Hey guys, it’s Arlyn here (for anyone who hasn’t been around for a few months, I’m the new Editorial Director at EHD…don’t worry, Brady is still around, but he’s the Creative Director now). Emily is zipping around the Pacific Northwest finalizing the install of the Portland project for the open house this weekend (if you’re planning on attending, don’t miss the flyer with some details at the end of this post), so I’m taking over the blog today to talk about a new trend in lighting we’re all preeeeetty into right now. As you can tell from the title, petite bubble sconces have been on our radar as of late, and we were itching to share with you.
When you’re designing a house, you go through A TON of ideas, options, inspirations. Revision after revision, Pinterest board after Pinterest board. One day, you’re convinced you only want, say, lantern-style lights, the next day you see a photo of a bathroom with a tiny little bubble sconce and BOOM, mind changed entirely. Well, maybe not ENTIRELY, but all of a sudden you’re trying to find a way to fit your new fixation into your design for a room (rooms?).
Emily and the design team (Julie, Velinda and Grace) are in the thick of designing the mountain fixer upper right now (follow that progress here) and the “micro” sconce, as Em is calling it, is top of mind for her (she’s already planned to use it in the kitchen and the kids bath). Here’s a reminder of where she was considering it for the kitchen (we’re working on the kids bath renderings now, so stay tuned for that post coming up soon):
Besides being functional in the sense that they don’t block any sightlines, how cute are these?!? Here’s why we’re crushing on these little bubble sconces:
- They are minimal enough that you can use multiples without it being overwhelming.
- They are so minimal that they actually stand out…it’s like they are so understated that they actually are a statement. You know that “power” move of talking softly so people have to lean in to listen, hence giving you the upper hand? It’s like that.
- Depending on the brand, of course (because some of these can be PRICEY depending on the materials and craftsmanship), they tend to be pretty cost conscious.
A little more on point #2 from above: You know how in America’s Next Top Model circa Tyra Bank years (because honestly, who watched past that?), during the judge panel portion of the show where the girls would come dressed and coifed and accessorized how they thought best, but then Tyra would be all like “wait, take off that cropped cardigan and chunky belt and chandelier earrings and pull your hair back into a slick ponytail and wipe off that thick smokey eye…THERE WE GO” and you were like “ugh yes, SO much better. So simple, so chic.” While the early aughts styling looked fine to your eye at the time, and definitely would have been fine if Queen of Smize Tyra hadn’t given them a mini impromptu makeunder, it was pretty refreshing to see their looks toned down a few notches. Micro bubble sconces are just like that. Of course, you can use a traditional linear sconce or something more elaborate to great effect, but when you see a room with these simple little things, you kind of take a deep breath and think to yourself “oh yes, this is SO right.”
So what exactly is a “micro bubble sconce”? Well, these are usually flushmount wall lights with exposed bulbs (either those really little ones or normal-sized bulbs) with some sort of wood or metal plate, and no wider than about 6 to 8 inches (though some that we love aren’t much wider than 3 or 4 inches).
We’ve been seeing them pop up more and more in magazines, Pinterest, blog makeovers and we’re calling it…it’s a trend, people, one that we’re on board. Let’s take a look at some examples of the micro bubble sconce in action:
Mandy Moore’s Pasadena home (which was featured last month in Architectural Digest) is the gift that keeps on giving. Her designer, the lovely Sarah Sherman Samuel, who worked on the project with architect Emily Farnham, used little bubble sconces in both her guest bathroom (above, from Allied Maker) and master bath (below, from Candelabra). There’s something just so unexpectedly stripped down about the teeny fixtures that we (and clearly SSS and MM) love. The question is…how well do they light a space, though (if anyone knows…please chime in below in the comments).
The bulb here itself isn’t “micro,” but the sconce overall is pretty subdued. The wood base on this is like a little surprise…from the front, it’s just a simple white flushmount wall light, but from the side, it’s so much more. If calling something a mullet was actually a compliment, I’d go that route, but I wouldn’t dare insult these stunners with such a term.
Ummm, can we talk for just one second about that mirror hanging on a peg…fantastic. Okay, back to sconces. Everything about this vanity is pretty modern and simple, and the small flushmount sconces are the perfect addition to keep things streamlined.
