Article Line Long1

Sculptural Sconces? The Design Hack That Will Make Your Home Look Very Cool (+ The One Jess Picked For Her Living Room)

I’ve had a love affair with statement sconces for a long time. I’m a sucker for a simple yet dramatic design moment. For statement sconces specifically, not only are they a piece of art in their own right but they also have a very useful function–lighting up a room. What’s not to love?? To me, it reads “I love design and know how to put it into action”. Honestly, they are kind of a design hack. Take Brady’s old bedroom sconce in the opening photo. His room would have still been amazing without it BUT with it, it’s completely elevated, visually interesting, and it adds an inherent chicness in my opinion. Bring on the drama, baby!

Emily did a similar thing with her family room gallery wall at the mountain house. I love how she made a gallery wall that was filled with sentimental and personal things from their life. Again, without the sconce, it still would have been a great-looking gallery wall. But do me a favor and use your finger to cover it. See?? I think we can all agree the stunning sconce adds that “designer touch” and makes the whole wall feel more sophisticated.

I also want to note that for this awesome visual effect, this sconce must be big and wide. Something small could have still looked pretty, but it’s the inherent size and simplicity that makes this wall extra special, extra cool, and like a professional designed it. So if you want something similar GO FOR IT, K???

design by rob diazanastasia ratia | styled by sarah brady of the platform experiment | photo by virtually here studios & la light photo | from: is this the new “california casual”? step inside this modern double a frame home that is contemporary and dripping with soul

What is also incredible about a large sculptural wall sconce is that it can act as a big enough piece of artwork that you may not need anything else on the wall that it’s on like in Rob Diaz and Anastasia Ratia‘s incredible design.

design by brady tolbert | photo by sara ligorria-tramp

But let’s say, you like the idea of a super wide sculptural sconce but you don’t need or want it to take over the majority of your wall… just add something more vertical to a gallery wall like the sconce master himself, Brady Tolbert, did in one of his last versions in his old apartment. It still has that oversized sculptural, geometric feel but is a liiitle less intense. If you’re into that sorta thing:)

design by shanty wijaya of allprace homes | styled by a 1000x better | photo by jenna peffely | from: the house tour that took all of our breaths away – shanty’s japandi style oasis

Scale and those dramatic geometric lines are really the most important elements to think about when shopping for your own. Repeat in your head, “This is the kind of drama I want in my life.”

design by lea johnson | photo by sage e imagery | from: lea’s living room reveal: her pet and family-friendly open concept design agony solved

See how Lea’s perfectly oversized Serge Mouille-inspired living room sconce takes the design of the whole space up a notch? It says, “Yes, I’m a pro.” It’s moments and design choices like this that really change a space. Do the finger thing again to see. I know I sound like a broken record already but I want to prove my point. SORRY!

design by jess bunge | photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: the feel-good modern romantic bedroom makeover jess did for her dear friend (all thanks to the company store)

I actually also played with scale when I designed my friend/neighbor’s bedroom. I LOVE Katy Skelton’s lights and have always wanted to use one of her pieces. So when it was looking like their room need a hint of modern drama, I knew I wanted to use that sconce. My friend told me that it was the one decision she was a bit hesitant about but after it arrived and was installed it was one of her favorites. So like I pushed her (because I believed in it so deeply), I want to push you to play with scale in your sconces. It’s fun, I promise.

Now let’s get into the real reason I decided to write this post (per Em’s request). I knew the moment I stepped into my apartment’s living room that I wanted a statement, sculptural sconce on this wall (see photo below).

I didn’t want to simply do a gallery wall like my last place (even though I LOVE a gallery wall). Also FYI my beautiful, unfluffed sofa was only against that wall because I was having my birthday dinner party and needed space for another table. It is now back facing the fireplace where it belongs:) For a few reasons, I couldn’t take a more current photo. SECRETS…

Back to the sconce idea. I photoshopped out the “original” sconce that came with the apartment to give you a clean visual slate but there is a junction box in case you were wondering. But truly, isn’t this wall begging for a gorgeous huge sconce?? I wanted (as always for my spaces) to create a California/European vibe and a sculptural sconce would do that beautifully.

design by lea johnson | photo by sage e imagery | from: lea johnson’s basement reveal: workspace by day and family-friendly living room by night

I’d been searching for a while and kept coming back to this Serge Mouille-inspired light fixture that Lea used in her basement as a ceiling light. For a second it made sense. It was going to feel very French/European, check. It was a HUGE visual statement, double-check. And I had always loved them, check, check, check! Plus I found one around the $500 mark which felt doable if they weren’t able or interested in gifting. They have some examples of it as a wall sconce if you look at the photos. It’s very cool if you have the space. Also, while these lights have gone in and out of being “trendy,” ultimately they are a classic.

