How To Determine The Proper Placement For Wall Sconces

Whether your home needs more ambient, task, or accent lighting, wall sconces could solve all your problems. However, they need to be placed correctly in order for them to be used for their proper function. As a general rule, the middle of the sconce should be 60 to 72 inches above the floor or at roughly eye level. If you have vaulted ceilings, they can be hung a bit higher so they don't look too low. The light source should never be visible but always slightly overhead, as you don't want the bulb to create glare.

Another consideration when determining the proper placement of your wall sconces is how far apart they should be along a wall. At the minimum, each one should be spaced out 6 feet, but if you're working with a large area, this can be extended to 8 to 10 feet. Further, if you're hanging it next to or above something like a doorway or a window frame, always leave 6 inches between the side or bottom of the fixture and the trim. Another rule is to never hang a sconce perfectly in line with the top of a window, as this will look like a mistake.

Common places to position wall sconces

Something else you'll need to consider is where exactly wall sconces should be hung to add more lighting to your space. If you want task lighting in the kitchen, a few common areas include above windows, countertops, and open shelving. If you add a sconce above an area that you want to illuminate, choose one that points downwards and not up towards the ceiling. In these instances, always hang it 6 inches above whatever's beneath it and at least 24 inches above the countertops.

Another common area to hang sconces is in the bathroom to illuminate your vanity mirror(s). When installing them on either side of a mirror, hang them so the middle of the fixture is at about eye level. If hanging above the mirror, ensure it has 6 inches of clearance. In hallways and staircases, hang your sconces slightly higher than normal, between 66 and 72 inches above the floor. Some also use sconces to accent artwork, fireplaces, built-in bookshelves, and doorways. When doing this, placing the fixtures 6 inches above these pieces is typically the best way to go.

Proper placement in the bedroom

In the bedroom, however, the placement of wall sconces is slightly different. For the most part, in every other room, the fixtures should be at eye level or slightly above when you're standing up. However, when positioning fixtures above nightstands or a headboard, the middle of the sconce should be installed around eye level when sitting upright in bed. This is because this lighting is typically used for reading, and if the light is hung too high, it won't be useful.

Bedroom wall sconces are typically hung 30 to 36 inches above the top of the mattress or 6 to 12 inches above your shoulder when sitting in bed, making it easier to turn them off and on. Further, the best position is typically centered above the nightstand, but some may desire to place it slightly closer to the bed frame or even above it. Just keep in mind that the side or the bottom of the sconce should be spaced at least 6 inches away from the headboard.