Em had pinned this image as inspiration a while back, mostly because of those little bulb sconces on the walls. So simple, such a statement.
Here’s another fun function of the micro sconce: you can use multiple and place them basically anywhere you want to create an artful arrangement. The one here feels like a constellation. I’d be interested to see what something like this would look like on a bare wall without mirrors.
There’s a lot of good to take in here: the hardware, the paneling, the chandelier, and, of course…the brass sconce. The designer of this vignette could have easily flanked the floating console with a pair of wall lights, but the use of a single fixture off to the side feels almost sculptural on its own like that.
There doesn’t appear to be too much wall space on either side of the mirror/medicine cabinet here, so sconces on the side walls were the smart choice. And because you don’t want big ol’ lights jutting out into your view of yourself brushing your teeth…enter the flushmount bubble sconce (that rosy mirror finish is great, btw).
This restaurant photo was also an inspiration to Emily (plus, I’m guessing she’s really into those tiles). As lovely as the whole space is, I can’t help but direct my attention to the single sconce on the wall. It draws my gaze like a magnet.
For anyone as into the micro bubble sconce trend as we are, we rounded up 32 of our favorites right now, broken up into two boards: under $150 and $150+. There are some picks here as low as $40…have fun!
1. Brass & Black Modern Sconce | 2. Alabax Small Sconce | 3. Aureole Brass Wall Sconce | 4. Walnut Arc Wall Sconce | 5. Fremont Light | 6. Pearl | 7. Convertible Ceiling to Wall Sconce | 8. Teti Wall Lamp | 9. Modern Wall Flush Mount Sconce | 10. Marble Flush Mount Sconce | 11. Topsy Raw Brass Inverted Flush Mount | 12. Plate Matte Black Wall Sconce | 13. Solo Black Outdoor Wall Sconce | 14. Fleming LED Wall Sconce | 15. Flush Mount Sconce | 16. Brass Flush Mount Light
1. Baird 1 Light Wall Sconce | 2. Galileo Sconce 6″ | 3. Mini Orb 3-5 | 4. Hoist Sconce Bare Small | 5. Anton Mini | 6. 14 Wall Sconce | 7. Grove Flush Mount | 8. Spun Sconce | 9. Oculus Sconce | 10. Echo 1 Sconce | 11. Olema | 12. Mini Orb 3-10 | 13. Stud Sconce | 14. Curve Sconce | 15. Molten Sconce | 16. Hoist Sconce Small
What do you think? Are you loving the petite/micro bubble sconce look? Do you have any favorites from the roundups above? Where do you see yourself using these little guys? Let us know!
Now, for some details on this weekend’s event in Portland. If you’re around this Saturday, July 21 from 3 to 7 pm, come see the FINISHED PORTLAND PROJECT (!!!!) and meet Emily and some of Team EHD:
RE: The Portland home poster, why no high heels? And do you mean stilettos, or any heels whatsoever (say 2” equestrian style boots)? I can’t go so I’m just asking because I’m really curious.
As to not wreck the new wood floors.
Yup! That’s exactly why. Gotta keep those floors pristine for the buyer!
Yeppers. Lots of open houses provide booties, as well.
One more reason why I love your blog! I have seen those sconces on Pinterest lately, but did not pay too much attention to them. Thanks for officially introducing me to them and giving me all those options to purchase!
Also I would love to come to Portland, but it’s too far for me. Have a fabulous event!
Micro bubble mini sconce trend, umm no thank you. First real miss for me all the time I’ve been following you. Not bad?
I am feeling the same way, just not into them.
Thank you – me three.
I didn’t know what they were called, but totally looked at using micro bubble sconces in our bathroom remodel. I love how simple and sculptural they look but I was concerned they wouldn’t give off enough light in our only bathroom and went a different route. Fun to see this roundup so soon after going through that decision-making process. Can’t wait to see which ones you pick and how they’re used!
Meh… I do kind of like them on the ceiling as an alternative to more industrial, cone shaped sort of semi flush mounts, but I definitely do not care for them on the walls. They are just so … round… and bubbly. Plus I’ve discovered the hard way that exposed bulbs around eye level aren’t very livable for me personally.
