Many ceiling fans are already pre-wired so that you can easily attach a light to them. After you select a lighted ceiling fan assemble any tools you need -- usually a screwdriver is enough -- and be sure the power to the ceiling fixture has been turned off. Instead of doing the work on a ladder, take the ceiling fan off the ceiling and assemble the ceiling fan light fixture on a table where it will be safer and more convenient. When connecting the wires, be sure to match black to black and white to white. When the ceiling fan with light has been reassembled, reattach it to the ceiling.
Before you start installing ceiling lights, check your local code to be sure solder-less connections are legal -- if they are, they'll speed up the process considerably. Also, double-check that power to the relevant circuit is turned off. Your ceiling light kit should come with a strap that will fasten to the two threads in the ceiling light box. There may also be a center stud in the light box, which you can fasten to the strap with a lock nut. This is recommended for heavier ceiling light fixtures. Study and follow the wiring diagrams that come with your ceiling mount fixtures. Be sure to connect black wires to black, white wires to white and green wires to green. (If you are color-blind, get help with this from someone who isn't, rather than trying to guess.)
Centuries ago, the first sconces held candles, oil lamps, or torches and many of today's sconces continue to evoke eras past.
Some contemporary wall sconces, of course, hold actual candles. While these are impractical for today's lighting needs, they make a pleasant addition to a dining room. Try a sconce set with delicately scented candles in your bathroom or any quiet, contemplative corner of your house.
In general, however, modern homeowners seek the look of candles without the smoke, wax and fire hazards. Today's fashions favor simple candle-shaped bulbs rather than the false-looking "flicker" bulbs that were popular in the 1970s.
A double wall sconce is an elegant way to light a hallway, dining room or even a baby's room. They work well in places where general light is needed, since their output tends to be less focused.
Use a double wall sconce when you have a larger wall space available for your light -- you don't want the sconce to get crowded out by doors, windows or artwork.
Double sconces tend toward the formal, but they don't have to be that way -- you can find a Western-themed double sconce for a rustic country-themed room, or even a fun double sconce with bronze elephants holding up the lights!
Battery-operated wall sconces are a great solution for places where it would be difficult to extend electricity -- for instance, if you're living in a rental property where you don't have permission to install new electrical boxes or switches.
For very simple battery-powered sconces, buy a set of stick-on "push" lights, then craft a shade out of attractive paper or cloth, or get creative and use whatever materials come to hand -- a cut-out section of a wicker basket, perhaps?
For a more elegant use of wall sconces, try Japanese-style lanterns on a screened porch or around a pool area.
There are a variety of wall sconces out there, so which one is right for your home?
A contemporary wall sconce can be stark or ornate, but always with an up-to-date sensibility that works well with today's open floor plans and neutral colors.
A traditional wall sconce offers an air of heritage and stability, blending into a room rather than standing out.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|