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The “Headboard Sconce” Might Be Our Favorite Hotel-Inspired Small Bedroom Hack

design by sarah lavoine | photo via coco kelley

Jess here. I’m back and I’m still talking about headboards. As I said in my unique headboards post earlier this month, I have been researching like a crazy woman, trying to design a headboard for my home and potentially sacrificing my father-daughter relationship. One little detail I have been seeing more and more of in actual homes and not just cool hotels are sconces in headboards. They are quickly consuming my every thought. The look can be incredibly chic and special. So while this isn’t technically brand new as it has predominately been hogged by the hotel design gang, I’ve seen an influx of the concept in (very beautiful) “normal people” homes. Naturally, I’m now determined to incorporate the idea into my potential headboard design for my itty bitty bed “nook.” And, honestly, in general, this is a great solution for a small bedroom to make a BIG statement with free up surface area.

Let’s dive into a few of the ways you can create this look into your home, including some DIYs I’ve found and, of course, shopping picks to make it happen.

Floating Integrated Sconce

Emily Henderson Sconces In Headboard Inspo Pic 1
design by simone haag | photo by mark roper

In my opinion, the floating sconce is definitely the most elegant and streamlined look out of the bunch. This residential bedroom above designed by one of my new favorite designers Simone Haag is so damn pretty. It feels interesting but minimal chic. Not to mention this idea, in general, is also a great space saver (shout out to my small space dwellers). This is definitely the look I’m considering for myself. Dad are you reading this??? (very unlikely)

Emily Henderson Sconces In Headboard Inspo Pic 12
design by estudioreciente

This integrated look is also very much a custom job. From the way I see it, you have one of two options for installation. Your sconce can either be hardwired which would require some electrical skill or somehow have a plug-in where you have access to the switch on the top or side of your headboard. The latter would definitely take some clever design.

Here are some more very pretty examples of this look:

Emily Henderson Sconces In Headboard Inspo Pic 11 Copy
design by decus interiors | photo by anson smart
Emily Henderson Sconces In Headboard Inspo Pic 2
design by stephan watts and roy delgado | photo via domino | photo by christian torres

There are some here that I’m not entirely sure how you would even turn on. Maybe there’s a remote situation? Or maybe there’s a tiny little switch on each of these we’re just not seeing in these overall photos?

Emily Henderson Sconces In Headboard Inspo Pic 5
photo via domino | photo by serena eller vainicher

Are there more ways?? So glad you asked…

Integrated Sconce with Visible Controls

Emily Henderson Sconces In Headboard Inspo Pic 3
design by atelier daaa | photo by bertrand fompeyrine

For those of you who love the floating look but want easy access to your light controls or like a more high tech vibe, then this section is for you. I mean talk about having that hotel life every day. This way you could have control over your lights and have easy access to electrical outlets. I don’t know about you but I always love an easy-access USB port.

Emily Henderson Sconces In Headboard Inspo Pic 6
photo via house and garden uk

This style would probably require some professional help but would look so good. The only issue though for the integrated sconce look (especially this type) is you are kind of married to the sconce you choose. Hmmm, I guess one slight con is okay.

Here is some more eye candy to get you hooked:

Emily Henderson Sconces In Headboard Inspo Pic 10
design by simone haag | photo by shannon mcgrath
Emily Henderson Sconces In Headboard Inspo Pic 8
design by carmen rebuelta | photo via ad spain | photo by belen imaz
Emily Henderson Sconces In Headboard Inspo Pic 4
design by matt mckenna | photo via heart home | photo by christian brailey

Plug-In Sconce

Emily Henderson Sconces In Headboard Inspo Pic 14
photo source

The easiest and most user-friendly way to get this cool look is with a simple plug-in sconce. It’s so simple that almost anyone with a screwdriver/drill could handle it. The only thing I would make sure of is that you like the look and color of the cord since it’ll be visible.

Emily Henderson Sconces In Headboard Inspo Pic 15
design and photo by kristin jackson | photo via domino

You typically see the plug-in headboard sconce on wood, though something upholstered might still work as long as it’s not SUPER plush (or else it’ll “sink” too far into the foam/batting). That, or you just have to get creative about a solution to combat the sunken look. Any ideas?

