How To Choose A Wall Sconce

Written by: Erica Spangler

Design Specialist
Find the perfect wall sconce to go with every application.

Find the perfect wall sconces by following the steps listed in this guide.

Use this wall sconce buying guide to help you find the perfect wall light for your  home, inside or out. Wall sconces encompass a large selection of different wall lights from wall washers to wall swinging lights. Find out which one you like the best for your home's needs and your design taste.

Interior versus Exterior Wall Sconces
Wall lights look great both indoors and out, but make sure you check what UL rating is for the wall sconce. This will determine whether it can be located in wet or dry locations. Also, you can always put an outdoor wall light indoors.
Indoor Wall Sconces
Outdoor Wall Sconces

UL Rating

UL listed lets you know whether or not that particular light fixture is able to withstand the outdoor elements.

  • UL Dry is typically for indoor uses, where no moisture or water can affect the light. These can only be located indoors in rooms, such as a bathroom, hallway or living room. 
  • Shop All UL Dry Wall Sconces
  • UL Damp is preferred for porches or under overhangs, where the fixture is somewhat protected from direct contact with moisture and water. These can be located in a bathroom or under porch. 
  • Shop All UL Damp Wall Sconces
  • UL Wet is able to withstand dense fog, rain, and snow and does not need to be covered. These can come in direct contact with moisture with out a porch overhang or in a shower. 
  • Shop All Wet UL Wall Sconces

Types of Wall Sconces
These are the six most common types of wall lights. Most are either meant for a particular location or are meant to create a particular design look and feel.

Wall Washers

  • Washes or evenly spreads light across the wall
  • Accent lighting option

Wall washers spread light across a wall, which provides a different design potential. These fixtures create the effect that your walls are flushed with light.

Shop All Wall Washers


  • Defined by decorative details
  • Decorative lighting option

Wallchieres dress up your home’s décor with intricate details and designs. From the way these extend from the wall to the long intricate details, wallchieres add both light and style.

Shop All Wallchieres

Lantern Wall Sconces

  • Popular look for exterior lighting
  • Ambient lighting options

Lantern style wall lights look great for exterior wall sconces. Either by an exterior door or on either side of your garage door, these look great and keep your hoe lit up well.

Shop All Lantern Wall Sconces

Swing Arm Wall Light

  • Substitute for a lamp
  • Task lighting option

Swing arms illuminate your area because of the ability to swing to where you need them. Since these install on the wall, it eliminates the need for floor or desk space, which a standard lamp requires.

Shop All Swing Arm Wall Sconces

Picture Lights

  • Shines light on a picture or painting
  • Accent lighting option

Picture lights direct your eyes to the artistry of a photograph or paintings. This look provides the same distinguished feel of an art gallery into your home.

Shop All Picture Lights

Sign Light

  • Meant to illuminate an exterior sign
  • Accent lighting option

Besides making your exterior signs visible at night, consider using sign lighting to accent your wall gardens and other outdoor design details.

Shop All Sign Lights

Wall Sconce Design

From the classics that will always be popular like candle wall sconces to the latest trends, like Barn style lights, I wanted to make sure you knew what everyone was talking about.