Wall sconces fit kitchens, hallways, and exterior doors because those areas need them. You rarely hear about sconces in the living room. Should you include them, they are a secondary light that adds focus and ambiance to a section of the room. The lights can double as a task or a night light to avoid using the essential light.
So, where should sconces be placed in the living room? The focal points of the living room would make a good place for sconces. Sconces could also be a focal point itself with decorative pieces around it. Additionally, both battery-powered and hard-wired sconces look great in the living room.
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Where Should Sconces Be Placed in the Living Room?
An excellent place to add sconces is above the fireplace or bookcase. Sconces can become a focal point on a blank wall. They can be outside a living room doorway if it connects to a hallway. Surprising yet acceptable areas for sconces are TVs, couches, chairs, and nooks.
Regardless, all sconces should be at an eye-level height between 60 and 72 inches (5 to 6 feet) from the floor. Sconces installed too high illuminate the ceiling more, leaving most of the room in the dark. The illumination highlights the floor more when the sconce is too low. Plus, the light bulb and the top of the sconce are visible.
The one-foot gap in height is there because the ceiling height varies in homes from low to high. It is also there because the people in the house may be taller than average.
Additionally, sconces should be six inches away from windows and door frames. Furthermore, sconces of two to four should be six feet (or 72 inches) apart from each other. Sconces too close add too much radiance in one section. Noticeable gaps of darkness and patches of light show up when sconces are too far apart.
5 Ideas for Putting Sconces in a Living Room
Make a Focal Point Above the Fireplace Mantel
The empty area above the fireplace mantel is a haven for decorative decor. Turn the blank spot into an eye-catching conversation piece using two bookend sconces. The center gap is for wall art, so place something worth noticing between the sconces. Examples are a photograph, artwork, clock, mirror, canvas print, a message, or a letter sign.
Use a Bare Wall to Make a Centerpiece
A bare wall with no windows or obtrusions can occupy two sconces. Spaced out evenly, the duo is beautiful and functional. It becomes even more glamorous when you add wall art to the gaps. This method also works with walls with two windows on both sides and a bare wall in the center.
An enlarged bare wall can enjoy a wall sconce trio or quartet. With three or four sconces, fill the gaps with matching wall art to keep it consistent. You can mix and match wall art for variety, but all art should be in large portrait orientation sizes. Large wall art covers a lot of space and looks better with sconces than in other sizes and orientations.
Use a Picture Light
A sconce with a light that radiates at the bottom is a perfect way to highlight the wall art below. That transforms the wall space into a gallery area. The lighting emphasizes the wall art below it as a centerpiece in the living room. Center the sconce to give the wall art as much light on both sides as possible.
Create a Reading Area
The living room is perfect for reading, so swap out a flashlight or reading light for a sconce. A nook, chair, or designated reading area will enjoy a sconce light. The decorative detail makes the section functional and elegant.
The perfect height for a sconce light is 48 inches (or four feet) from the floor. It doesn’t need to be as high as traditional sconce lights because it is a seating area. You are sitting down to read. The light illuminates a section of the living room, not the entire living room.
Insert Wall Sconces Inside Bookcases
Installing sconces on top of the top shelf on bookcases is common. A nifty alternative is placing sconces inside a bookcase. The light illuminates the boxed area to transform the bookcase into a display case. Flat or recessed sconces are perfect for this idea.
How High Should Sconces Be Above Couch?
Like the reading area, the sofa is a seating area, so those sconces use a distinct set of rules. Wall sconces should be a few inches outside of the armrest and back. From there, move the sconce four to six inches above the couch. The variation exists because of sofa size; some sofas are heftier than others.
The reason for the dimensions is that the sconces highlight the couch as a focal point. If the sconce placement is over six inches, it gives the illusion of a massive sofa when the lights activate.
Should You Put Sconces Next to a TV?
Televisions on top of a TV stand are too mobile to add sconces. Mounted TVs with a swivel bracket may be too distant from the wall to add sconces. However, TVs that mount close to the wall or mount above the fireplace can get sconces on both sides. It is a decorative piece that injects character into a basic TV.
Two sconces next to a TV mimic a fireplace focal point or a focal point on a blank wall. Instead of wall art, the television fills the bare space. But is adding sconces next to a TV a good idea? Because sconce illumination causes glare, they distract the TV viewing experience.
The best sconces for TV screens are ones with illumination stemming from the top and bottom. Ensure the light bulb is not showing, and the cover is opaque and solid. Sconces that radiate only at the top or bottom are acceptable solutions too. The reflective, see-through, and cutout versions cause glare and hurt the viewing experience.
Are Wall Sconces in the Living Room Stylish or Dated?
Experts cannot answer whether sconces in the living room are stylish or outdated. There are just as many people who find them outdated as people who applaud the chic light fixture. What is missing in this debate is how far sconces have changed. Sconces became more decorative, colorful, detailed, and innovative than decades ago.
Today’s sconces are welcome in the living room as long as you pick sconces that blend in with the decor. The functional lighting fixtures offer subtle details that aid in enhancing room decor. When they overtake the room and become the focal point, the sconces become tacky and dated.
Wall sconces may not be prevalent in the living room, but they are a welcoming secondary light. They provide emphasis on specific things around the room when illuminated. By choosing sconces that blend with room decor, the sconce adds subtle details while being out of the way.
Where should sconces be placed in the living room? Tell like-minded readers where you installed your living room sconces in the comments. Wall sconces should highlight the centerpiece, not become the center of attention.