Wall sconces have a bit of an uphill battle in contemporary interior design. Too many are too quick to write them off as “old school.” After all, they were once purely functional, lighting gloomy rooms, hallways, and staircases in the years of gaslight.
But, contemporary designers have done magic in combining eras, materials, and placement to resurrect their use and appearance. In short, wall sconces are not just space savers or hotel hall lighting anymore.
Space and spacing
Wall sconces do, in fact, save space by removing the need for end tables, table lamps, and overhead fixtures. Many sconces offer task lighting over a bed headboard, favorite reading chair, or desk.
A single well-placed sconce might mark a turn in a stairway or light a wet bar. The will light a space, but they can also define a space with the light washing the wall behind to add visual texture to a dark or monochrome wall treatment.
If your ceilings come in at about eight or nine-feet, you should mount a decorative sconce about three-quarters the way up from the floor. If, as in many homes, the ceilings are higher, place the lamp at so the sconce is no more than seven feet.
A task sconce would go above and to either side of the task it serves in bedroom, kitchen, bath, or office.
Sconces make an out-of-box statement
Ann Arbour, for example, is a diamond ring for your wall. A series of these could dramatize a gallery or hall, pair on either side of a dramatic mirror, or add magic to a contemporary bath. Absolutely simple and elegant in design, a painted antique bronze setting holds a gem forward to transmit, refract, and broadcast the light of single bulb. At 7.9-inches squared, Ann Arbour is small enough to engage and bright enough to make a sophisticated statement.
Or, you might consider the larger Maven WS. This elongated fixture (17.5" W x 8.75" H x 4" Deep) belongs at the top of a staircase, on either side of a fireplace, or in any contemporary décor comfortable with metallics. It’s a marvel of artistry and engineering, this apparently random scattering of “ice cubes.” Minimalistic yet multi-textured, the crystals float before a bank of four 40-watt bulbs that you can regulate with a dimmer. Simple yet bejeweled the Maven MS should be hung in pairs to balance the geometry of any setting. And, if you just want to break up a long wall, you can position them one-quarter of the distance from each corner.
Fool the eye
Wall sconces like these expand a room by enlarging the surrounding field of vision. They either make the room seem larger or direct your eye to a corner, path, or social area.
Brightly lit, they invite quests; softly lit, they comfort and guide. So, you might think about sconces as doing so much more than task lighting. Stand-alone, paired with each other, or matched to dramatic chandeliers or pendants, they could be the accents you have been looking for.