Wall lights offer clever solutions for hard-to-light areas of your home. Functioning as either general lighting or accent lighting, sconces and vanity lights are extremely versatile. Thanks to a wide selection of sizes and light strength, wall lights illuminate large or small rooms without taking up precious floor space.
Types of Wall Lights
- Vanity Lighting
- LED Mirrors
Sconces are a popular type of wall light for both interior and exterior walls. Vanity lights and LED mirrors improve visibility in your bathroom while adding luxury and functionality to your grooming routine.
What are Wall Lights?
Wall mount fixtures install directly to your wall to add light and atmosphere to your home. Sconces are the most prevalent examples of wall lights, but wall lights also include bathroom vanity lights and LED mirrors.
Combine wall lights and other lighting types to brighten up rooms throughout your home. Mix a ceiling light and a wall sconce to illuminate the entire living room. Add vanity lighting along with an overhead flush mount light for a well-lit bathroom.
Light fixture size and the number of bulbs vary across styles. Vanity lights typically feature many bulbs, whereas sconces usually contain fewer bulbs. Vevano’s selection of wall lights generally includes one- to four-bulb fixtures (sometimes more), including wall lights with LED bulbs.
Wall Mounted Light Types
Vevano has a wide selection of wall lights for rooms throughout your home. Each type has recommendations for install locations, humidity ratings, and general purpose.
Vanity light illuminates the area around mirrors and counters in bathrooms. The eye-level glow of vanity lighting is perfect for applying makeup, hair styling, or other daily routine activities. Varieties include bar lights, shaded, unshaded, and other popular designs. Vanity lights also work well as wall lights for bedrooms, especially above dressing or makeup tables.
- Rooms: Bathroom (occasional bedroom)
- Safety Rating: Damp or wet (dry if installed in a bedroom)
- Styles: Wide variety
- Materials: Wide variety
Wall sconces are the most popular type of wall light. Add sconces for either general or accent lighting. Shades, materials, and the size of the sconce determines light output in your room. The design of the sconce governs the light direction as well: up, down, both up and down, or omnidirectionally (everywhere). Outdoor sconces are installed on walls like indoor sconces but have safety ratings designed for outdoor environments. Read more about exterior lighting in our outdoor lighting buying guide.
- Rooms: Entry way, living room, bedroom, kitchen, dining, hallways, offices, and more
- Safety Rating: Dry (wet for outdoor sconces)
- Styles: Wide variety
- Materials: Wide variety
LED mirrors feature built-in lights around the mirror’s edge or frame. Rather than filling a room with light, the integrated bulbs illuminate faces or objects directly in front of the mirror. The light doesn’t travel far, but its intensity highlights the contours of your face for shaving, applying makeup, or performing other tasks. Shapes for LED mirrors include oval, round, rectangle, and more.
- Rooms: Bathroom
- Safety Rating: Damp
- Styles: Modern, contemporary, or classic
- Materials: Stainless steel, glass, acrylic
What Materials Are Wall Sconces?
Wall sconce materials influence the style and functionality of light fixtures. Lighter non-metal materials create delicate and beautiful lights, perfect for classic or cottage style rooms. Steel and other metal materials play well with industrial or modern styles.
- Steel: Steel is incredibly durable and steel light fixtures are more resistant to dents, dings, or warping. The clean, shiny nature of stainless steel is perfect for modern style rooms.
- Aluminum: Aluminum is lighter than steel, and more malleable for intricate shapes and fixture textures. Light fixtures made of aluminum are cost-effective, but less durable than other metals like stainless steel.
- Acrylic: Acrylic is a strong, transparent plastic ideal for modern or contemporary rooms. It’s lighter and less fragile than glass light fixtures, and available in a variety of colors.
- Crystal: Crystal light fixtures and shades are great at reflecting light, creating beautiful shimmer effects. Crystal adds a sense of glam to Hollywood, contemporary, or classically styled rooms.
- Metal: Metal light fixtures are available in chrome, polished nickel, brass, or bronze. They pair well with other materials such as wood or glass for industrial, farmhouse, or contemporary styles.
