Sometimes the smallest decisions are the most difficult! Choosing bathroom sconces is a fun, but important design decision that can really change the look and feel of any bath in your home.

In this curated guide, we’re sharing all our best tips and tricks for narrowing down your search! Choose bathroom wall sconces that you’ll love for years to come.

Learn how we chose these pretty wall sconces, what factors to consider when you choose yours, and where to shop for your own – all in this quick and easy guide!

A white bathroom with blue and gold wallpaper.
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Recently, we shared some of the details of our modern lake house primary bathroom renovation. Thanks to an ongoing leak, this space needed an update from top to bottom.

It was worth the wait – and it was worth all the time we invested in making design decisions too! From the Serena and Lily wallpaper to the tips we shared in our guide to bathroom vanities, we love sharing all the details.

Today we’re focusing on bathroom sconces. Why? Well, we’ve found that searches for items like these can lead you to a vast landscape of retail listings. We’re hoping to make your decisions a little easier with tips, tricks and a curated selection of items that help narrow down the options!

A bathroom with two sinks and two mirrors.

Bathroom Sconces

First, let’s take a step back. What exactly is a bathroom sconce?



Whereas recessed lighting, chandeliers and pendants are all installed in ceilings (with a downward-aimed light), bathroom sconces provide a softer, more vertical light source, and are attached to walls on either side of your vanity mirror. The lighting is often facing downward, but it can also face completely up, or both up and down.

Bathroom sconces are an excellent alternative to traditional bathroom vanity lights (which are often more of a horizontal bar shape, hung over the top of a mirror). They tend to feel a little more modern and refined, even though wall sconces are the oldest type of lighting in history!

A bathroom with two sinks and a toilet.

How to Get Started

Here are a few important parameters to consider when choosing sconces for your bathroom update.

  1. Budget. First, peruse a few options that interest you, and set a budget once you have an idea of the price range.
  2. Choose a Finish. What finish are you considering? You’ll need to plan for replacing (or matching existing) fixtures like shower hardware, faucets, knobs and more.
  3. Size – Do you have sizing parameters? For example, we knew we wanted to mirrors and three sconces in our bathroom renovation. We had a narrow space to work with, so we chose smaller sconces that would *just* fit.
  4. Consider the Style. Is your home traditional? Modern? There are bathroom sconces suited for every style of bathroom – from cottage to historic and contemporary to grand millennial.
A white bathroom with blue wallpaper.


  • Backplates, Arms and Shades – If you’re new to lighting lingo, these are important terms when it comes to measurements. Keep in mind that sconces should include measurements for the backplate (the part that attaches to the wall) as well as the distance it juts out from the wall, as well as individual measurements for the arm, shades and more.
  • Consider mixing metals. Because there are generally 2-3 sconces in a bathroom, it’s a great place to introduce a secondary metal finish. Contrast can be beautiful and interesting!
  • Shades – When considering shades, remember that glass sconces can be trickier to keep clean. They tend to show more dust, so we often choose a fabric shade instead!
  • Add texture. Your bathroom sconces are a great place to play with textures like rope, rattan, and so much more. Textural fabrics and shapes are perfect for the shades, too – like the scalloped shades we chose for our bathroom.
  • Play with scale. Hold your sconces on the wall and try various sizes! The correct size is more than a personal preference – it will also depend on the size of your room, as well as the size of your vanity or sink, mirrors and more.
A wall lamp with a white shade on a blue wall.
If scalloped home decor is wrong, I don’t want to be right!

Features to Consider

Much like choosing light bulbs or picture lights, there are a variety of features to consider when choosing the output of your bathroom sconces.

  • For a warm, soft glow in your bathroom, go with a lower temperature output (2700 is often suggested).
  • If you really need a higher output (brighter lighting) bathroom sconces are available at color temps of 3000 and 3500 Kelvins, too.
  • Many of today’s sconces are dimmer compatible- if this is important to you, be sure to check!
  • Damp Rating – While you might assume a bathroom is considered a “damp” space, that’s not generally the case. Unless your sconce will hang *inside* your shower stall for some reason, your bathroom lighting doesn’t need to be damp rated.
A white bathroom with blue wallpaper.

Our Bath Tours (+ More Sconces!)

A bathroom with two sinks and mirrors.


Click each image below for the direct link! We found an incredible variety of price points – from high end designer lighting to fantastic look-for-less styles, we’ve rounded up something for everyone.

A bathroom with a white sink and a gold mirror.

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More Bathroom Inspiration

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