider how the fixtures will look with your general décor before settling on a style and location.

With style and lighting needs in mind, consider some of these tips for choosing the perfect vintage wall sconces for your space.

Light Direction

Before settling on a particular wall sconce for any room of your home, consider the direction you want the light pointing. You can install sconces that position the light in a few different paths:

  • Upward-facing
  • Downward-facing
  • Front-facing
  • Multi-directional


Upward-facing light sources can provide a larger area of light because they often shine on the ceiling. This path allows the light to spread out across a room unobstructed. Consider whether the space you’re lighting has tall ceilings or a sunroof before settling on this path.


Downward-facing light sources point toward the floor, providing a narrower beam of light for small spaces. If a room has a lot of furniture, the light will focus more on illuminating the objects. Installing downward-facing sconces on the outside of the home provides enough ground light for security purposes.


Front-facing sconces are great in areas where you need light to shine forward. This directional light pattern works well in bathrooms where you need to see yourself clearly in a mirror.


Multi-directional sconces feature the ability to point light in different directions from the same area. This type of sconce often features more than one bulb attached to the light fixture, enabling you to position the bulbs in several different directions at once.

After exploring light direction, consider the sconce design that would work best for your spaces.


As you think about your home’s lighting needs, you might consider several different wall sconce designs:

  • Candle
  • Lantern
  • Swing-arm
  • Wallchieres


Candle sconces are some of the oldest and most identifiable. Throughout history, these candlelit fixtures graced the rooms and hallways of castles and mansions. In modern times, light bulbs replaced wax candles as a light source for the sconce. Companies make candle sconces from brass, and they feature in homes for purely decorative purposes.


While more popular for outdoor residential lighting, you can enjoy lantern sconces indoors as well. The lantern design provides an abundance of light for hallways, dining rooms, and entranceways. Keep in mind that indoor lantern sconces might be challenging to find.


A swing-arm sconce features a moveable joint that allows you to move the light in multiple directions. A swing-arm sconce might be the best choice if you need lighting to enhance activities, like reading books. Some swing-arm fixtures can move horizontally or vertically.


Similar to candle sconces, wallchieres are lovely decorative pieces for your wall. These fixtures often resemble a torch and can spread light outward throughout a room.

In addition to several different designs, wall sconces come in different styles.

Mid-Century Modern

The design of mid-century modern lighting focuses on straight lines, neutral color tones, and geometric shapes. The metals incorporated in the build are on the warmer side, with brass and bronze as the main components.

Although a reflective chrome fixture isn’t uncommon, warmer metals create more visual interest when paired with pops of earthy colors, like mustard yellow and avocado green.

Many of the fixtures you see in this style rely on simple geometric shapes, like rectangles, squares, and circles, as the foundation to their unique structure. However, the lighting illuminates your space with a warm glow.


Modern sconces take a more minimalist approach. They often come in a silver and black finish, avoiding a more flamboyant style. A modern kind of sconce is more about functionality.

Once you know the features of most wall sconces, you can decide how to incorporate them into the rooms in your home.


A bathroom is ideal for sconce lighting because of how much light the right type can provide in a smaller room. You can reasonably install upward-facing or downward-facing sconces in your bathroom. But the front-facing light path is an excellent option for lighting objects in front of a mirror. Consider positioning the sconce lighting on either side of the bathroom mirror as opposed to above it.

A vintage sconce with warm-light bulbs would look fantastic in any bathroom. When installing your sconces, measure 5ft to 6ft from the ground to the center of the light source. Installing the sconces within this measurement will allow the optimum area of light.


Hallways are also ideal for sconce lighting. Multi-directional wall sconces are great options because they can guide light up across the ceiling and down toward the floor. Hallways lack light because they’re positioned in areas away from windows, and several individual sconce lights can help. Just remember to alternate them from one side of the hallway to the other, spacing them out evenly.

Before completing an installation, consider whether your hallway is too narrow for large sconces that might stick out too far from the wall.

Living Room

A vintage wall sconce in the living room can attract curiosity from guests. Similar to bathroom installations, position your living room sconces 5ft to 6ft from the ground. Consider placing some handmade wall sconces near focal points of the living room, such as a fireplace or piano. The artistry of a handmade fixture will complement paintings or photos on the wall.

Ultimately, the layout of your living room will dictate whether you want downward-facing or upward-facing light. An upward-facing sconce can make the living room space appear bigger than its actual square footage measurement.

Something To Consider

You can hardwire many wall sconces into the wall of a room. But you have options for turning one into a plug-in fixture. In addition, LED-powered wall sconces are dimmable, giving you another way to customize your light levels.

With a range of knowledge about choosing the perfect wall sconces, you might be ready to start installing. Keep in mind the lighting needs and measurements of your rooms and hallways before settling on a wall sconce style. A well-lit space can boost the appearance and improve the atmosphere of any room. Take your time and invest in a sconce fixture that will instantly grab attention.

Choosing the Perfect Vintage Wall Sconces for Your Space

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