But then I taped it out…

Honestly, even taped out I was still on board (remember that’s not the real location of the sofa). However, after I realized how far into the room it would protrude I knew I had to say goodbye. I’m sure a ton of you can relate to those moments. You think you’ve figured out a perfect piece to your design puzzle only to realize it doesn’t actually fit. RUDE. Someday I’ll have a larger room where I can use this as a sconce but that day is not today.

So what next?? Well, I had another secret French lover that I kept swooning over but this one wasn’t “inspired,” it was the real deal. If you haven’t heard of Wo & We, you’ve definitely seen his lights. You will have a hard time looking at any design magazine or site and not see one at least once. And I’m not just saying this but I have been a fan since I think before I worked for Emily. Getting one of his sconces would be a piece I would keep forever. I should also mention I am working with the amazing BuildLane to design a custom “shelving unit” and the light I wanted to get was going to work perfectly with my idea. So with all of that in mind, I knew this was the sconce and it was purchased.


Ok, the photo is bad on purpose because I want the reveal photos to really feel like a WOW. I stare at it every day and can’t believe I have one. While absolutely not cheap, the price wasn’t as outrageous as I was expecting and was very on par with the market. Plus all of the lights are made in Lyon, France in the Wo & We factory. I even emailed directly with Oliver the owner and he was wonderful to work with. I was also able to slightly customize the length of the center pole since originally it was too long and going to come too far into my space. The thing I was most excited about was that I was going to finally get what I have fondly referred to as the “taco shade”! He calls it “bented” which is much cooler:) So that’s my little sneak peek surprise for today.

Now of course I wouldn’t leave you without some options for you to shop from if you are in the market. If you can’t tell I think you should do it.

1. Articulated Modern Brass Two Arms Sconce | 2. Cypress Champagne Double Wall Sconce | 3. French Articulating Double Zig Zag Light Sconce in the Style of Serge Mouille | 4. Onda Plug-in Sconce | 5. Adjustable 3-Arm Wall Lamp | 6. Staggered Glass Adjustable Sconce | 7. Simms Long Arm Double Sconce | 8. Sereno 2-Light Plug-In Sconce | 9. Mid-Century Brass and Perforated Metal Shade Wall Light (Set of 2) | 10. Alyra Steel Swing Arm Sconce (Set of 2) | 11. Pivot Double Wall Sconce with Articulating Arms Made | 12. Journey 2-Light Swing Arm Wall Sconce | 13. Adelone Two Arms Rotating Swing Arm Sconce Wall Sconce Lamp | 14. Paz Light with 2 Arms | 15. Awkward Wall Sconce

I tried to give lots of options with a variety of prices and styles. But most importantly each of these is at least 3 feet wide. That’s the kinda width you want for making a visual statement. As I have stated 8,348 times already in this post, if you are looking for a show-stopping yet simple statement this is a truly great option where there’s something for every price point. Take a risk and go oversized. Oh and this is renter-friendly too (especially the plug-ins)! I can say from experience it’s so worth it.

Love you, mean it.

Opening Image Credits: Design by Brady Tolbert | Photo by Tessa Neustadt | From: Brady’s Bedroom Makeover With Parachute


Never miss a single post and get a little something extra on Saturdays.

38 thoughts on “Sculptural Sconces? The Design Hack That Will Make Your Home Look Very Cool (+ The One Jess Picked For Her Living Room)

  1. I appreciate the architectural lines of these sconces and vibe the clean lines and angular nature.
    They are the antithesis of my 100 yr old cottage. Plus, I’d be pushed to find a room that wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the protrusion into the space, that’s clearly required for them to be a glorious feature.

  2. Finnish Design Shop has a plethora of wall lamp options. They ship worldwide but I will often just use them for inspiration too, then find the item locally!

  3. $999 for a wall light. And up to $4000. I don’t mind spending money for quality, but I’m beginning to question what kind of alternate reality I’m living in.

    1. A reality where artists, makers and manufacturers deserve to be paid living wages for the work that they do… there’s a reason why there’s a range – someone is usually eating the cost with cheaper products: its usually a design knockoff, the material isn’t as high quality, or manufacturing costs are kept low (aka the makers aren’t paid very much).

      1. It’s interesting that you could turn niche, extravagant, and unreachable for most people into a class-conscious appeal to “living wage for artists.”

        1. I’m here for reasonably-priced design, but this just strikes me as unfair – there are multiple options listed in the post for under $300. Just like everything in home décor, we choose how much to spend based on our means, values and whatever other factors influence us as individuals.

