Whether you're installing electric or candle sconces, the fixtures should add some decorative zing to your room and supplement the other light sources. If you install your sconces too low, the light will cast a direct glare in your eyes, particularly in the case of bare bulbs. By following the same guidelines that designers use, you won't have to remove and reinstall your fixtures down the road.
Lighting specialists usually install outlet boxes for wall sconces at least 66 inches from the floor. A height somewhere between 66 and 72 inches works well in dining rooms, living rooms, foyers, bedrooms and alongside mirrors in bathrooms. Whether you're seated on a chair or lying in bed, your sconces won't create an uncomfortable glare at this elevation.
Tall Walls and Hallways
If your space offers two-story ceilings, you may install the sconces higher than 72 inches because of the scale of the walls. In slim hallways, sconces placed at eye level may protrude too far into the passageway; mount the sconces high enough to prevent collisions with the lighting. Stagger the fixtures down the hall so that no two sconces sit directly across from each other. When using real candle sconces, ensure that the open flame won't ignite surrounding surfaces.
The Bathroom Mirror
Installing wall sconces next to your mirrors, rather than higher up, will prevent shadows. If you must put your fixtures above the mirrors because of space constraints, install your vanity lights 78 inches above the floor. Installing dimmer switches will ensure that your lights don't overwhelm you late at night or early in the morning.
Using Your Wall Sconces
Unless your light switch has a dimmer, avoid placing your sconces near your television or computer monitor as the image of the light will show up on the screen. Although wall fixtures provide auxiliary light, use table, swing-arm or pendant lamps for tasks like reading and typing. Wall sconces offer a soft lighting effect without taking up any floor space, so the fixtures work especially well in petite rooms.
Keep Proportion in Mind
By selecting fixtures that reflect the proportion of your room, the walls won't dwarf your sconces, and the sconces won't dominate your walls. Dark iron finishes carry more visual weight than light metal finishes, and ornate styles will seem larger than sleek designs. If you're using one pair of sconces on a wall, space the fixtures approximately 6 feet apart from each other. The room will seem out of kilter if you install your sconces too close to wall corners.