Types of Wall Sconces: Buyer's Guide

Proper lighting for your home or any commercial establishment is one of the most basic necessities you have to address when you are decorating or redecorating. There are various ways to tackle this, you can install chandeliers, pendant lights, lamps, or wall sconces.

If you have a small space in need of lighting, you can check out wall sconces.

What are Wall Sconces

Traditionally, a wall sconce is known as a bracket mounted at the wall which holds a candle or any light source, like torches. Today, a sconce is basically a lighting fixture installed on a wall. Modern wall sconces come in various types, styles, and designs.

The main purpose of a wall sconce is to illuminate and save space. It is perfect for foyers lighting, bedrooms, corridors, or hallways or room with small or narrow spaces. Wall sconces are commonly chosen by home decorators, contractors, and homeowners because they are great for indoors or outdoors and for home or commercial establishments. 

Indoor vs Outdoor Wall Sconces

There are not a lot of differences when it comes to indoor and outdoor wall sconces. The main difference between these two sconces are they are sometimes designed and made to mount distinct surfaces. Also, outdoor sconces are usually made from noncorrosive and waterproof materials and able to withstand any element.

Outdoor Sconces Indoor Sconces
Aesthetic More Rugged Sophisticated, Elegant, Welcoming
Materials Use Water and Corrosion Resistant Materials Metal, Fabric, Glass, Etc.
Bulbs Depends on the Sconces' Requirements Depends on the Sconces' Requirements
Power Source Depends on the Sconce Depends on the Sconce

6 Common Types of Wall Sconces

Wall sconces are an excellent and space-efficient way to add personality and ambiance to your place. The light illuminates without hindering or consuming a lot of space. They are commonly seen in narrow places, like hallways and corridors, and bathrooms. There are a lot of choices in the market and it can be a lot of working to choose the perfect one for you. So, we are here to make it easier, these are 6 common types of wall sconces for you to choose from!

Armed Sconces

     Library Adjustable Wall Lamp by House Of Troy PL20-OB         Pinnacle Halogen Swing Arm Wall Lamp by House Of Troy PIN475-AB     Wall Swing Arm Wall Lamp by House Of Troy WS731-ABBLK

Armed sconces are basically designed to be attached to your walls. They are commonly installed in the bedroom, beside the bed, or above your bedside table. This type of light is great for avid readers because they are very accessible and easy to turn on and off. You do not have to leave your bed just to turn the lights off.

However, armed sconces do not give a lot of spread of light. So, they may not be the best choice for areas that require a large amount of illumination.

Before you buy armed sconces, it is best to consider the length of the arm of this light fixture when it is fully extended. Also, it is wise to think about where and how you are going to use this to help you choose the lighting you need.

Candle Sconces

     Shorecrest 2 Light Wall Bracket From Allegri by Kalco Lighting 090022       Mendelssohn 3 Light Wall Bracket From Allegri by Kalco Lighting 10493      Ibiza 2 Light Wall Bracket By Kalco Lighting 4258

Candle sconces design is inspired by the traditional and classic use of wall sconces --- to hold torches and candles. They add a timeless and vintage touch to your space without being too overpowering. 

This type of wall sconces are not all traditional in design, a lot of sconces have a modern and contemporary style, as well. There are a lot of combinations to choose from --- various finishes, designs, materials, and styles. So, we are sure you can find the one that fits your home decor and theme.

Though candle sconces are great for adding ambiance and welcoming feel to any area, it is not the best choice if you want it to be the main source of illumination in your space. This wall sconce typically emits smaller amounts of light compared to other types.

Flush Mount or Half-Moon Sconces

     Gramercy 1 Light Ada Wall Sconce By Kalco Lighting 501921        Constellation 3 Light Wall Bracket - Flush Mount From Allegri by Kalco Lighting 11630         1-Light Mahogany Bronze Giselle Sconce by Framburg 3471

As the name suggests, flush mount sconces are mounted flush on the wall. They are a great source of illumination to any area in your home. This type provides a broader and even illumination compared to the first two types.

A lot of people think of half-moon when they hear "wall sconces". Half-moon sconce is a type of flush mount and is usually in the shape of a bowl the opening facing upward with rounded bottoms and flat open tops.

