11 tips for buying the perfect Designer wall lights

Looking to buy the perfect wall lights to provide the finishing touches to your room? Here are eleven tips for choosing – and using – designer wall lights…

1) Pick wall lights suited to your lighting purpose

Wall lights can be primarily for practical use, or they can be mostly decorative. If you want them to provide general light (ambient lighting) in a hallway or living room, then go for translucent lamps which will give a nice diffuse light. 

Bonnia wall light in turquoise 

But for task lighting – for example in the kitchen – you might prefer wall sconces that offer more of a direct spotlighting effect. If you want to highlight a particular feature (accent lighting) such as an attractive alcove, then you’ll need a light that’s around three times stronger than the room’s ambient lights. 

Mo double wall light in brass with black hood 

2) Work out how much light you will need in the room

When choosing the type, positioning and number of wall lights, take into consideration the amount of light from other sources, including natural light, and work how much light you’ll need your wall sconces to provide. As all interior designers know, it’s always a good idea to give yourself lots of options for creating different moods in a room by having multiple sources of light – and it’s well worth investing in dimmable switches.

3) Pick a wall light that will look good at eye level

As a general rule of thumb, the right height for wall lights is about 5ft (or around 1.5m) above the ground – though this can vary according to the proportions of your room. So you should make sure you choose a light that looks good in the particular room if the top of it is at eye level. 

18cm straight empire pendant shade in kingfisher – with lacey wall fitting in chrome.

4) Match wall lights with the room’s style and décor

Lamps are the interior designer’s secret weapon, both for creating an atmosphere with the light they give, and for providing those important little finishing touches in a room’s décor. If you need wall lights for an industrial style kitchen, for example, you might want to go for something like this: 

Humph large and long wall light 

5) Pair up wall lights for a stronger effect

Some wall lights work really well when paired. This could mean placing them right next to each other in the middle of a wall so that they form a single, strong feature (and provide plenty of ambient light). Or how about spacing them slightly apart in a hallway or entrance area for an attractive design feature that also provides useful task lighting? 764

6) Use multiple wall lights to light a corridor

If you have a long corridor to illuminate, a series of identical wall lights makes a great, atmospheric alternative to overhead lights. As a rule of thumb, space them at about 8 to 10 foot intervals (25-300cm) for optimum effect.

7) Use unusually-positioned wall lights to highlight room features

How about placing wall lights lower than expected, to highlight the best features of a room such as a particularly lovely side table display? This designer wall light, for example, is doing the job of a desk light. Although it’s not as flexible (and therefore as practical) as a desk lamp, it’s a very effective way of drawing attention to the feature: 367

8) Use wall lights as alternative bedside lamps

Paired wall lights on either side of a bed can do the job of bedside lamps, and won’t take up space on your bedside table… 

Pooky wall lights at Shepherd’s Hut, Artist Residence Oxfordshire hotel. Image: Artist Residence.

9) Use glass wall lights to add a dash of colour in a minimalist room

A coloured, hand-blown glass wall light (such as the Inverie, below) can be a clever way to introduce a dash of colour if your room has a minimalist style. And when lit, they’ll cast an interesting coloured light onto a white (or whitish) wall. 

Inverie in dust 

10) Match wall lights with pendant lights

Keep your room’s style consistent by ensuring your wall lights match overhead pendant lamps – or carry a theme across spaces and rooms in your home – for example, by matching hallway wall lights with living room pendant lights. 

Stanley in petrol blue with “elbow” wall fitting in a chrome finish

Stanley pendant in petrol blue

11) Select fittings to go with your decor

It’s not just about the shade. You can choose from all sorts of fittings, from vertical torchiere style ones to adjustable arm style ones, and in all sorts of colours and materials. Have a browse through our wall light fittings here. Wall lights aren’t just functional objects – they’re a great tool in designing a beautiful room… Browse lovingly-chosen selection of wall lights here.