I have a weird thing where I don’t like lamps. Which is a problem if you don’t want to live in the dark! We have two interesting lamps in our living room and it was actually my husband’s idea to turn them into lamps. I wasn’t sure about the idea at first but I love them now — they’re unique and perfect for our global style. They’re made from carved wooden rice god and rice goddess we found in Chiang Mai, Thailand years ago:
These lamps are among the few sources of light in this 14′ x 24′ living room. The gold reading lamp above has been moved elsewhere in the house. So with only two light bulbs in this room now, the constant dimness is driving me crazy. It also makes the room feel smaller because the corners are dark and drab shadowy gray. We have 8′ ceilings which are low for a chandelier and I don’t like recessed ceiling lights.
So what’s left? Walls! I’m seeking four wall sconces to flank the two bigger windows at opposite ends of this room:
It’s so dark in this room at night, pictures turn out grainy and yellow!
Because of the vertical-ness of the drapes, I feel like it would look weird to have a round or square shaped sconce, which might look like small blobs squatting on the walls. So I looked for sconces with long vertical elements to them.
Here’s the unrealistic choice because at $599 and needing four sconces plus cost of an electrician, this one from Shades of Light isn’t going to happen:
But if you like this look, you could mount a sconce on a wood panel that you make. You can buy carved wood panels. Or you can stencil raised patterns onto wood with embossing medium, then paint the panels. I am thinking about doing that!
I found these Alsace and Lorraine Architectural Railing Sconces at Restoration Hardware which brings the cost down to just above $300 each (sometimes they’re on sale), then inexpensive wood panels could be installed behind the sconces:
But like most things at RH, the Lorraine sconce looks over-sized and too big a scale for the space I have available.
From Circa Lighting, there is this Cawdor Stanchion Wall Sconce:
The Strie Wall Sconce from Circa Lighting is a simpler shape and would bring a vertical element without drawing too much attention to itself:
Another option from Circa Lighting is this Dauphine Sconce (obviously you see by now I’m looking for burnished gold or raw iron color):
This Serpentine Wall Sconce from Shades of Light is another vertical option and at $90 each, it’s a steal:
But with four sconces in the room, I’d rather have less curlicue-ness. Maybe something more like this Bryant Sconce from Circa Lighting:
A similar sconce is the Vivianne from triple7recycled on Etsy, a great price at $85:
A few tips if you’re also seeking wall sconces
You may not need the sconces to be extremely bright, especially if they will be hanging too far from where you sit to serve as task lighting. In our case, the sconces will brighten the corners to lighten the room overall, and make it feel bigger. And maybe I will squint less often.
If you have a certain style in mind, check out different stores for different prices until you find something that fits your budget. As you saw above, you will often find the same/similar look at very different prices. Also keep an eye on the lampshade material. Belgian linen or silk will cost more than paper. Look for what fits your budget.
I usually do mock-ups to scale in Photoshop for purchases like this. Because sometimes when placed in a room, things don’t look as good as they did in your mind. Sometimes they’re too big, or too small, or just not right. It’s better to find that out in Photoshop than after ordering and shipping the products. Maybe the sconce I think I like the least actually looks the best. You never know. Off to Photoshop I go …
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