Erin Doman on April 13, 2016 1 Comment Wall sconces are an excellent way to add character and ambiance to the interior or exterior of your home. The light from these devices helps illuminate the positive features of your home, while creating a more inviting atmosphere. They come in a wide variety of styles, each with its own distinct set of advantages and disadvantages. Having a plethora of options is great for homeowners, but with so many different types of wall sconces available on the market, deciding on which one is best for you can me a somewhat daunting task. This is why we’ve created the following list that breaks down the most common wall sconce types, and how they can make your home even more attractive. You can also find more info on our wall sconce buyer’s guide. 1. Down Light Sconces, Up Light Sconces, and Up/Down Light Sconces Click Here to Shop for Up/Down Light Sconces Almost any wall sconce you find will be a variation of one of the following three types of sconce — down light, up light, or up/down light. As the name suggests, down light sconces direct light downward towards the floor. When the light is channeled in this direction, it can help to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Because they offer a more conservative amount of light, down light sconces are ideal for making larger rooms feel slightly more intimate. These sconces are not good for producing high levels of light, so they tend to be more suitable for formal, indoor events. You might be tempted to install down light sconces on the the exterior of your house to light walkways, but because down light sconces do not produce a huge amount of light, this might not be the best option. Instead, consider installing another form of landscape lighting. If you need to illuminate a large area, or you simply prefer bright lighting, you may want to consider installing an up light sconce. These sconces direct light towards the ceiling, making rooms appear larger. For this same reason, they are excellent for smaller rooms and living areas where brighter lighting is preferred, or in any room that doesn’t get great exposure to natural light. Up light sconces are known for producing high levels of lighting, so they may not be appropriate for more intimate settings. Up/down light sconces offer the best of both worlds. They direct an equal of amount of light in both directions, and provide rooms with balanced lighting. Their versatility makes them ideal for nearly any event or setting, and they can be used both indoors and out. Out of all the wall sconce types, up/down light sconces give the most even lighting. Be sure to look for the special or unique features of the light fixtures while you are shopping. For example, some down light sconces can be flipped and mounted upwards, giving them an added degree of versatility. Similarly, many up lights can be installed facing the opposite direction; just be sure to read the instructions before you attempt to do this. 2. Candle Sconces Click Here to Shop for Candle Sconces Electric candle sconces are fashioned to give a historical or classical charm to virtually any building or room. They are reminiscent of the very first wall sconce types–only much safer as these don’t use a real flame. You can find this style of wall sconce in countless different designs, so you’re sure to find one that perfectly matches the aesthetic of your home. You can find candle sconces that have small shades over the electric candles, you can find candle sconces with glass hurricane features, and you can find candle sconces in multiple different materials and finishes. In the last few years, more contemporary style candle sconces have come on the market. Since candle sconces emit smaller amounts of light, homeowners do not have to worry about excessive operating costs. However, on the other hand, this means that you cannot rely on this style of light as your primary source of illumination, and you’ll probably need to supplement with another wall sconce or lamp. Because of this drawback, many homeowners rely on candle sconces as more of a decoration than they do a source of light. 3. Swing Arm Sconces Click Here to Shop for Swing Arm Sconces Swing arm sconces are adjustable, and can direct light towards a specific area. They are capable of moving in multiple directions, so you will have complete control over where the light shines. They can easily be folded inwards to save space when not in use, making these a great wall sconce option for people who live in a small home with minimal artificial or natural lighting. Swing arms are wonderful for above bedroom nightstands as well as above cribs in nurseries–or really anywhere that needs a concentrated amount of light for only short amounts of time. However, swing arm sconces should not be installed in areas that need large amounts of illumination, as these don’t have a large light spread. Before purchasing a swing arm sconce, you should examine its flexibility and durability. These sconces will be adjusted numerous times, and you want one that will stand up to everyday use. Swing arm sconces are usually covered by a shade, so you should ensure that the shade is made of quality materials as well. You should also measure the amount of space the swing arm sconce will take up both while fully contracted and fully extended, and make sure that this piece will fit nicely into the intended space in your home. 4. Picture Light Sconces, Wall Wash Sconces, and Sign Sconces Click