How High Do You Put Bedside Sconces?

Installing sconces on the wall beside your bed can be both stylish and useful, particularly so that you can reserve more space on your nightstands. So, you may be wondering how high you should position your bedside sconces. This will determine if the lights are more disruptive than practical. So, we have thoroughly researched the complete installation method, including how high the sconces should be.

The ideal height for bedside sconces is between 60 and 72 inches, measured from the floor. This ensures that the sconces stay within a reasonable reaching distance while still providing enough light. However, you may also have to consider the height of the bed and yourself. While sitting up in bed, the bedside sconce should always measure around six inches above your shoulder.

A sconces lamp on blue wall and flowers at nightstand table near comfortable bed, How High Do You Put Bedside Sconces?

A pair of bedside sconces need to be carefully positioned. Otherwise, you will find them difficult to reach, and the light may become irritating. Keep reading to learn about bedside sconces, how to properly install them, and if they're currently in style.

What is the difference between a sconce and a wall lamp?

White bedroom set seven

There is very little difference between these two fixtures, so the technical names are interchanged in most conversations. However, the terminology for sconces dates back to old candles. 

As such, sconces are defined as an uncovered light source. So the primary difference is that most wall lamps are completely covered by glass. But sconces and wall lamps also tend to face in opposite directions, either upwards or downward.

Should wall sconces face up or down?

Although personal preference determines the direction of your wall sconces, typically sconces to point up and out instead of straight down, like traditional lights. 

Sconces that face up are usually ideal because the lights are always within arm's reach of the bed. If the light points directly at you, it can quickly become overwhelming. The only solution would be to install sconces with a dimmer to adjust the brightness.

You can read the post "How to Decorate a Bedroom Using Lights?" for broader tips about bedroom lighting.

How do you install bedside sconces?

There are multiple ways to install bedside sconces, depending on the model you have purchased. Easier installations tend to involve sconces that are simply plugged into an outlet and require no work behind your walls. Other sconces result from DIY workmanship, which usually involves light pucks that can also help you avoid any wiring.

Click here to find this plug in sconce on Amazon.

When installing sconces, the most important factor is whether or not you are replacing an existing pair or introducing new fixtures. Whether you are installing the new wiring yourself, or you have hired a professional to complete the job for you, measuring comes first. 

1. Measure for Sconce Position

Before you even select a new fixture or introduce new wiring, it is always crucial to measure the sconce positions first. You can use the traditional measurement and create a mark five or six feet above the floor. 

But for the most amount of comfort, you should sit upright in bed and measure six inches above your shoulder. This will account for your own height and the height of your bed, which may not be a conventional 25 inches.

How far from the ceiling should a sconce be?

Interior of modern bedroom with bedside sconces

You may also have to consider the distance between the sconce and the ceiling. If your ceilings are too low, then the bedside sconces might result in uneven lighting and shadows.

Sometimes, they are taller than usual, as vaulted ceilings usually are. In this case, you can freely place the sconces higher if the lighting is too intense or the area feels too cluttered.

As such, the general rule is that any sconce should sit around three-quarters of the ceiling's height. This is more likely to create a balanced room. 

How far apart should sconces be?

The ideal horizontal distance between two sconces is usually six feet. However, keeping the fixtures within a foot or so from each side of the bed will be more accurate. This way, you don't end up with too much empty space on either side of the mattress. That would make it harder to reach the sconces, and they wouldn't provide as much light while you're in bed.

2. Establish the Wiring

If you have no existing wiring for your new wall sconces, it will usually be safer and easier to have a professional electrician install new wiring. Electricians will follow all necessary building codes and have the proper tools for the job.

If you've previous experience wiring, you might tackle this as a DIY job; just remember to adhere to building codes and use the appropriate safety materials. 

Once the wiring is correctly prepared for a new fixture, you can begin installing your sconces. If there is a previous sconce in place, then it will need to be removed.

3. Remove Existing Sconces

Although the hardware and wiring for an existing sconce can appear challenging, this is relatively straightforward to remove. You will need to follow a few basic steps to remain safe and conserve time.

Turn off Power

As with any electrical work, the first step is to remove the power. Rather than turning off the switch, cut the power at the breaker.

Some people turn the sconce on first so that it is clear when the breaker cuts the power. However, it is best to employ a non-contact voltage tester. This device will alert you if there is still a charge before you work.

Click here to see this voltage tester on Amazon.

Remove Fixture and Disconnect Wiring

Use a screwdriver to unscrew the sconce from the wall, exposing the wiring inside. There should be three types of wires, which may be connected via wire nuts. Remove the wire nuts and un-twist the wiring until they are disconnected from the existing sconce.

Use wire cutters to dislodge the grounding wire. You'll need to reconnect a new grounding wire, which helps protect you and the system in the event of a short circuit or similar power issues.

Uninstall Lighting Crossbar

The lighting crossbar is the hardware that allows you to properly mount a sconce, but the shapes and sizes are subject to change. Unless the existing crossbar is compatible with the new sconce, you will have to unscrew and remove the old hardware.

4. Install New Crossbar and Fixture

Next, you can screw the new crossbar into the box. If your sconce doesn't come with its own hardware, you can purchase flexible crossbars yourself. 

Click here to find these lighting crossbars on Amazon.

Then, you can reconnect the wiring inside the box with the wires of the new fixture. Make sure that the wires are all matching, including the ground wire. This can appear either copper or green. Also, it usually needs to be wrapped around a special green screw on the crossbar. Use new wire nuts to securely fasten the wiring together.

Finally, you can simply screw in the new sconce, and repeat the process for the second one on the other side of the bed. Restore power at the circuit breaker only once you have completely finished working.

Are wall sconces in style?

Switched off stylish wall light, bedside lamp on the blue wall

Because wall sconces serve a practical function, they have always remained in style. These fixtures are also unusually flexible, so the model can match any interior design.

This makes it easy to install sconces in different rooms. You can read the post "Where To Place Bathroom Vanity Light Sconces?" to properly position them in a bathroom, requiring different measurements.

Also, if the wiring is already in place, it is relatively easy to update your sconces with replacements if you choose to restyle. This means that wall sconces aren't too difficult to adjust with design trends.


Installing brand new bedside sconces can be highly challenging if there is no existing wiring. However, it is still possible to do it yourself with enough time and effort.

Now it is clear exactly how to properly position sconces around your bed. Once the wiring is established, installing the sconces themselves can be a simple process. You only need to remove the old hardware, and reconnect the exposed wiring to your new fixture.

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