The proper height for bedside wall sconces

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The proper height for bedside wall sconces
Don't apply bed light rules to other wall lights in the house. (sirastock/iStock/Getty Images)

Bedside wall sconces provide more than just decorative appeal to your bedroom. They also count as an important source of light for tasks like reading or knitting while you're in bed. Many variables determine sconce height, and the ones that apply to sconces in other areas of your home may not apply to those hanging beside your bed.

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Identification

The wall sconce counts as one of the staples of lighting in home decorating. It's mounted onto the wall and can be powered by electricity, gas or candles. The type of light that it emits is either general or directional, depending on the design of the light. Interior decorators work with these types of lights quite a bit, because they not only provide a light source, but also work well with the decorating style.

Rules of thumb

According to the Apartment Therapy website, there is no proper height for a wall sconce. That said, plenty of guidelines exist to determine what will be the proper height for your sconces. Generally, wall sconces should stand 1.5 m (5 feet) from the floor and be mounted between 2.4 and 3 m (8 and 10 feet) from one another. However, bedside wall sconces bring special challenges to lighting with a sconce; for convenience, many people have sconces in their bedrooms whose switch can be reached from a sitting position in the bed. This 1.5 and 2.4 m (5 and 8 foot) rule may be too high or too wide for this situation, because they don't allow for proper reach from the bed, depending on how tall the people are and how high the bed stands from the floor.

Considerations

Height considerations exist from an aesthetic point of view, also. Avoid hanging the sconce so low that you have a bird's-eye view of the bulb. Instead it should be high enough for you not to see the top of the lamp and high enough to provide you with adequate lighting for the task at hand. Additionally, the kind of lamp you choose will affect how much light you get from a sconce. For example, a lamp that completely covers the bulb and has a dark glass shade will usually add less light to the area than one with a white frosted glass lamp.

General

The rules for wall sconces should align themselves more closely with those of bedside lamps. The sconce should hang just above shoulder height and be in close enough proximity that you can turn on the light without getting out of bed. This might follow the 1.5 and 2.4 m (5 and 8 foot) rule for sconces, but if it doesn't, it's OK. The most important thing to consider is whether or not the sconce can be reached and used from a sitting position in bed.

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