Emily Henderson Sconces In Headboard Inspo Pic 16
design by jesse keefer | photo via hunker | photo by codi ann backman

Okay now that I’ve shown you all these beautiful custom beds with their beautiful sconce, you are probably like “Jess, that’s all good and well but how am I supposed to achieve this in my home on a reasonable budget???” Well, I have found some great DIY headboard ideas from both our team (past and present) as well as a few other great ones from the internet that you could easily build a sconce into.

WAIT. First, here are some rules and suggestions for achieving this look properly:

1. Make you sure your headboard is (a lot) wider than your mattress. The reason all of the above beds look so good is that they nearly span the entire width of the room.

2. Place your sconce as if it were above a fake (or real) side table. This is IMPORTANT and goes along with rule #1. The whole reason why the headboards are so wide is to accommodate the necessary space to properly place the sconce. If the sconce (not reading light) is too closely aligned to the mattress line then it will end up looking cramped. I promise this is not what you want

3. If you don’t want to DIY, then buy a larger headboard than your bed size if you can. So if you have a queen, see if a king size headboard will give you the dimensions you need. This is just a suggestion and depends on the headboard of course. If the headboard has legs (that can’t detach) then it won’t work. However with a legless headboard like this one for example that just attaches to the wall you can have all the style with way less of the work.

Onto the DIY headboards, I’ve been promising. I thought that since this look calls for more of a custom headboard that I would show you some of my favorites that could work with a sconce integrated with them.

Bowser’s Wide Paneled Headboard

Bowser Bedroom Lores 1

First off, we have Bowser’s stunning headboard that you just saw last week. It’s modern, so cool and she laid out all the steps in this blog post. If you are considering, I say just do it! Plus, with its flat surfaces, it’s one of the ideal fabric headboards for a sconce because there’s not much batting and a sconce can be drilled right into the plywood backing. You’ll just have to be sure you plan out where the lighting hardware goes in conjunction with the French cleat it takes to hang.

Brady’s Skinny Channeled Headboard

Emily Henderson Sapira Mattress Diy Headboard Brady Tolbert Bedroom Green Velvet Channel Tufting Channel Tufted Masculine Boho Chic Headboard 7 Edited1
photo by tessa neustadt for ehd

It’s been a couple of years since Brady’s incredible bedroom reveal but this headboard still remains cool and beautiful. You would definitely want to plan ahead to make sure the placement of your sconce will look good. We say to center the base of the sconce between two channels for it to look its best. A round “micro” sconce (i.e. nothing with an arm) would also be ideal for the lower height of this, though you can always add more “channels” to raise it up to your liking and have more flexibility with the type of light you want to use.

Other DIY Headboards I Love

Emily Henderson Sconces In Headboard Diy 1
1. photo via martha stewart | 2. photo via rain on a tin roof | 3. photo via burkatron

1. This very awesome leather tiled headboard from Martha Stewart will bring texture and warmth to your bedroom instantly and looks great with a sconce. For the DIY, click here.

2. Talk about a unique headboard by Jenna LaFevor. I love the drama it brings and the only thing I would suggest if you want to include a sconce would be to add at least one extra panel on each side so that your sconce and design eye has room to breathe. Click here to see all the steps.

3. Cane is very in and this cutie by Caroline Burke is great. It’s actually an IKEA hack which is also great and super affordable. Make it the right size for your bed and slap on a sconce and we are in business. Click here for six easy steps.

Now for the grand finale, let’s get into some beautiful sconces for every budget. First, plug-ins….

Emily Henderson Sconces In Headboard Diy Plug In

1. NYMÅNE Black | 2. Simone Single | 3. Om Wall Light | 4. Pelle Long Gooseneck | 5. Annalane | 6. Bedside Midcentury | 7. Vitti Round | 8. Black Swiveling Wall Sconce With Wicker Shade | 9. Barbre Swing Arm | 10. Arm Wall Light | 11. RANARP | 12. Black Metal Accordion Wall Sconce | 13. Donna | 14. Madrot Glass Globe | 15. Envoy Swing | 16. NYMÅNE White | 17. Hiline II | 18. Cylinder Task

Onto my favorite hardwired options…

Emily Henderson Sconces In Headboard Diy Hardwired

Love you, mean it.

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4 years ago

Love the idea, but cannot figure how to execute this in my room with having two windows that flank the bed and go just a little behind the bed in each side. I’m curious if you could have one sconce over the bed in the approximately 4” of wall space behind it?

