Outdoor sconces are a versatile staple in outdoor lighting and can brighten up a range of exterior spaces. To find your ideal sconces, read on for helpful answers to your most frequently asked sconce questions!
Outdoor sconces can be mounted on any wall or architectural feature, and are commonly used for brightening up front doors, porches and patios.
Sconces come in a huge variety of styles, ranging from ornate and decorative to clean and industrial designs. Some of the most popular looks include carriage house lanterns, candle sconces, uplights, downlights, enclosed nautical sconces and plenty of other unique shapes.
There are a couple variations when it comes to electrical requirements. Some outdoor sconces use standard line voltage (120V) and can be hardwired in the same manner as indoor fixtures. Other outdoor light fixtures use low-voltage wiring (12V), which means they use less energy to operate. If you’re connecting a low-voltage fixture to your home’s power, you’ll need to use an electrical transformer to convert the voltage and avoid overloading the light’s circuits.
While all outdoor sconces are intended to be used outdoors, there are different ratings for sconces that can be fully exposed to the elements. Completely weatherproof fixtures are labeled “Exterior Wet,” while those more suitable for slightly sheltered areas are rated “Exterior Damp.” Be sure to check the sconce’s specifications to ensure it’ll work in the location you have in mind.
The ideal height depends on its size and shape as well as the dimensions of the intended location. As a general rule, outdoor sconces should be mounted at least 6 feet above the ground. For walls taller than a single story, you may want to mount them higher, but always keep sconces below the top quarter of the wall.
Some sconces have additional built-in features that make them particularly convenient additions - keep an eye out for common features such as these:
• Dawn-to-dusk sensors (also called photocells) can detect ambient light levels to automatically turn your lights on and off with the setting and rising of the sun.
• Motion sensors are another great option to ensure your lights are only on when needed, while also making your home more secure.
• There are also a few types of solar-powered sconces, which offer simple installation and low operating cost.