One of my favorite blogs that I read is Things That Inspire. Sarah is the voice behind this interesting design blog and she and I email each other regularly to discuss decorating and blogging and other very important topics. Lately Sarah is wanting to talk about chandeliers and sconces and recently, she wrote an interesting blog about chandeliers. She asked me if I would then write one about sconces because she knows that I, well... really love them! Throughout my house, I currently have seven (!) pairs of lighted sconces. Most of these sconces I picked up at antique stores around town, unelectrified. This isn't really a problem because any reputable lighting store can wire a pair of sconces. Some people prefer to use candles in their sconces instead of lightbulbs, but I'm not one of those. I put low wattage, silicon tipped bulbs (7 wattage) in mine.
Another thing I do is leave my sconces on all the time. I never, ever turn mine off. Dimly lit sconces are wonderful because they're a great mood enhancer in a room. It's very atmospheric to see a low light glowing in a darkened part of a house. Rooms just comes alive when some kind of light is on and sconces are a perfect way to do this. I try to convince clients to leave their sconces on, but this is a battle that I sometimes lose (you know who you are!). They are either scared of fire or the electrical bill. These same people aren't afraid to leave a night light on, but I just can't convince them to leave their sconces lit. One person who really doesn't like to keep sconces on all the time is Ben Webb. But he knows this is one battle not worth taking on and after 20 years of marriage he's learned to live with lit sconces. I'm not going to change my mind about this and so he's resigned to living with "atmospheric lighting."
When decorating, I always try to add sconces to a design plan. Sometimes I've installed them without even telling the client beforehand that it was going to happen. I know that once they are installed and lit, the client is going to be happy, but given a chance to decide ahead of time, they would have said "no." To date, I haven't been asked to remove any yet.
Apparently I'm not the only one obsessed with sconces as their popularity seems to be on the rise. The magazine House Beautiful is running an extensive feature on different types of sconces in this month's issue. There are as many kinds of sconces on the market as there are chandeliers. Many sconces come "matched" with a chandelier, but I personally don't have any of these. I just prefer to have a sconce that looks like it was purchased separately from the chandelier. There are sconces made for the living room and dining room, and there are less dressy sconces made for a den or a porch. Some people prefer sconces in the bathroom as opposed to overhead task lighting. Recently, the owner of a company based in New Orleans, Julie Neill - Illumination for a Well Dressed Life, sent me her list of inventory. Hand made and totally customizable, her gorgeous crystal and hand turned wood chandeliers come with matching sconces. Julie Neill just discovered design blogging a few weeks ago and she is still giddy with excitement over her discovery. If you haven't visited her web site, but sure to do so here.
If you don't have any sconces in your house, take a look at these pictures below and see if the look appeals to you. Most likely you will be in agreement with me that sconces are a wonderful accessory that add a finished touch to any room. If you haven't before, take a chance and install a pair in your house - trust me, you'll be very pleased with the results.
Julie Neill - Crystal Sconce
Another Julie Neill - Sconce, 4 arm
David Iatesta Sconce based on a Swedish design
Niermann Weeks, 3 arm sconce
Niermann Weeks again, crystal sconce
Antique crystal sconce
Charlotte Moss loves sconces and has them all over her apartment.
Here, 3 arm sconces on mantel
Charlotte Moss, again, 2 arm sconces frame the mantel
Client's bedroom with Blanc d ivoire sconces
Antique sconce with unusual double shade
Sconce in a foyer lights up the space
My house - one of two period antique sconces, triple arm, from Tara Shaw
Triple arm sconces surround a fireplace
Ultra contemporary sconce
Client's house with antique sconces in dining room
One of two antique sconces in a living room
Carolyn Roehm's bedroom with candle sconces
Antique sconces light up a powder room
Entry hall with contemporary sconces
Sconces balanced on either side of armoire in a living room
Sconces in master bathroom
Dining room with sconces over buffet
Contemporary sconces with red shades
Dining room sconces frame silk curtains
Another dining room with sconces
Here, candle lit sconces over an antique mantel
My house: these iron sconces complement the wood turned chandelier
Brass candle lit sconces balance window seat
Large wood sconces frame living room sofa
Double tiered sconce
Here, lantern type sconces light a powder room
My house - large triple arm iron sconces frame a desk
A sconce in a bath tub enclosure provides the atmosphere