That mirror hanging on the peg is from Blu Dot. I have a smaller version in my home and it is amazing in person.
Including the link to the mirror above:
I love those blue dot mirrors as well. I’ve used them twice for clients
Lucky enough to live about 3 miles from Blu Dot’s Mpls outlet. They have several there now if you’re local!
Those are…light bulbs.
Agreed. I’m just not feeling it…
They’re too much like the cheapo ceiling fixtures I’ve had in the laundry room/basement of every house I’ve ever lived in.
I really like the look of the ceiling and pendant versions of these but the ones on the wall just remind me of (a dressed up version of) the Hollywood dressing room lights that were everywhere in the 80’s.
That was my thought also. Not into it.
I like it!
Adorable. And, I loved the writing, Arlyn! It made me giggle a few times here at work (Tyra… etc.).
I really do love the minimal vibe of these sconces.
Seeing Sarah Sherman Samuel’s progress shots during the Mandy Moore renovation really made me love these little sconces. I seriously considered buying them for my bathroom renovation and sourced a few I loved but in the end I was worried they wouldn’t give off enough light and have chosen something else.
Our bathroom doesn’t have any natural light and without an additional overhead fixture I thought only having 3 small single bubble sconces wouldn’t cut it.
I am however thinking these might be super cute as a set of three above the kitchen sink to go along with our MCM style Globe Pendant lights from practical Props. Having so many options to choose from will make it way easier to coordinate with the existing pendant lights. Thanks for the round up!
I’ve just installed some similar ones in my 2 bathrooms. I have a simple, casual, industrial vibe going in this house and am on a very tight budget, so they work for me!
How are they for lighting in your bathrooms? How many did you install in each bathroom?
Eh. kinda cute and kinda look like fried eggs.
I’m most interested in how well they light the space when they’re used by the bathroom sink. Otherwise, they’re nice as accent lighting. I especially like the one with the brass frame off to the side of the floating console.
i often have a hard time determining what kind of bulbs to use with exposed fixtures. even some edison-type bulbs are too bright and blinding. can we get an “exposed bulb” round-up (super sexxxy topic, i know!)?
Came here just to make a similar comment/request! I’d love some good tips on finding, sizing, buying bulbs like this. It seems like an easy way to modernize a fixture as well.
Note: part of the reason for my request is that dimmable LED’s in interesting shapes can be tricky!
You really have to check out this light hack we did. Kind of a bubble light but maybe more palatable for the masses from the comments I’m reading. We made these for about $21!!!
I did this exact same hack in my living room! Love the bulbs you used. Like others, I have a hard time finding bulbs that are bright enough but not blinding when exposed. Thanks for sharing!
I just can’t. They are kinda cute, but I get flashbacks to those cheesy exposed bulbs around mirrors (Hollywood glam gone wrong). What was that 80’s maybe? I like the pendant versions though!
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I like them! Thanks for the round up….I ve got a project that needs some.
cute today, but these things are going to look as dated as 1992 vanity lights in a couple years!
These are kinda cute in certain situations and I definitely don’t hate them, but I wouldn’t be excited to buy them for my house, KWIM? And now I’m very fondly remembering my childhood vanity mirror which was bordered in bulbs! Hadn’t thought of that thing in years…
Hmm, remind me of baby dummies. Not a fan.
I’m 100% on board with this trend. There’s a restaurant in our Denver neighborhood (Concourse Moderne) that has a single “micro bubble wall sconce” in each booth and I’ve always been a fan—but NEVER knew what they were called. Now I know! Really liking them on a bathroom mirror (I think the recent home tour in CA has them on the bathroom mirror) and in a dining room.
I think the gold grout in Mandy Moore’s bathroom deserves it’s own post. Woah!!!
Also, Arlyn, you have an amazing writing voice.
OMG those floors are INSANE and yes, we need to talk more about them.
And THANK YOU, that makes my day.
I love, love, love these! My favorite place for them would be as sconces when you go up the stairs. They can light up the space, and what I love about that placement is that you don’t see wires under the lights as you are walking up.
This is such a nice post on use of sconces and its collection…..Thanks !