a sconce light shining from the top and bottom on a stone wall

Sconce lights

Originally contributed by • last updated 3/3/2021

Eglo Colombia

If you’re looking to update the lighting in your living room or family room, without having to install a chandelier from the ceiling, you may want to take a look at sconce lights. Quite often, when people think of wall sconces, images of tacky old theater lights or archaic torches on castle walls pop into their heads. Nowadays, though, sconce fixtures come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and styles to fit just about any interior or exterior design.


In the late 14th century, a wall sconce was quite literally defined as a “candlestick with a screen.” Today, the idea behind sconce lighting remains relatively the same, except changes in technology, designs, and styles have allowed for many more features and functions. That being said, most modern sconces are still designed so the light source is hidden behind a shade or a screen, directing the light outwards. Sconce lights are typically attached at about head level and can be used both indoors and outdoors. They are commonly found in bathrooms around mirrors and as exterior lighting around entryways. However, many people are now using them as accent lights in other areas of their home.

What’s The Best Way To Mount Sconce Lights?

Wall sconces might not be suitable in every room, but when they are installed properly they can have a very dramatic impact on the overall design. With modern sconces, the light source is often directed outwards by a screen or a shade so it’s important to mount them properly to get the best effect. Here are some tips for getting your sconce lights perfectly situated:

  • To start with, most sconce lights can be mounted so that the backplate of the fixture is set at roughly eye level. This will allow for the light to shine out and away from the eye instead of directly into it, creating a warming effect in the room.
  • Essentially, the shade or screen should sit slightly above or below eye level depending if the shade directs the light upwards or downwards. With some models, the light may be directed in all directions, making finding the right location more of a personal preference.