Powder room with modern wall sconces

Modern wall sconces like our Robert Abbey Doughnut sconce should be mounted between 65-to-70  inches high next to bathroom vanity mirrors. But make sure you perform the glare test first!

Modern wall sconces lend timeless style to your home décor. But if you don’t install these fixtures right the first time, they’ll become a huge headache – literally.

For instance, you might install a sconce that seems a perfect height when standing. But upon sitting, you’re blinded by an annoying glare. Avoid this headache by employing our simple glare test.

The Cardboard & Flashlight Trick

Items for the cardboard and flashlight trick

Build your sconce template using these simple household items.

Create a wall sconce template using the following materials:

  • Cardboard
  • Box cutter or scissors
  • Small flashlight (found in most gas station convenience stores)
  • Tape
  • Pencil

First, find a modern wall sconce style you like. Use scissors to cut out a template roughly the same size as the fixture's shade. Shape the cardboard to match the shades curvature. Finally, tape the flashlight inside the cardboard to simulate the light source.

Image of assembled cardboard template with the flashlight attached

Despite it’s crude look, this template will help you hang a wall sconce like a pro!

Voila! Your template is ready for action.

Placement of Modern Wall Sconces

Side-by-side comparison of a bronze wall sconce and the cardboard template

bronze modern sconce by George Kovacs (left) and the cardboard template (right) you’ll use to pre-visualize the fixture.

Use your template to conduct a glare test in each room of your home.

  1. Recruit a friend or family member. Ask them to hold your cardboard sconce at different positions along the wall. The flashlight should be ON at this point.
  2. Stand at different sides of the room to observe your “sconce” at different angles. Make sure you don’t see glare from the flashlight.
  3. Next, sit down on any chairs, sofas or benches in the room. Observe the sconce. If you catch glare from the flashlight, adjust the “sconce” accordingly.
  4. Use the pencil to mark the top and bottom edges of the template.
  5. Buy your sconce, install the fixture, and enjoy your modern wall décor!

Sconce mounted where there is glare

If you can see glare from the flashlight, adjust the sconce position until it’s out of sight. Do this from a standing and sitting position.

Proper Height to Hang Sconces

Modern living room with sconce made of bronze Murano glass

Living room fixtures like the bronze Murano glass ET2 Cassini sconce should hang halfway between the ceiling and the floor to create a sense of balance.

The following are standard heights for mounting residential wall lights. Use these standards in concert with your cardboard “sconce”.

Hallway with 8-foot ceilings = 60-to-66 inches
Hallways with 9-foot ceilings and above = 66-to-72 inches
Living room = halfway between ceiling and floor
Mirrors and mantels = on either side, 65-to-70 inches

If you used the Cardboard & Flashlight trick, how did it work out? Did you use another method to judge height and placement of your modern wall sconce? We would love to hear your thoughts.