4 years ago
Reply to  Josh

Same problem, and I was wondering the same thing. I’ve seen it work well in a room with two twin beds, but not sure what could work behind a queen. Desperate to get the table lamps off my bedside tables.

4 years ago
Reply to  Jess Bunge

Good idea. 4’ sorry, not inches.

Gabrielle Muir
4 years ago

Hi Jess, great post, I love it when you guys drill down in a topic, especially one I am researching for myself. Meljac !! Is off the charts in beauty and quality for headboard sconces. To see how amazing they look and how seamlessly they attach, look at Jean Denoit beds, most of them have them attached. (In a more usable location then some of the above for bed reading, esp if you don’t want to disturb your partner). I was so excited when I saw your first picture, as it includes one of the Meljac’s in it, then nothing about them. I found the sconces when I was looking at there heavenly switch plates. Good if you attach a link for the beauty lovers out there, it is the one I was so happy that I landed on, and likely the company that has been my favorite to work with in my million decisions renovation. Plus Jacque Adnet does heart melting ones wrapped in leather. Glad you also added an allied maker to the list, great quality. I know these 3 brands are more of an investment $ and not for everyone to run out and buy, however GORGEOUS… Read more »

4 years ago
Reply to  Gabrielle Muir

Thank you, those Meljac look gorgeous. I saw the on Remodelista, here is the link for anyone else who wants to check them out ( I couldn’t find the leather adnet ones, if anyone else can find I am very curious to see, I love all things adnet.

4 years ago
Reply to  Gabrielle Muir

Thank you, those Meljac look gorgeous, I saw them on remodelista and here is the link for anyone else who wants to check them out ( I couldn’t find the leather adnet ones, if anyone else can find I am very curious to see, I love all things adnet.

Lauren Bach
4 years ago

Hello, what a timely post for all of us drooling over the influx of headboard inspiration the last few weeks! Any chance we can see a link list for the hardwired sconces? Thank you!

4 years ago
Reply to  Jess Bunge

I’m still not seeing the links either. Also would love to be able to access them.

4 years ago

This headboard much like brady’s Deserves to be included here too! She also shared a tutorial on how to get the look.

4 years ago

I design hotels and as you mentioned, this is very common.. I’ve definitely seen this crossing over more in residential and love the idea. In hospitality of course everything is custom, which makes it fairly easy. It would be a little more difficult in residential, and would probably require some creative hacking. Can wait to see future posts on this. I know it’s coming…

4 years ago

A topic near and dear to my heart!
Just completed my daughter’s DIY dorm room upholstered headboard with mounted reading light, the perfect solution for concrete walls and no nails allowed, all those annoying college room restrictions! Wish I knew how to share the pic here! Yep, we’re proud!

Julie P
4 years ago

Hi guys –

Great post!

Can we get links for the hardwired options please?


4 years ago

Serious question. I love all of these, but am I the only one who wants to be able to move all of my rooms around? With these headboards, you are stuck.

4 years ago

You could just use a smart plug or lightbulb in conjunction with a Google Home or Alexa to turn the lights on and off 🙂

4 years ago

With a plug-in sconce, it seems it would be easy enough to drill a hole and hide the cord behind the headboard – and then I would plug it into a dimmer cord and use that to control the light. Thanks for all the inspiration.

Georgette Parkerson
4 years ago

It’s surprising how similar #1 and #15 are in the plug in sconces. If you use the IKEA sconce, the savings would be over $600!

4 years ago

Oh how I wish you would have included our new CORDLESS wall sconce!! Shameless plug!! They are on per order now ( The Emily Wall sconce )

4 years ago

Great post! I love the Martha Stewart leather tile headboard. Unfortunately in her article she doesn’t provide a source for the leather tiles. Anyone know where one can find them?

4 years ago

Love this approach, but people really need to think about switch placement. You’re about to fall asleep and then you basically have to get out of bed to turn off some of these lights because the switch is on the lamp itself or hanging low on the excess cord. Of course copying the hotel approach to installing easy touch wall switches parallel to the bed and above any nightstand makes all of this moot.

I’m in a hotel right now and their approach with hanging globes on one side of the bed works well. The glass is frosted so it isn’t too bright, but the light is more than ample for reading,

Hotel Room Signs
4 years ago

I have been checking out many of your posts and it’s nice stuff. I will definitely bookmark your website.

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4 years ago

Thanks for the excellent content. Wish to see even more shortly. Thanks again and keep up the great work!