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Wall Sconce Lighting Height Installation Instructions

Matt Scheer

A sconce is a light fixture that is affixed to a wall. Unlike a lamp, it has no support from the floor. Most sconces direct light upwards, scattering light over the wall their attached to. Sconces come in a wide variety of shapes, styles and finishes. Some sconces are modern and minimalistic, while others are ornate and patterned. Most residential sconces have one light socket, although sconces can have more. Despite this variety, choosing how the right height for installing a sconce on a wall is a similar process for most sconces.


This antique wall sconce may be too high, unless the ceiling is unusually high as well.
  1. Measure the height of the wall your sconce is to be installed on. Place the teeth of the tape measure on the floor and unroll the tape until you've reached the ceiling height. Stand on a ladder if you can't reach the ceiling. Have a friend hold the tape measure teeth to the floor if the measuring tape will not stay put.

  2. Write down the height of the ceiling in inches and multiply this number by 3/4. Most sconces are placed three-fourths up the wall. Because most residential ceilings are about 8 feet high, most sconces are located about 6 feet up from the floor, or at head height. However, sconces should be adjusted to be proportional to the height of the floor. Mark the position three-fourths up the wall on the wall itself with a pencil.

  3. Have a friend or family member hold the sconce at the position marked on the wall to see whether this spot looks satisfactory. Taller people, for example, may want to raise the height of the sconce, while shorter people may want to lower it.

  4. Hold the sconce against the wall at the three-fourths position marked on the wall. If your sconce is going on a wall next to a stair, walk up to the top of the stairs and look down. Check from the stairs that you cannot see the bulb from where you're standing. Being able to see the bulb from the top of the stairs annoys the eyes because of the brightness of the bulb. For a bulb that is to be placed on the top of a stairs, check that you cannot see the bulb from the bottom of the stairs as well.