Decor

How we decided on New Wall Sconces in the Stairwells (at last!) + Look-a-likes at every Price Point!

May 12, 2020  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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All I wanted for Mother’s Day was to replace the sconces in our stairways and add some to the upstairs hallway :) The old ones were outdated, “Beauty-and-the-Beast-looking” lights with two artificial tapers and nine dangling crystals on each. I never even turned them on because I didn’t want to draw attention to them. Ha! But for the last 11 months we have lived here, there was always something more pressing to worry about.

Replacing them this last weekend was truly the best gift I could have asked for. After Chris removed them all, I touched up the wall paint, knowing that the new sconces had a base with a slightly different circumference. (Quick little reminder to your future self here: Keep a bonus can of your wall color in the garage for touch-ups like these. Ours is Alabaster by Sherwin Williams.)

We installed these Visual Comfort fixtures (currently 20% off + free shipping!), but they actually aren’t the first ones we bought for the space and after rounding up a bunch of dupes below for this post…turns out you can get the look for a lot cheaper!

I originally bought the Berkshire Double Sconce in oil-rubbed bronze with linen shades from Rejuvenation. I got an email saying that it wouldn’t ship until July, and I was feeling impatient, so I called and canceled the order. I took this pause from the universe as an opportunity to look around our house: We’ve been designing each space (slowly) to include black, warm whites, and wood with brass accents. The wall sconces in the dining room and entry are both brass with black accents. And I got to thinking–the black accent was already in the stairway with the balusters, so was it time for more brass? — The call was coming from inside the house! Brass sconces — not black! It was meant to be.

The lesson here for me was: Listen to your house. If you already made the decision elsewhere, maybe it’ll work again. In this pivot, we went with the Vendome Double Sconce in aged brass from McGee & Co.  Quick note: they are Visual Comfort brand and sold a lot of places under different names. This happens a lot with all kinds of brands and retailers. 

These were on sale and in stock. The shade provides a nice modern traditional look, that isn’t stark white, but more of an ivory–a really great soft tonal look against our white walls. The curved arms are so modern and clean-looking, and I think the shade keeps it from going too contemporary. And honestly, it just looks so home-y!

Many of you asked why we didn’t use these sconces everywhere else (like the dining room, entry or music room) and I think you totally could! You could absolutely have an official sconce of our house and use the same one everywhere. These six sconces (two in the back staircase, two in the front staircase and two in the upper hallway) have really defined the flow of those areas. And if we added another sconce to the hallway upstairs (we’re thinking about it!) I would definitely use this one.

But in the lighting for our house, shades and globes are a reoccurring theme. There are globe sconces in the dining room and the entry. A globe pendant above the breakfast nook and shaded pendants over the kitchen island and the dining room table. As we continue to work on our house, I know we’ll keep with this lighting theme, choosing globes and shaded lighting where they each make sense. Keeping to two or three lighting styles is making things feel more cohesive around here, but not too “expected.”

If you’re installing sconces where there weren’t any before (like we did in the upstairs hall), the general rule is that they should be 60 to 65 inches off the ground.  Adding a hard-wired light where there wasn’t one before is something you’ll probably want to hire an electrician for and depending on how many sconces you’re installing, the job could cost a couple hundred dollars. If you’re just swapping out a light fixture and are familiar with how electrical works, you can consider doing it yourself. Chris is very proficient in switching out a light fixture, and with some basic know-how and safety practices it’s a very easy DIY. (We’ve got a whole blog post about it right here.)

Lastly, let’s talk about the bulbs. For accent lighting like this, I like a slightly warmer Kelvin (I went with 2850K) and about 600 Lumens. As a refresher, Kelvins = color, and Lumens = brightness. (Watts are not really a thing anymore.) This is my favorite bulb lately.

Want to get a similar look? After we installed ours we scoured the Internet and found so many great fixtures with similar profiles! I honestly can’t believe some of these. They look nearly identical! Number 13, I’m looking at you!

