Read these 13 Wall Lamps Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Lighting tips and hundreds of other topics.
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.
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.
Don't let your bedroom be gloomy! People typically spend more time in their bedrooms than any room in the house. If lighting is an issue, adress it right away. There's no reason why the place that is intended to be the most comfortable room in your home should be dark and dreary.
If overhead lights or standing lamps aren't your cup of tea, consider finding wall lamps to install. Wall lamps give off ample light without taking up ample space. And, if you like to read in bed, placing a swing arm wall lamp next to your sleeping area can make nighttime reading so much more enjoyable (when you can read the words).
Finding Wall Lamps: That medieval castle or Victorian torch look can be yours if you choose brass or gold filigree candle sconces. While you don't want to create a Liberace lighting effect, candle wall lamps can be fun in kitchens, bedrooms, hallways, and dining rooms.
Just make sure wax doesn't drip on the walls, and use a wide base to protect against wax and fire damage. A glass cover will give that hurricane lamp look. If candlelight is a bit too hazardous or, dare we say it, “old school” for you, the Candle Light Collection Wall Sconce has a "candle" shade lit from within by a 75-watt bulb. Still, for romance, candlelit dinners can't be beat.
Chronically sleep-deprived Americans read reports in bed, work on laptop computers, sew...is it any wonder that we choose brass swing-arm wall lamps that provide flexible task lighting? To sleep better, you may have to give up your contemporary steel and glass sconces that look terrific next to your entertainment center (TV in the bedroom is a no-no), but if you can't, a dimmer switch will dampen your enthusiasm for staying up late.
For people seeking to rest more easily and sleep deeply, traditional lighting may be the answer. You can keep the swing-arm lamp but replace the bulb with a lower wattage if possible or candle-shaped bulbs. Parchment shades create more of a subdued warm effect that makes you feel relaxed rather than revved up. Supplement your swingarm lamp with elaborate wall sconces that have multiple low-wattage light bulbs to soften the light level. Put down that techno-thriller, techno-budget, or crocheted scarf. Snuggle up to your sweetheart and enjoy the ambience.
Finding Wall Lamps: Mission style wall lamps and wall lighting wasn't approved by NASA nor is it the lighting preferred by religious missionaries. It's simply the same as the Arts and Crafts movement popularized in the early 20th century by Frank Lloyd Wright, who first called in Prairie School architecture.
Now, Mission style lighting is everywhere, in indoor and outdoor wall sconces and garden or path lanterns. The classic perpendicular intersecting lines and geometric forms are quintessential American style perfect for contemporary homes. When finding wall lamps, don't think that Mission means square (even though Mission sconce lighting sometimes is blocky). Mission-style wall lighting includes contemporary iron wall sconce lighting and wall lamps such as the Mission-Style Tiffany Glass Plug-In Swing-Arm Wall Lamp. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to decorate your home according to a classic American home decor movement.
Try finding wall lamps to highlight that series of nature photos you took on the Serengeti or those family keepsake photos. Surrounding photos with the right kind of lighting can bring them to life by turning them into focal points.
In addition to picture lighting wall lamps, you'll need recessed ceiling lighting—PAR halogen lamps or MR16 low voltage halogen lamps work best. Position them above the photos so they blend with your wall lamps or sconce lighting to "vanish" the wall. And you thought only Hollywood could create special effects with photography!
Let's face it, light is a necessity. Most people could not function in a poorly lit home. What if, however, space was limited? Will you be forced to be crowded or left in the dark? Relax, you have other options. Table lamps aren't always convenient, especially when you don't have much space to work with.
If compact is what you want, try finding some wall lamps. Wall lamps come in a wide variety of styles and are made from various materials. Pick some that work with your decor (make sure they match your color scheme and mesh well with your furnishings).
*Wall lights are especially useful along dark staircases. These little gems can provide subtle illumination that can help prevent accidents.
Finding Wall Lamps: We've sung the praises of the dimmer switch, but we're not through giving you options to flex your power. Plug-in dimmers can keep you from climbing the walls figuring out how to lower the bills from your sconce lighting and wall lamps. You can connect a table-top dimmer control to the same outlet as your Tropical Wicker Plug-In Style Swing Arm Lamp. You love the tropical look and you love wicker, so you have several wicker lampshade tropical wall lamps in the same room.
While you can't control the light level from your Tahitian wall sconces with a dimmer, you can install table top dimmers on every outlet where you presently or might one day have a tropical wicker wall lamp plugged in. Save energy and shop for tropical wall lamps to your heart's content!
Finding Wall Lamps: You have marble or stone columns in the front of your home. Statues of fauns and nymphs play with Greek gods in your garden. You even saw "Alexander" and "Troy." How can you make your house more classical, or bring a little piece of Rome into your home? Buy Greek bronze and alabaster wall sconces to light your temple or bedroom and bathroom.
You can actually alternate with Tuscan style sconces to get the full Mediterranean charm. Faux alabaster Corinthian column wall sconces create that ancient Athens atmosphere. Add a few grape leaf sconces for that Dionysus/Bacchus wine party (bacchanal) effect. You're not decadent; you're just devoted to the classics. So, read Homer and Plato, sip ouzo and enjoy an ancient Greek refuge from modern times.
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!
Finding Wall Lamps: You fell in love with those wide double bronzework wall sconces, but are they too ornate for your house? Not at all! Wide double bronzework wall sconces are ideal for the dining room, especially to showcase that side buffet with the gleaming crystal and china laid out for a family dinner or holiday party.
Flank the side buffet with double bronzework wall sconces on both ends. Bronze or iron sconce lighting adds elegance to modern decor. Wide double wall sconces may not work everywhere in the house. They add that grand hotel feeling to long hallways, but will be too heavy for bathrooms and some family rooms. They're superb in great rooms and may add romanticism to a large master bedroom.
*Try leaf motifs, which give the sconces symmetry. Alternate with single sconces… particularly in a large room. Double the sconces—double the fun!
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.|