- Glass: Glass light shades cover naked bulbs but disperse more light than metal or fabric shades. Glass finishes come in frosted, bubble glass, clear, etched, and other textures and colors.
Where Can I Use Wall Lights?
Wall lights work in practically any room from living rooms, to bedrooms, to bathrooms. Certain places and locations are more ideal for wall lights than others.
Place wall sconces above or next to doorways to illuminate the immediate area where you’re entering and exiting your house. This also welcomes visitors into a well-lit home and can help deter burglars.
Stairs and steps tend to create shadows, but wall sconces brighten up stairways. Functioning as night lights, sconces add safety and visual appeal to staircases and landings.
Above or Below Artwork
Wall sconces function well as accent lighting as their light direction is more focused than that of general lighting like recessed lighting. Highlight and complement artwork with a stylish sconce to add beauty to your home.
Wall-mounted reading lights above bedside tables improve the quality of light for bedtime reading. They also save table space normally taken up by table lamps. Consider adding wall mounted reading lamps above comfy nooks, desks, or in dens and libraries as well.
Many basements and older homes have lower ceiling heights which prevent you from adding overhead lighting such as pendants or chandeliers. Wall sconces are an excellent solution as you don’t lose any height but still add light and style to these rooms.
Above Sinks or Dining Areas
If your sink is on a wall of your kitchen, an accent wall light can brighten the space. Consider wall sconces instead of hanging lights to create mood lighting around the dining table and enhance the culinary experience.
Wall sconces rated for wet environments are perfect for illuminating outdoor walkways, exterior entry points, garages, decks, and the walls of your house. Read more about outdoor wall light solutions here.
Wall Light Safety Ratings
Before you select a wall light for a location in your home, be sure to check if the safety rating is wet, damp, or dry.
Wet rated sconces are well suited for landscape lighting or bathroom lighting as they can handle humidity, water, and weather elements.
Damp rated sconces are ideal for bathrooms are they less likely to rust, and the electrical components can better handle steamy locations. Wondering how to buy bathroom lighting? Filter down to lights with damp ratings.
Dry rated sconces are only suited for non-bathroom, indoor spaces such as living rooms or bedrooms. Damp or wet lights function as exterior wall lights, but dry lights are only for indoor installation.
What Size of Wall Light Fixtures Are Best?
Not all walls are the same size, so we carry a range of wall light sizes to accommodate your home’s unique dimensions. Wall sconces at Vevano Home are generally between 3 and 20 inches wide. Knowing where you want to install your light, the measurements of windows, doors, rooms, and other elements help narrow down the search for your ideal wall light size.
Entryway and Hallway Lights
In small or narrow entryways and hallways, choose sconces with smaller widths or depths which take up minimal space to avoid whacking heads and elbows on your light fixtures. Sconces also take up less space than lamps, so they’re ideal for spaces that can’t accommodate tables, floor lamps, or cords on the floor.
Wall Lights for Bedrooms
Determine how much light you want in your bedroom to help you choose a sconce size. To brighten up your bedroom with wall lights, choose a larger sconce size or multiple sconces along the walls. If you prefer a comforting, dimly lit bedroom conducive to sleeping, choose a smaller sconce with matching shade.
Living Room Wall Lights
Choose the size of your sconce in accordance with the size of the wall. If you have a narrow wall between two windows, choose a smaller sconce as the windows already shed light in that area. Long walls without windows or long bare walls in need of light for artwork or furniture are better suited for larger sconces.
Above Vanity Lights
Measure your mirror and choose a light that is about 75% as wide as your mirror. Vanity lights that are too small don’t illuminate your mirror as well as wider fixtures. Most of the vanity lights Vevano carries are between 10 and 30 inches for optimal performance.
Vanity Wall Lights
Ensure you have enough room on either side of your mirror for your new wall lighting fixtures. Measure distances between light switches or doors to make sure your new fixture doesn’t interfere. Any size works well, so enjoy creative flexibility.