 

 

  1. Hudson Valley Lighting Merry 2-Light Wall Sconce by Mitzi – $139
  2. House of Troy Scatchard 2 Light Wall Sconce – $214
  3. CB2 Bosco Double Arm Marble Sconce – $80
  4. Permo Vintage Double Sconce – $110
  5. Generation Lighting Capri 2 Light – $160
  6. Craftmade Ella 2 Light 13″ Wide Wall Sconce – $124
  7. Bellevue 2 Light 11″ Tall Wall Sconce – $109
  8. Capital Lighting Dawson 2 Light 16″W Bathroom Vanity – $118
  9. McGEE & CO Vendome Double Sconce – $335
  10. Kawamoto 2 Lights Armed Sconce – $120
  11. Safavieh Barrett Brass Gold 2-Light Wall Sconce – $73
  12. Serena & Lily Everett Two-Arm Sconce Antiqued Brass – $448
  13. Wayfair Carmack 2-Light Armed Sconce – $127
  14. Rejuvenation Berkshire Double Sconce with White Linen Shades – $207
  15. Rejuvenation Berkshire Double Sconce with Black Linen Shades – $207

 

 

 

What do you think?

  1. Amanda says:

    I really enjoyed the blog design choice to show them in daylight and turned on later in the day. It beautifully illustrates that you’re thrilled with the function of a beautiful item and that commitment to good design is why I value your work. Bravo!

  2. Kayla says:

    Weren’t yours #12? That was your swipe up you put a couple days ago on your stories.

    • Julia says:

      I actually realized they are the exact same ones. Haha and the ones I linked now are a better deal + 20% off

  3. Sarah says:

    Where is that art on the fireplace from?? gorgeous!!

  4. M says:

    Totally beauty and the beast! Ha!

  5. Nicole says:

    Is there a link on your site to the art on the fireplace? I thought you had shown it before but I can’t seem to find it. Thanks!

  6. Shenley says:

    I know they are expensive, but McGee & have curated Into their collection the most beautiful of this type of sconce.

  7. Patti says:

    I adore your house but I much prefer the old sconces. Lol!

  8. JL says:

    Julia, they are lovely. That curve in the arm is exquisite. But now, I can’t help but think how great these larger sconces would look in the entry; not only for consistency, but also for better visual proportions with the console and oversized mirror. (BTW, I think those globe sconces would be perfect in the new theater room.) Either way, I can’t wait to see whether you select a globe/round or shaded chandelier for the entry!

  9. Jennifer says:

    So pretty! These would never survive my ball tossing in the hallway boys.

  10. Sarah says:

    I was so excited when I saw you guys installing these over the weekend! I have two of those sconces in my living room and LOVE them! They really feel like they will never go out of style. I admired them for years and when we finally moved into our long-term home I felt like we could invest in slightly nicer fixtures. One thing I’ve found with the Visual Comfort lights is that the finish is really nice, especially the antique brass. Light fixtures seem to be one of those things where you can really spot the difference in quality. I used the Berkshire fixture in a previous house and loved it too! Since the lights are at about the same level of the back plate it’s a really good option if you have an existing rough-in that’s a little high.

    • Julia says:

      Agreed and good point! Bad brass is real.

      • Mimi says:

        On a similar note, as I furnish and make decisions in my new house, I would love your feedback on which items you think it’s worth it to save and splurge, versus things where a price differential doesn’t make as big of a difference. I love your posts with budget options, but at this point I’d prefer to really invest in quality for some things that will last and am a loss of where to really go for it. In general I get the buy higher quality classic for the big items- and go be more trendy and save on accessories, but things like faucets, light fixtures, hardware, accent furniture, etc I’m lost. Thank you!

  11. Lindsay says:

    This post could not have come at a better time. I wish I could show you a picture of the 1990s sconces I am looking at in the house I bought 12 months ago. I keep looking through Instagram and Pinterest but cannot settle on a certain one and you rounded up some great options. Thank you!

