Sconces come out of the shadows
By Michael Walsh, from The Seattle Times
Compared with their ceiling mounted cousins,
wall-mounted light fixtures - also know as sconces - have long been
regarded as dimwitted underachievers. To a certain extent, thatís
understandable. They are generally less adept than ceiling fixtures at
providing task lighting.
But while the light from a ceiling fixture may be
comfortable, it is far from flattering and, except in a kitchen or bath,
often excessive. The fact is, too much overhead lighting can actually
spoil the look of a room.
Thatís where the sconce, the wallflower among
light fixtures, comes in. More than merely functional, sconces are
decorative fixtures that provide decorative lighting, the kind of
lighting that can make a room (and those in it) look good and that can
establish an atmosphere of romance, warmth or drama.
That ability was prized by architects, designers
and builders from the turn of the century until some time before World
War II. Arts & Crafts-era bungalows sometimes had sconces with amber
colored stained-glass shades in every room
Sconces are great for giving shape, dimension and
texture to a room They can illuminate and emphasize a roomís outer
limits, making small spaces feel larger. Or they can put light on a roomís
focal point, a fireplace mantle say, or a painting hung above a console
They also work well in hallways and stairwells,
making those narrow confines seem wider without filling them with garish
Sconces were largely omitted from mass produced
homes of the Ď50s and Ď60ís or were relegated to bathrooms where a
pair became standard fixtures flanking a medicine cabinet.
Recently, though, there has been a new
appreciation for sconces and manufacturers have responded with an ever
growing inventory of traditional and contemporary styles.
Keep in mind with sconces the fixture itself is
illuminated along with surrounding surfaces. So the shape, style, color
and material of the fixture is as important as it is with a table lamp.
Fortunately, there are as many varieties of sconces as table lamps, so
you wonít have a problem finding one that fits your decorating scheme.
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