Antique Sconces: Let there be light!
When it comes to lighting your home, sconces are a wonderful design element that is both functional and stylish. They light up the space, while taking up minimal space, and add a certain “je-ne-sais-quois” to any room.
Sconces are lovely little decor pieces that can light up areas that are hard to reach or that aren’t amply lit by a floor lamp. They can also cast light in different angles and directions, which can be helpful when trying to illuminate art, read in bed, or cast flattering light on a vanity area.
In their early days, sconces were originally created to hold candles and torches. The modern-day versions fulfill the same function, but are instead equipped with bulbs.
Whether used in groups, pairs, or as standalone fixtures, the design possibilities of sconces offer up are endless. Sconces can be simple, understated accents, or artful, eye-catching sculptures. High-end antique sconces can also be downright quirky. Think sconces in the guise of Greek busts, eyeballs, gourds, icicles, leaves and longhorn skulls—just to provide a few examples. Whether your tastes are modern, retro, avant-garde or anything in between, there is a sconce to suit your style and complement your decor.
Best Ways to Use Antique Sconces in your Home Decor
Sconces are excellent options for smaller spaces where floor real estate is limited or large spaces where you’d like more light or want to showcase art. High-traffic areas like hallways and stairwells—places where you can’t put a floor lamp—also benefit from the addition of sconces.
Beautifying the bathroom
Sconces can add a charming, elegant look to a bathroom or powder room area where floor space is generally limited. Hang them on either side of the mirror for flattering, symmetrical vanity lighting. White glass sconces work best, as the white glass reflected in the mirror will help to brighten the room.
Night Lights by your Bed
By installing antique sconces on either side of your headboard, you’ll have the easiest of times switching off your lights at night. Sconces save space on your nightstand for other necessities like clocks, and can cast a cozy, intimate light by your bedside for reading. Swing-arm sconces work well for this.
Hallways & Stairwells
Narrow hallways and stairwells definitely need illumination, and designer sconces can help. A group of sconces adorning a dim corridor is the perfect way to brighten it.
Different Types of Antique Sconces
While sconces come in an endless variety of different finishes, colors and styles, there are a few key styles.
Compact and mounted directly to the wall, flush mounts are stylish, low-profile lighting fixtures. Flush-mounts are the most common types of sconces and they’re great for providing general light.
Long and slim, wallchieres are sconces that most closely resemble hanging lamps in both look and function. They generally cast soft shadows and direct light upward, depending on the design. Wallchieres are usually quite ornate and intricate and can be seen in a variety of different designs and styles. They are most commonly used in bathrooms on either side of the mirror, near fireplaces, or around living and dining rooms.
Creating a sense of nostalgia thanks to its resemblance to the traditional hand lantern, lantern sconces can create a vintage, elegant, exotic or even rustic look depending on their style and design. Often used for outdoor spaces and entryways, these designer sconces welcome guests with a warm, inviting ambience.
Paying homage to its roots, the candle sconce is a traditional silhouette that was originally used to hold candles. Candle sconces generally don’t give off much light, which creates an intimate, dare we say, romantic ambience. These designer sconces come in many different styles, from antique ones that look like something out of Beauty and the Beast, to modern takes.
True to its name, swing arm sconces are easy to adjust and move around. They are a cozy addition to bedside decor, a reading nook, an office, or a nursery—anywhere where directed light is needed. Some styles of these antique sconces move side to side, up and down, or can extend in and out.
All of these different types of antique sconces have one main thing in common: their goal is to provide and direct light. These are the three main ways they do so:
This means that the light is directed upward. This helps a room appear more expansive and creates an ambient light.
A sconce that casts light downward. This can also create a cozy, intimate ambience.
Up/Down & All-Around
Provides ample light in all directions and creates a wall-washing effect.
When choosing a type of antique sconce for your home, it’s important to determine what sort of light your space needs. Decide if the sconce is going to be the main source of light, or paired with a chandelier, overhead lights, or recessed down lights.
Sconces generally work best in pairs or groups, though they can hold their own as a standalone light above a desk, in a reading nook, or over a prominent piece of furniture or art.