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Guide to lighting: Modern Sconce Lighting

13 April 2023
Project Inspiration

In the first of our new Guide to Lighting series, we explore the sconce light, the history of these lighting fixtures and how they can be used in both home and hospitality interior design projects.

So, what is sconce lighting? In essence a sconce is a wall mounted lighting fixture. Typically these can be found uplighting the walls of a hallway or in areas where overhead lighting may be harder to place; they can create a focal point either side of a bed, illuminating a piece of art or create an accent as you walk into an entryway.

When choosing sconce lighting, it’s important to consider the purpose of the lighting fixture, the style of the room, and the amount of light needed. Sconces can be used to complement other light fixtures in a room, such as pendant lighting or desk lamps, and can also be used to highlight artwork or architectural features.

The History

Sconce lighting is possibly the most historic form of light fixture, pre-dating electrical lighting using candles or oil lamps mounted on interior and exterior walls to avoid people having to continue to hold lamps and candles as they walk through the property. The word sconce in lighting originated from the mountings ensconcing the candles or oil lamps safely keeping them in place and enabling hands-free movement in the area. The material holding these candles or torches was shaped in such a way that it could direct the light upwards and outwards.

Modern Sconce Lighting

The development to today's modern sconces can range from simple to decorative and even sculptural light fixtures, providing light in a space without the need to clutter a table or invade the height of a room is appealing in both residential and commercial property. Modern sconce design not only provides uplighting but also downlighting, providing multi-angled lighting becoming popular particularly with pairs of sconces being used to frame artwork, as you would see in museums and galleries. Other designs such as the Kelly Hoppen wall arm sconce, provides an elegant and delicate aesthetic without distracting from the design of the space.

Sconce lighting in modern interior design

The sconce is particularly popular for interior designers when specifying for hospitality projects due to the ability to have conformity around the entire room whilst also enabling a designer to bring light lower into the space, avoiding sharp or harsh overhead lighting. Sconces can be fixed to one dimmer switch enabling the whole room’s ambience, be it a restaurant or hotel lobby, to be controlled literally at the ‘dim of a switch’.

Sconces are an excellent entry level into designer lighting, offering a more affordable price point there is a lot more opportunity with sconce lighting that is not limited to traditional placement. For example installing a collection of Welles Glass Double Wall Sconces, the symmetry of the welles design enabled the designer to create a sculptural lighting piece as a form of art on the wall.

The Gabriel Scott Luna Sconce for example, can be used within a bathroom or part of the vanity area to ensure there is adequate lighting surrounding the mirror. Alternatively, we have seen projects with the Luna sconce being installed on the ceiling to embrace lower ceilings or avoid anything fragile hanging in a child’s room but ensure there is still an elevated level of design to the space.

We asked Simon Maille, esteemed member of our design team about sconce lighting: "At Gabriel Scott, we create high-end, sophisticated sconce lighting designs that blend contemporary and traditional elements. The quality of craftsmanship and use of premium materials such as hand-blown glass and brass result in sconces that are truly one-of-a-kind, while still paying homage to the more classical roots of sconce design. With sculptural, geometric shapes and warm light diffusion, Gabriel Scott sconces add a chic yet inviting look to any room. Plus, our customization options allow you to create a product tailored to your space."

To explore the full range of Gabriel Scott sconce lights click here. Alternatively if you have a custom sconce design idea, please read the information on this page and fill in the form.

Harlow Sconce Gramercy Design Photography by Matthew Plackett
WELLES Glass Wall Sconce
Luna Sconce with bead Prong Bench in brass 2
Welles Double Head Sconce Tara Kantor Interiors Sean Litchfield Photography 1
Copy of Gabriel Scott Luna Sconces Chandelier Design by 212 Box Photography Studio Rochowski
Welles Single Sconce Famdesign Frederique Cloutier photography 1

Imagery Credit:

Vanessa Rome Interiors - Custom Welles Sconces

Welles Reimagined Sconce by Kelly Hoppen

Simon Maillé at the Gabriel Scott Montreal Lighting Studio

Harlow Sconce in a project by Gramercy Design, Photography by Matthew Plackett

Ensemble of Welles Glass Sconce's creating a wall feature

Gabriel Scott Luna Sconce alongside the Prong Bench

Tara Kantor Interiors featuring Welles Double Head Sconce, Photography by Sean Litchfield

Luna Sconces in a vanity space by 212 Box, Photography by Studio Rochowski

Welles Single Sconce in a FamDesign project, Photography Frederique Cloutier

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