Measure the size of the wall between the cabinet and the ceiling to determine how much room you have for your mirror. Most of the LED mirrors we carry at Vevano are 20 to 40 inches wide and have a range of heights.
How to Install Wall Lights
The easiest way to install a wall light is to replace an existing fixture. If you’re adding a new fixture to a room and need to work with electrical wiring, we recommend hiring a professional electrician or lighting expert. Most of the sconces at Vevano are not plug-in wall lights, and they require varying levels of installation. Some general DIY guidelines for installing indoor wall light fixtures are:
- Turn off the power before removing or installing a light
- Ensure you have correct tools and components before you begin
- Remove and replace the wall mounting bracket
- Follow the wiring instructions to ensure safety
How Far Up on the Wall Should You Install a Wall Light?
Wall Sconce: Depending on your ceiling height, install wall sconces about 66 to 72 inches (about five and a half feet to six feet) above the floor. If your family is taller, consider placing the light higher or lower if your family is shorter.
Vanity Lights: Install bathroom lights above your mirror, 75 to 80 inches (about six and a half feet) above the floor, or slightly above eye level, depending on the light direction and style of your fixture.
What are the Best Mounting Options for Sconces?
Do you need sconces to illuminate dim areas of your home or to act as decorative pieces of art? Sconces add function and beauty with extra brilliance and attractive design features. Mount sconces in dim areas of your home or along walls to add focal points and interest.
Some sconces have dual install directions: up or down. Mount your sconce facing up to add general lighting and brightness to your room. Mount your sconce facing down to add drama or shed light on a table beneath the light.
Wall Light Styles
Wall mounted lights work in tandem with your furniture and décor to emphasize the style of your room If purchasing multiple lights, shop by collection to maintain your style aesthetic.
Modern Wall Lights
Light fixtures with clean lines and bold finishes are a hallmark of the modern style. Contemporary wall lighting fixtures are similar to modern as both styles are current and fresh. Contemporary wall lights, however, more commonly feature curved lines and chrome finishes. Choose modern wall sconces for rooms with mid-century modern aesthetics or other 20th century elements.
Rustic Wall Lights
Rustic wall lights are perfect for farmhouse or cottage style rooms. Rustic lights showcase natural colors and materials such as black, iron, steel, glass, or stained wood. Raw edges and exposed bulbs work well with rustic room styles. Rustic wall lights are great choices for rooms with neutral tones and natural elements.
Industrial Wall Lights
Industrial wall lights feature metal materials such as steel, iron, and aluminum. With an emphasis on glass and metal, most industrial wall lights are grey, black, or bronze. Exposed bulbs and metal shades are popular in the industrial style. These wall light fixtures work well in loft spaces and rooms with exposed ductwork, brick, concrete, or other industrial elements.
Traditional Wall Lights
Steel, glass, or aluminum are the most popular choices for traditional wall lights. Many designs feature straight lines with curved shades. Traditional embellishments on wall lights, such as scrollwork, are simple yet timeless. Bronze, nickel, copper, and other medium or dark metal finishes are common. Choose traditional wall sconces for rooms with warm tones and symmetrical elements, like windows and doors.
Classic Wall Lights
Rounded, soft edges are a key characteristic of the classic wall light. Bulbs are generally covered by clean, simple shades easy to match with any décor. Many finishes and materials work well for classic wall lights, but steel, fabric, and lighter metal finishes like brass are popular. If you want formal, elegant lighting, classic wall lights are an excellent choice.
Transitional Wall Lights
Transitional wall lights blend the characteristics of modern and traditional styles together, embracing both straight and curved lines. Add sophistication and personalization to your room with transitional lights.
Need Help Choosing a Wall Light?
Wall lights are a brilliant solution to common lighting problems. Sconces brighten dimly lit corners, fit in small spaces that don’t accommodate larger lights and add style to any room.
If you want to know more about the functionality of a light in our collection, or how to achieve a specific look in your home, email Vevano’s team of designers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our lighting experts can walk you through choosing the best wall light for your home. Check out Vevano’s room planners page to learn more.