Both the flush mount and half-moon sconces cast an inviting but bright, broad, and even glow to any space. It is a perfect source of primary light in any room in your home.

Lantern Sconces

     1-Light Antique Brass/Clear Glass Hammersmith Sconce by Framburg 4431        Winchester Large Wall Bracket By Kalco Lighting 403323       Anastasia Outdoor 2 Light Large Wall Bracket By Kalco Lighting 9413

This type of wall sconce is inspired by the handheld lanterns in the old and ancient days. It brings its own unique touch to any space you installed it in. They are commonly made from durable and versatile materials, so no need to worry about where you can install them because they are perfect everywhere. 

At first look, people might think lantern wall sconces are only great for traditional or old-themed houses. But as time goes by, more and more modern and contemporary lantern sconces are added to the market almost every day. So, whether you are looking for a more classic lantern sconces to a more modern one, you can be sure to find what you are looking for depending on your budget and home theme.

Lantern sconces are a great choice for outdoor lighting. They are very reliable and versatile. If you are looking for a primary light source, whether indoor or outdoor, you might want to consider looking at lantern wall sconces.

Recessed Sconces

     Spring Wall Sconce reFusion Collection by A19 Lighting RE111-SG-WF       Prive 16 Inch Bath Light From Allegri by Kalco Lighting 028722       Vermeer 4 Light Wall Bracket From Allegri by Kalco Lighting 11192

Most of the recessed wall sconces are installed behind the wall in contrast to mounted on the wall. Because of this, recessed sconces require hardwiring. If you are not a professional electrician, you will need to hire one. So, unless you are doing construction or major rewiring in your home, you might have a limited space where you can install recessed sconces.

Design-wise, they are often simple and facing downward perfect for adding ambiance and welcoming glow to any area. 


     Santa Barbara 2 Light Long Wall Sconce By Kalco Lighting 814       Monaco 1 Light Wall Bracket By Kalco Lighting 6011        Muirfield Wall Scones By 2nd Ave Lighting 156674

The term wallchiere came from "wall lamp" and "torchiere". This type of wall sconce has a resemblance to torches but with a more decorative style and intricate details. They are like torchiere lamps but without occupying any floor space. Which is great if you have small or narrow spaces and looking for home decor and light fixture.

Traditionally, wallchiere is a bit fancy and it is very hard to find casual or unique ones. But nowadays, you can find wallchiere almost everywhere in a wide array of designs, styles, finishes, upward or downward-facing, and more to choose from. 

Wallchieres are usually installed indoors because they have wide and strong illumination great for any room or space. It can also be used outdoors, but you have to be careful. You need to check the materials used before you install them outdoors. Typically, when you are looking for outdoor wall sconces, the materials used should be corrosion and water-resistant to avoid short circuits and malfunctions. 

If you are looking for more subtle lighting, this might not be for you.

Choosing the Best Wall Sconces for You

With a lot of options in the market, you can find almost any wall sconces in any style, design, look, or plug type. But here are 4 things you need to consider when buying your wall sconces, whether for your home or commercial establishments.


First and foremost, you need to know where you are going to install the sconce. Wall sconces provide light without interfering with your movement. Which is great for narrow foyers and hallways. You also need to consider what kind of light do you want, ambient or task lighting.


You need to properly measure the size of the sconce and the space in your wall where you will install it. Also, consider the decor in that space to make sure your wall sconce will not overpower your other decorations or look out of place.

Overall Aesthetic

Determine what color palette will look great with your other furniture or decor. Also, you need to know what theme your space has. Everything should be harmonious. You wouldn't want chaotic decoration at your hands.


Most wall sconce will need you to hire professional electricians but some are plug-in types as well. If you want an easy and fast installation, you might want to consider plug-in sconces. But if you are looking for a cleaner look, you might want to consider cordless ones which will need you to hire an electrician to hardwire it to your electrical outlet.

Best Wall Sconces for You...

If you want to limit your choices more, you can check out these brands famous for their wall sconces.

Finding the right wall sconce doesn't have to be hard and difficult. You just have to know what sconce you need --- the style, design, type, finish, and how you are going to use it --- and keep in mind the things you have to consider before buying yours. Also, it helps to check your aesthetic, the theme, and decoration in your space. This will narrow your choices even more.

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