Here to Shop for Picture Light Sconces Picture light, wall wash, and sign sconces are all intended to highlight a certain aspect of your wall, and aren’t meant as a primary source of illumination. There are subtle differences between the three, so one might suit your needs more than the others. A must-have for any art or photography lover, picture light sconces exist solely to bring attention to pictures. They direct a small amount of soft light towards a work of art, helping to garner your guests’ attention and make your picture more aesthetically appealing at the same time. This type of wall sconce is usually for indoor use only. Picture light sconces are great for smaller and medium sized pieces of art, but you may want to consider using brighter sconces for larger works, such as a wall wash or sign sconce. You should also not rely on this style of wall sconce as your primary source of indoor lighting. Because these lights are designed to highlight a small space, the light will not be spread very far around your room, so they are not effective sources of illumination over wide spaces. Similar to picture light sconces, wall wash sconces direct light onto the walls instead of into the room. They are not necessarily intended to highlight any art or architecture, so the light might be more harsh than a picture light sconce. These sconces provide a more contemporary feel, and fit seamlessly into almost any environment. They help create the illusion of larger walls and rooms, and usually feature an adjustable shade. Wall wash sconces tend to be better suited for indoor use since they do not emit light over a wide area. Sign sconces are used to illuminate signs, posters, and billboards. These sconces draw attention and help lend a more theatrical feel to the atmosphere. While they are commonly used by business owners, sign sconces are becoming more popular in private residences as both interior and exterior sources of light. These sconces focus most of their light on the sign (or wherever you direct them), so you can use them to draw focus to a certain piece of art on your walls or to highlight your trees or architecture in your front yard. However, because this type of sconce does not have a wide light spread, they are not ideal for providing light over larger distances and areas. Sign sconces are best used as supplementary sources of light, but not primary sources. 5. Lantern Wall Sconces Click Here to Shop for Lantern Wall Sconces Lantern wall sconces resemble the hand-held lanterns of the past. Much like candle sconces, lantern wall sconces can offer rooms and buildings a more unique and exotic look. More expensive lantern sconces are crafted of high-quality materials, but because lantern wall sconces do well as outdoor lighting, you will probably want to splurge on the nicer options to ensure they can stand the weather. Lantern wall sconces are durable and versatile, so don’t be afraid to install them wherever you may need them. Because of their more unique look, they tend to be more visually appealing on older homes and buildings, but the vast array of styles of lantern wall sconces available will make it easy for you to find one that perfectly matches your aesthetic, no matter what style of house you live in. Lantern wall sconces make a stylish statement whether they are installed individually or in groups. These can be reliable sources of primary illumination in both indoor settings and outdoor settings, depending on the design of the sconce and the type of bulb used. 6. Wallchieres Click Here to Shop for Wallchieres Wallchieres are wall sconces that resemble free-standing floor lamps. These light sources blend the decorative facets of sconces with the lighting of a floor lamp. They help to create soft shadows, and usually direct light towards the ceiling, though you can find them in countless different designs. Wallchieres are available in a wide array of styles and fashions, and their intricate designs can add a splash of personality to even the most barren room. While traditionally quite fancy, you can also find wallchieres in more casual or unique styles, so don’t be afraid of this type of wall sconce if you don’t have a traditionally posh living space. Wallchieres are usually found indoors as they are effective at fully illuminating rooms of all sizes and shapes. Many of these sconces are also space savers, since they can be installed in the place of traditional lamps without taking up as much space. That being said, wallchieres can also be used outdoors. Don’t just use any wallchiere, though. Wallchieres are typically rather delicate, so be sure you are using a dedicated outdoor wallchiere made of more durable materials. You might also want to avoid an open-top wallchiere in any outdoor space, as these can collect leaves and other debris that can be difficult to clean. Takeaways Finding the right wall sconce doesn’t have to be hard work, especially when you know what to look for. There are sconces of all styles and appearances, so you can easily find one that complements the architectural features of your home. You should also consider room size, desired brightness, and light direction. If you are still struggling with the decision of which type of lighting is best for your home, you can always ask a design or lighting professional to help point you in the right direction. Sconces will always be one of the most effective ways for homeowners to add value, aesthetic, and lighting at the same time.