For those of you not familiar with the term, a sconce is a light fixture that’s mounted to a wall. It is one of the oldest forms of light fixtures known to man, yet it comes with so many different modern designs because manufacturers are just that creative. Back in the day, scones used to be paired with candles or oil lamps, while today they work with LEDs and other types of bulbs.
They are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, but each type has its own pros and cons. Today, we’re going to focus on modern outdoor sconces and what they have to offer.
What to Know About Outdoor Sconces
Having outdoor light fixtures is important regardless of how much time you spend outside the house at night. It doesn’t matter if you are not the person to spend time in the yard after sunset, as lighting fixtures for outdoor placement can serve as security measures or they can help you find your way around the yard and entrance if you ever get some when it’s already dark.
A sconce is made from two main components: the light bulb and the fixture itself. The fixture, however, has at least three of the five following elements as well:
- The back plate is the part of the fixture that’s mounted on the wall. The design of the back plate can range from super minimalistic to adorned with all sorts of decorating elements. The role of the back plate is to conceal all the wired and electrical components that are part of the fixture. When you purchase a wall sconce, it should come with all the hardware needed to mount the back plate to the wall.
- The arm of an outdoor wall sconce is what connects the back plate to the actual light source (bulb). Plenty of wall sconces have curved arms and, depending on the model chosen, they can be highly decorative. Some fixtures have longer arms that keep the bulb farther away from the wall.
- The shade is another essential component of a wall sconce because it is placed at eye-level, which can make it rather blinding if you stare right at it by accident. The role of the shade is to diffuse the light and make it easier on the eyes.
- If you opt for an outdoor wall sconce, it will most likely have a power switch that’s either mounted inside, or outside as long as it’s covered and protected from nature’s elements, including freezing temperatures. Indoor wall sconces also have power switches attached to them, and while some outdoor fixtures have that as well, it’s less common.
- Some fixtures also include a dimmer, but it’s not a common option amongst outdoor light sconces. Dimmers are preferred in indoor fixtures, especially in places that need just the right amount of light (like hallways, where you want to see where you’re going, but you don’t want to have the light running at their maximum capacity).
Outdoor sconces need light bulbs in order to function. Some models have integrated lights, while others will require that you purchase the bulbs separately. For the most part, these fixtures are compatible with three types of light:
- LED lights are the most common ones because they consume less energy and have a long lifespan. However, LEDs are also more expensive and not everyone is willing to make a larger upfront investment.
- Incandescent bulbs are recognized for their softer light tones and low price. However, they also consume more energy and have a shorter lifespan.
- Fluorescent lights consume 90 percent less energy when compared to incandescent bulbs and have 10 times their lifespan. They are also expensive, can’t be dimmed, and emit a harsh color tone.
Top 15 Modern Outdoor Sconces That Add Value
With a little bit of knowledge on what a modern outdoor sconce has to offer, let’s look at some specific examples of different outdoor fixture varieties in hopes that we can inspire readers for their upcoming purchases.
We start off our list with an aluminum scone made with weather-resistant material for added durability and for protecting the light against nature’s harsh elements. It features an open bottom so that you can exchange the light bulb faster. Speaking of bulbs, this one works with 60 W ones. It will require assembly and can be used for outdoors and indoors, although the rugged design makes it more suitable for outdoor use.
With a futuristic design that’s absolutely magnificent, any modern home could accommodate this sconce. It is a fixture made from metal with shade material of iron, aluminum, and acrylic. It comes with a built-in LED (which is not dimmable, in case you were interested in having that feature).
This cylinder fixture is ideal for people who want a two-bulb lighting system that’s also compatible with LED bulbs (there are no bulbs included in the package). You can access the bulbs through the bottom side each time you need to replace them. Much like the first item on today’s list, this sconce is also made from durable aluminum casing which is weather resistant and can be used outdoors.