          1. I appreciate your point, Nicole, and I wondered if my comment could be read as overlooking the range of $ options that Jess / EMH Design offered. You’re right in pointing that out. I supposed what I was responding to is price spike that I’m seeing across retailers, even the mid-range ones. These escalating prices get attributed to inflation, but I’m also concerned that social media cultures are being a bit too blithe about how out of control this is becoming. What I could have imagined paying for a light fixture four years ago is now double that price. That Arhaus fixture, for instance: it’s $899 and made in India–apparently by artisans (according to their verbiage), but the fabrication is still out-sourced.

          2. That’s a fair point to make but fwiw, I also assumed that your initial comment was a criticism of this post as being too aspirational and out of touch, not a comment on retailers’ pricing strategies.

          3. Katherine, I don’t see the two points as mutually exclusive. What was once mid-range has become aspirational. And not all high price tags are because businesses are paying their employees a living wage. Wo + We may be a beautiful exception–I hope they are.

      2. But when the artists themselves being paid that living wage would struggle to justify a light fixture purchase (this isn’t a ballroom chandelier) half the cost of their rent? Yes, there is a range for a variety of reasons. But if you think there isn’t markup on some of these, that’s just naive.

  4. Not my cup of tea I’m afraid–especially when they aren’t hard wired. The cords distract from the sculptural quality of the sconces in the worst way.

      1. Meanwhile I always specifically look for plug-in options because I value flexibility! I want to be able to easily rearrange, and if we were to move house (I don’t rent, but not sure this is a forever home) I don’t want to leave my lamps behind. The cords don’t bother me, because they are functional. To each their own 🙂

    1. True but not everone can harwire sconces becuse they rent or it’s too expensive to have one installed by a contractor. I apperciate the inclusivity of the options!

  5. I like the Katy Skelton fixture in the bedroom design, but most everything else strikes me as spidery things with alarming black cords. I’m actually happy, though, to see a trendy design that I don’t like because so often I get sucked into the next big thing and sometimes I’m not entirely sure if it’s because I actually like it or if it’s because I’ve been mesmerized by all the photos.

  6. This was the design solution I didn’t know I needed!!! Love the sconce you chose and thanks for including options for us!

  7. I love the Serge Mouille ceiling lamps but how is the lighting from them? We live in shady, rainy Seattle and I worry that it wouldn’t give off enough light.

  8. This is a really timely post, thank you! I have multiple spots in my 1926 house where I really wanted an artistic sconce of some kind, but it was so hard to find the right words to search on them. The other challenge is I wanted hard-wired sconces with a switch on them, but usually it’s either hardwired or plug-in to get a switch, not something in-between. Way to go for going for it with the design, can’t wait for the reveal!

  9. I bought a really good pair of Amber Lewis white sconces like these to use as reading lights on either side of a king sized bed. Unfortunately the scale was much too large, I had to remove them, and now they are going in the garage sale pile. Very cool look but you really need some volume in the space to carry it off. High ceiling, large room, extra walking space around the bed… these things take up a lot of visual space!

    1. Was it the mixed shape one that she did for Anthropologie? I LOVE that fixture but I just measured it out last night and yikes it’s definitely too big for the hallway wall I wanted to put it on.

  10. I love the one you chose, Jess, and cannot wait to see the final WOW pictures! Also, I’m drooling over all the Wo&We lighting! So good!

  11. I SO SO love the look of all of the sconces, but do not like the quality of light that they give off at night. Is there a solution?? I have tried low wattage, Edison bulbs, even some half silver (which solved an exposed bulb in a pendant light situation) , but as much as I want to be cool enough for one of these lights, I like diffused lamp light, so keep ending up with a regular old shades and a sense of peace in the evening:)

  12. You’ve just solved a design conundrum for me! I was struggling with lighting a living room corner that will have a big circle chair in it (similar to Emily’s son’s new giant chair). I want a light there but was worried about a typical shaded sconce creating a beauty-parlor hair dryer effect. Enter a double-arm number with smaller shades!! This will allow us to adjust the lighting depending on what’s happening in the chair but won’t be obtrusive, and it will add a sculptural element and atmospheric light in the corner of the room where a statement wall meets the fixed part of a sliding glass door. Boom. Thank you!

    1. It is similar to the Serge Mouille Black Three Rotating Straight Arms Wall Lamp. Check out the Stilnovo Gothenburg Wall Lamp from 2bMod for a lower cost option.

    1. It is similar to the Serge Mouille Black Three Rotating Straight Arms Wall Lamp. Check out the Stilnovo Gothenburg Wall Lamp from 2bMod for a lower cost option.

  13. Would love an option that has separate switches for two arms. We have a very tight bedroom and that would be perfect solution to give us both reading lights (no room on my side of bed to mount anything!

Comments are closed.