Bedroom Lighting: Bedside Wall Sconce vs. Lamp

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When designing the perfect bedroom, you can easily overlook the importance of lighting. The right lighting can transform a bedroom into a cozy retreat or a serene oasis. Today I’m sharing more about bedside wall sconces and lamps, exploring the pros and cons of each option and what you should pick for your bedroom lighting. So, whether you prefer the elegance of a wall sconce or the versatility of a lamp, read on to discover the ideal lighting solution for your bedroom nightstand.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Bedroom with beside wall sconce, throw pillows and layered bedding
Design: Tiffany Leigh Design, Project Cobourg. Photographer Lauren Miller

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bedroom lighting with lamp on the nightstand and throw pillows on the bed
Shop my bedroom: Bed frame, rug, lamp, throw blanket, art, marble dish, vase, flowers, Curtains.

Bedside Wall Sconces

A bedside wall sconce is a stylish lighting fixture mounted on the wall, directly above or beside the nightstand. These sconces illuminate your before-bed reading or other activities and serve as decorative elements in your bedroom.

nightstand walls sconce, bed with layered bedding and pillows
Design: Tiffany Leigh Design, Project Cobourg. Photographer Lauren Miller

Ambient Lighting

One of the key advantages of bedside wall sconces is their ability to provide soft and ambient lighting. With their upward or downward-directed light, sconces create a warm and inviting atmosphere, perfect for winding down after a long day.

bedroom with rattan beside wall sconce
Design: Tiffany Leigh Design, Project PEC Cottage. Photography by Patrick Biller

Space-Saving Solution

A wall sconce can be a wise choice if you have a smaller bedroom or limited space on your nightstand. You can free up valuable space and create a more streamlined and organized look by eliminating the need for a bulky table lamp.

Decorative Accent

Bedside wall sconces come in various styles and designs, allowing you to enhance the overall aesthetic of your bedroom. From sleek and modern to vintage-inspired or minimalist, you can choose a sconce that complements your bedroom decor and adds a touch of elegance and sophistication.

canopy bed with sconce above the nightstand
Design: Tiffany Leigh Design, Project Strathcona. Photography by Patrick Biller

Lamps for your Nightstand

Bedside lamps have long been a classic choice for bedroom lighting, offering versatility and functionality that appeals to many.

Adjustable Lighting

One of the key advantages of using a lamp is the ability to adjust the lighting according to your needs. Whether reading a book, working on a laptop, or enjoying some downtime, a lamp provides direct light that can be easily directed where you need it most.

PRO TIP: Want to learn more about designer lighting rules? Read more here.

king bed with lamp on the beside table with window behind
Design: Tiffany Leigh Design, Project Strathcona. Photography by Patrick Biller

Personal Style

Lamps come in various styles, shapes, and sizes, allowing you to express your style and add a decorative element to your bedroom. Whether you prefer a sleek and modern design or a traditional lamp with a fabric shade, you can find the perfect lamp to complement your bedroom decor.


Unlike wall sconces, lamps offer the advantage of portability. You can quickly move the lamp from your bedside to another area in the room, providing flexibility and convenience. This feature also makes cleaning and rearranging your bedroom easier without being limited by fixed lighting fixtures.

bedroom with lamp on the table
Design: Tiffany Leigh Design, Project PEC Cottage. Photography by Patrick Biller

Layering a Bedside Wall Sconce and Lamp

For those seeking the ultimate in-bedroom lighting versatility, consider the dynamic combination of layering a bedside wall sconce and lamp on your nightstand. This pairing offers the best of both worlds by combining the ambient glow of a wall sconce with the focused illumination of a lamp. The wall sconce sets the mood, casting a gentle and warm glow throughout the room. In contrast, the lamp provides targeted lighting for activities such as reading or working in bed. 

By layering these two light sources, you can create a visually appealing and functional setup that adds depth and character to your nightstand while offering the flexibility to tailor light to your specific needs at any given moment. Whether you desire a soft ambiance or a brighter, more concentrated light, the combination of a bedside wall sconce and lamp creates a harmonious lighting pair that will elevate your bedroom experience.

shared kids room with lamp on the table in-between
Design: Tiffany Leigh Design, Project PEC Cottage. Photography by Patrick Biller

Which is the best choice for you?

Ultimately, the choice between bedside wall sconces and lamps depends on your personal preferences, the size and layout of your bedroom, and the overall aesthetic you wish to achieve. Bedside wall sconces offer an elegant, space-saving lighting solution, creating a soothing ambiance. On the other hand, lamps provide versatility, adjustable lighting, and the ability to reflect your personal style.

my bedroom with lamps on the nightstand
Shop my bedroom: Bed frame, rug, lamp, throw blanket, art, marble dish, vase, flowers, Curtains.

Whether you opt for a bedside lamp’s timeless charm or a wall sconce’s sophistication, both options can enhance your bedroom’s functionality and visual appeal. So, go ahead and choose the lighting solution that best suits your needs and transform your bedroom into a tranquil haven where you can relax, read, and sleep comfortably.


Should you have a lamp on each bedside table?

Consider factors such as bedroom layout, space constraints, and desired aesthetic to determine whether having a lamp on each bedside table is the right choice for you.

Where do you put a bedside wall sconce?

The specific placement depends on personal preference and the bedroom layout, ensuring that the sconce effectively illuminates the area where light is needed. When mounting a sconce with a lamp, designers often mount the sconce close to the headboard and a few inches higher than the top of the headboard. When using a sconce alone, consider mounting it below the top of the headboard, either centred on the nightstand or slightly closer to the headboard.

Should bedside lamps be tall or short?

Lamps tall enough to provide adequate illumination for reading or other activities while sitting in bed are recommended. However, shorter lamps can also work well if the primary purpose is to provide ambient or decorative lighting.

Can I use bedside lamps and sconces together?

Yes, you can definitely use bedside lamps and sconces together. Combining these two lighting sources adds depth, versatility, and visual interest to your bedroom. The lamps can provide targeted task lighting, while the sconces contribute to ambiance and decor.

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  1. love your content. so many great ideas, and enjoy that you take the time to share them!!!

  2. Thank you so much Annette! I really appreciate the kind words!