the definitive guide to wall lights

Wall lights (also referred to as sconces) are having a comeback and as any interior designer will tell you, they are often just the finishing touch you need to make a room complete. Check out our comprehensive guide. We cover everything you need to know about wall lights if you're considering it as a lighting option for any room in your home. Here we go...

Where will your wall light go?

Is it for a functional use or decorative? If you are searching for wall lights which will create ambient lighting in a bedroom, hallway or living room, then go for a wall light with a glass or opal shade which will emit a more soft, diffused glow. Consider the ferm LIVING Vuelta Wall Lamp and the houseof Drop Curve Wall Lamp.

For practical lighting for use in a kitchen or office space, then consider more task focused lighting such as a wall sconce or a wall lamp with an adjustable head to provide you with a more directional spotlight effect. Check out the Muuto Tip Wall Lamp in black (pictured) and the houseof Diffuser Wall Light.

houseof. Drop Curve Wall Light

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Ferm Vuelta Wall Lamp

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houseof. Diffuser Wall Light


What is the best height for wall lights?

This very much depends on the intended use of the wall light and the proportions of your room.  In hallways or living rooms you may place the wall lights higher, should you have high ceilings or wish to highlight architrave details. In bedrooms, you may want the wall light to be lower, near a bedside or above a headboard.  However the general rule for positioning a wall light is approximately 5ft above your floor level and if you are displaying more than one, then space them out at roughly 2-3m intervals.

How to create a statement with a wall lamp

Wall lights have evolved! Gone are the days where they were simply a functional, utilitarian piece.  Wall lights can now be a striking feature or focal point in a room and are definitely having a resurgence! 

Consider the ferm LIVING Oyster Wall Lamp which is reminiscent of a sculptural piece of art, or the houseof Opal Bar Wall Light for a more minimal architectural piece. 

Ferm Oyster Wall Lamp


Houseof Opal Bar Wall Light


Match your wall light to the style of the room and decor

Wall lights are a great way to add detail and your own personal decorative flair.  So think about the style of your space and which wall light is in keeping with it. For example, if you have brass finishes on your kitchen hardware then tie this in with a brass finish on your wall lamp.  Should you wish to connect spaces then a great way to achieve this is to carry your scheme from room to room.  For example you could match your hallway and living room lights to create a cohesive style throughout your home.

You should also take into account the amount of natural light you have in your room already.  You also need to factor in light from other sources too, for example if you have existing pendant lights, spotlights or low level lighting from table or floor lamps. We strongly recommend you give yourself lots of options of lighting per room, so you can ‘layer’ your room depending on what atmosphere or mood you are trying to create.

Can I use wall lights in my bathroom?

Absolutely! Bathrooms are split into 3 different zones that stipulate the type of lighting you can use depending on their IP rating. An IP (International Protection) rating gives you an indication of how resistant to dust and water your light is.  Zones 0-1 is the area right above your shower or bath so usually a mimimim of IP65/67 should be used here.  However in Zone 2 (the area 0.6m outside the bath/shower or tap) you can get a little more decorative with your lighting on the basis it is compatible with an IP44 rating.  So here a bathroom wall light can really elevate the space, especially either side of a mirror or in an alcove. Discover the houseof Opal Disc Wall Light and Tala Kilter Wall Lamp.

Houseof Opal Disc Wall Light


Tala Kilter Wall Lamp


Do all wall lights need to be hard-wired?

No and we have just the solution for you! If you’re looking for a wall light that doesn’t require any wiring you can opt for a plug in wall light that comes with a plug and switch, similar to table and floor lamps.  This is a great way to save on bedside table space and to avoid channeling into your walls.  This is especially useful if you are in a rented home as these lights are really easy to install, with minimal fuss and no commitment! Plus you can simply unplug and take them with you should you move home or redecorate. Consider the ferm LIVING Arum Wall Lamp and Muuto Post Wall Lamp.

Ferm Arum Wall Lamp


Muuto Post Wall Lamp


Let’s talk energy saving wall lights and LED bulbs

Now is the time to invest in high quality, low energy lighting.  Our friends at Tala put this simply ‘Lowering our global energy demand has never been more important. LED lighting is 90% more energy efficient and lasts ten times longer than traditional lighting’ . 

All our wall lights are selected with low energy performance in mind.  Each of our wall lights are compatible with low energy LED bulbs with the majority including an integrated LED bulb within the light. 

Should my wall light have a dimmer?

This is very much a personal preference however wall lights which are suitable for use on a mains dimmer switch, or have their own dimmer dial allows you to change the light output to create different atmospheres.  This is ideal for bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms where ambient lighting and mood lighting are really effective. 

Consider the modern, multi-functional Tala Alumina Lamp that can be used as a wall light or table lamp. Featuring a matte-porcelain Sphere IV low energy LED bulb with Dim to Warm technology.

What hanging ‘drop pendant’ wall light options are there?

This is a great way to create the illusion of higher ceilings and works really well as an alternative to hard wired bedside wall lamps.  You’ll need a light with a long cable length to get the desired effect  - ideal for lighting up those dark corners or in a space where you need a portable ceiling or wall light solution. Don't forget, the ceiling is often referred to as the '5th wall' of a room, so well worth considering the lighting options here too! See a couple of suggestions below.

Tala Plug In - Voronoii II


Tala Plug In - Sphere IV


Our Wall Light Collection

Feeling inspired? Then browse our full edit of modern wall lights by ferm LIVING, Muuto, Tala and houseof.