Bedside wall sconces provide more than just decorative appeal to your bedroom. They also count as an important source of light for tasks such as reading or knitting while 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. A few considerations will help you achieve the desired balance between aesthetics and functionality.
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 emitted 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
There is no industry-specified proper height for a wall sconce. That said, plenty of guidelines exist to determine what is the proper height for your sconces. Generally, wall sconces should stand 5 feet from the floor and be mounted between 8 and 10 feet from one another. However, bedside wall sconces bring special challenges to lighting; for convenience, many people desire the sconces to have a switch that can be reached from a sitting position in the bed. This 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.
Height considerations also exist from an aesthetic point of view. Avoid hanging the sconce so low that you have a bird's-eye view of the bulb. Instead, place it at a height where the top of the lamp is not visible, while still maintaining adequate lighting for the task at hand. Additionally, the kind of lamp you choose affects how much light is emitted from a sconce. For example, a lamp that completely covers the bulb and has a dark glass shade usually adds less light to the area than one with a white frosted glass lamp.
Wall sconces generally need to be aligned more closely with those of bedside lamps. The sconce ideally hangs just above shoulder height and close enough to turn on the light without getting out of bed. This might follow the 5- and 8-foot rule for sconces, but it is not a necessity. 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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- Apartment Therapy: Proper Wall Sconce Height
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- Home Decorating Made Easy: Effective Ways To Use Home Lighting In Interior Decorating
- Lighting Fixtures: Lighting Fixture Glossary
- Manage my Life: Bedroom Lighting Basics; Adina Gewirtz
- Houzz: Bedside Sconce Lights
Buffy Naillon has worked in the media industry since 1999, contributing to Germany's "Der Spiegel" magazine and various websites. She received a bachelor's degree in German from Boise State University. Naillon also attended New York University and participated in the foreign exchange program at Germany's Saarland University. She is completing her master's degree in educational technology at Boise State.