How do I Choose the Best Brushed Nickel Sconces?

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  • Written By: Judith Smith Sullivan
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2019
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Brushed nickel sconces are both practical and decorative. Their versatility makes them a good choice for indoor and outdoor use, because they can be used in many situations. If you consider the function of lighting, your budget and your style, you can decide which brushed nickel sconces will best suit your needs.

There are four basic uses for lighting: ambient, task, decorative and accent. Ambient lighting illuminates the whole room. Task lighting is for a small workspace such as a desk or end table. Light fixtures that are a design feature in themselves, such as chandeliers, are an example of decorative lighting. The lights in a glass cabinet or below artwork are accent lighting, because the light draws attention to decorative details.

When you choose your brushed nickel sconces, consider their role. Sconces are not normally used for ambient lighting because they do not give off a wide light pattern. They can be used in addition with a ceiling fixture to enhance ambient lighting in a room. Sometimes a sconce is appropriate for task lighting, but only in the case of lighting a bathroom vanity or as bedside reading lights. Sconces perform particularly well as accent and decorative lights.


Depending on the function that you wish the sconce to perform, you might need a sconce with multiple or adjustable globes. A bedside or hallway sconce has a single bulb and globe. An above-mirror bathroom sconce works best with two to four bulbs. If the area is large enough, you can install multiple sconces a short distance apart. This technique works well in long hallways.

After you've considered the function and placement of your sconce, decide on your price range. There is a wide variety of brushed nickel sconces available, even if you are on a tight budget. Large retail stores might have the lowest prices, but look at some lighting specialty shops before you buy. You never know what you might find on sale.

Your style is a major factor in your decision. Match the sconce to the overall theme of the room. If you have thick leather sofas with classic matching coffee table and end tables, you probably should choose a traditional sconce. If your style is more eclectic, go with a contemporary or minimalistic sconce. Brushed nickel is a neutral finish, so you have the freedom to select a dramatic style without overwhelming the space.

Mounting a sconce usually requires installation of an electrical box. It is best done by a professional, unless you have lots of experience with wiring. Otherwise, you must purchase a sconce that can be plugged into a regular outlet.


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