The Erick outdoor light fixture is another perfect example of a modern piece that fits contemporary homes really well. Made from cast aluminum, this fixture is durable and good-looking, especially due to that matte black finish that makes it suitable for a variety of porch setups. The shade material is made from glass, while the cylinder shape is very appealing to the eyes. It comes with an integrated LED which is dimmable.
Time to move on to a product with a more different design. This particular wall sconce has a steampunk design with elements of modern geometry and featuring a cage that protects the clear glass shade housing the bulb. While it’s designed for outdoor use, we can totally picture this sconce as part of an interior home decor, and it would fit really well in a pub or a bar. It comes with all the hardware needed for mounting.
This traditional-looking sconce is perfect for fans of glossy metal finishes. It is made from stainless steel and promises to withstand harsh weather conditions without being prone to rust. The shade material is made or glass, and the design really makes it look like a traditional old-school lamp. It can house an incandescent lightbulb of up to 100 watts.
This box-shaped sconce is the perfect example that less is more. It is a metal-frame sconce with a glass housing that will protect the light bulb in the face of nature’s rain, snow, wind, moisture, or other elements that would normally be dangerous around electrical equipment. You will receive a full set of instructions on how to install the fixture, but the light bulb has to be purchased separately.
Whether you opt for the black finished or the brushed nickel one, the Cano is one hella cool sconce. The simplicity of the cylinder-shaped design makes it compatible with modern houses, making it the perfect outdoor wall fixture for people who just want something basic, yet modern-looking. The fixture is made from metal, while the shade material is made from aluminum. The fixture is compatible with 100 watts incandescent light bulbs.
I spy with my little eye an outdoor sconce with a very UFO thing going on there. This aluminum sconce is a pretty straightforward product, with light oriented towards the ground, so you know that the bulb is both protected and stays away from your line of sight. The light is dimmable, while the aluminum cast construction is perfectly resistant in the long term.
Streamline style fans look no further, as this is the right outdoor light fixture for you. With a cone-shaped design and a durable metal casing, this fixture provides you with the peace of mind knowing that you invested in a long-lasting product that isn’t prone to rust, whilst the electrical components and the light bulb inside it are protected. It comes with an integrated LED bulb which is not dimmable.
This globe-shaped outdoor fixture has a contemporary design, combining metal and glass components that are durable and protective of every other part that shouldn’t be exposed. It works with a 60 watts medium bulb which has to be bought separately. The entire construction is weather resistant, while the rounded top is in tandem with the overall design of the fixture.
Following up, we have a light that’s a little bit different in terms of design compared to the other we’ve reviewed today. It has a very sleek brushed aluminum finish and comes with a built-in LED light that eliminates the hassle of having to purchase a separate bulb. The light is dimmable, while the plastic and metal combination with the unique geometric shape make this fixture stand out as being perfect for homeowners looking for that modern feel both indoors and out.
You have to give credit where credit is due: the Atlantis outdoor sconce looks amazing. You can purchase it in a bronze, satin black, satin white, or titanium finish, and each of these four designs are out of this world. It is a fixture made from a combination of metal housing and a glass shade, with a modern rectangle style. You can also add an incandescent light bulb to your purchase, but it will cost you!
The Zoller light fixture makes a wonderful addition to today’s list, with a cool-looking design and good construction elements that make it worthy of your investment. It is a fixture made entirely out of aluminum with two lights to illuminate your patio or entryway. The lights are dimmable, but neither of two light bulbs supported by the sconce are included in the package.
To end this list in style, we have chosen a really attractive outdoor sconce, but also one that would fit perfectly indoors in some very specific decors. This wall fixture features a cylindrical frame, with shade material made from glass. Surrounding the glass, you will find metal golden-finish bars. The waterproof construction and the rugged look with modern elements put the Grandbrook wall fixture at the top of our list.
A sconce is a very specific type of wall-mounted light fixture, with elements that are easy to recognize. There are a variety of modern sconces suitable for outdoor use, so the design and complexity of the product is entirely your choice. However, there are a few things that are not negotiable: an outdoor sconce has to have a weather-resistant casing, with the wiring and the bulb well-protected.