  12. Love the new sconces! The little changes like that make such a huge difference

  13. Jen says:

    Do you have them on separate switches from the can lights? Do you ever feel it is overkill? I have can lights in the hall but I love the ambiance and decor of sconces on a wall. Do you just leave your sconces on at all times and use the can lights as needed?

    • Julia says:

      We always do separate switches for each different kind of lighting. It always so much flexibility and then when we just want some mood lighting we’ll turn on the sconces and lamps.

  14. kim gorman says:

    I love these sconces so much! I have a question: I have two staircases, with two sconces per staircase. The staircase to the second floor has a lower ceiling and I don’t have the clearance for a tall fixture while the staircase to the third floor has a high ceiling, but is enclosed. I have been looking at #7 as an alternative, but I’m not sure if I should do one arm or two. I love the look of two, but I’m afraid it will be overwhelming. Do you have any thoughts on this?

  15. Lindsey says:

    I’m curious on how you decide when to purchase a “dupe” versus purchasing the item for a much more expensive price? How do you best find that balance in your home? These lights all look very similar, but is there a huge quality jump between the dupe and the higher priced versions in your opinion? We are doing some small renovations, and it is hard to know what items can be “dupes” and not lose out on quality and which ones you should go all in for. Love following along on your renovation and it’s so fun to see what you guys choose!

  16. Erica Robinson says:

    ‘All’ I wanted for Mother’s Day is 2k worth of lights. Yikes!

  17. EP says:

    I love them! I’ve used Visual Comfort fixtures many times and they’re great quality for the price. I think with sconces especially it’s worth spending a bit more because you’re usually seeing them up close. Do you have any plans to swap out the dining room sconces? I know those circular ones weren’t what you originally planned for the space.

  18. Mary says:

    These rooms looks great!
    Where is the “shop our home” section for this current house?

  19. Jessica says:

    The first photo in this post is absolutely gorgeous, I’m so glad your home is coming together both inside and out after all the months of construction! Those sconces are beautiful.

  20. Patricia says:

    Your great tip about keeping extra wall paint on hand. Your house is primarily one color so easy to keep some available. In our former home, lots of different wall colors so I made a habit of pouring some leftover paint into a screw top jar (like clean mayo jar), labeling what color and what room. Also kept a batch of small foal brushes for quick touch ups. Saved me many times over.

  21. Meg says:

    It looks so lovely! Do you think you’ll eventually add art to the wall behind the stairs in the entry? I’ve been trying to figure out ours—I don’t want cheesey family stair-step photos, but it’s a little bare.

  22. Jo says:

    everything you do is so beautiful! these sconces look perfect!

  23. Patricia says:

    Your old fancy sconces, while not right for the modern cottage vibe you’re going for, might be perfect for the (possibly) fairytale bedroom you’re considering for Faith’s tower room. She could be Belle in her own version of La Belle et la Bête.

    Always fun to read along and painlessly (and dustlessly) watch all the hard work at your house.

  24. Annie says:

    Looks beautiful! Could you link bulbs you recommend for recessed lighting? The ones in your lighting post are unavailable. Thank you!

  25. Guylaine says:

    As usual it looks perfect! I love watching the evolution of this home, it’s becoming a timeless beauty! One request that might I have is a lighting cheat sheet! I know you have a blog post about lighting but I thought something quick and easy I can refer to while shopping would be helpful. Just an idea! Thanks.

  26. Cici Haus says:

    The lights are beautiful. I’ve been debating whether to do pendants or sconces along our hallway and I think this pushed me toward sconces! (Also – love the sneak peek of the art on the fireplace!)

  27. Lori says:

    Such a transformation!

    World Market also has a great dupe!
    https://www.worldmarket.com/product/warm+gold+two+arm+riley+wall+sconce.do

  28. Kay says:

    Love the sconces. Are you going to talk about the art on your fireplace mantel?

  29. Kelly says:

    Brass was 100% the right call. Looks beautiful!

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