How to Install a Sconce Light Fixture

sconce illuminating wall
  • 10 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 450
What You'll Need
Two or more cut-in electrical boxes
Sconce fixtures
Electrical switch
Circuit breaker
Wire nut connectors
Drywall or keyhole saw
Side-cutting pliers
Wire strippers
Fish tape
Light switch
1½ paddle bit
14/2 electrical wire

Not only are there endless sconce design options, but these fixtures also give off a dim light that makes rooms seem larger than they actually are. Have one in your bathroom and stylize the cover for a night light, or put one in your bedroom for intimate ambiance. To install one of the popular fixtures, follow these steps.

Warning: Before beginning, turn off power to the room you will be working in to prevent being electrically shocked.

Step 1 - Pick Your Sconce Location

Select the location to install your sconce. Keep in mind that the ideal height for a wall sconce is 72 inches from the floor. Mark the location you want to install the sconce at on the wall with a pencil.

In addition, select a location for the light switch. Ideally, the switch should be next to the room's other switches. If possible, put it in the same stud as an existing outlet.

Step 2 - Make Cuts

Using the inside portion of a standard cut-in electrical box as a template, draw the shape for the sconce electrical box location and a vertical rectangle for the light-switch location. Then, use your drywall to saw cut them out. The initial cut should follow the line, but you may need to trim additionally to insert the cut-in boxes.

Step 3 - Drill the Holes

Using your drill and a 1½ inch paddle bit, drill a hole in the top stud on the inside of the wall. Make sure the hole is in the same stud bay as the light's box. Do this for each of the sconces you are installing, the light switch, and the electrical outlet for the switch.

Step 4 - Run the Wire

Beginning at the farthest sconce light, run a 14/2 electrical wire to the next sconce using fishing tape. Continue running these wires until the final sconce, and then run the electrical wire from the final sconce to the light switch. Finally, run a 14/2 electrical wire from the switch to the circuit breaker or to the terminal box that it will be getting its power from.

Step 5 - Install the Cut-In Boxes

Run the wires into the cut-in boxes and insert the boxes into the wall. Using a screwdriver, tighten the screws until the wings anchor up to the drywall and the cut-in box is flush with the drywall.

Step 6 - Mount the Sconces

Install the sconce mounting brackets to the cut-in boxes using the supplied screws. Then, connect the wires to each of the sconces. Remember that the black wire is hot, white is neutral, and the ground wire has exposed copper. Tie the ground into the green grounding screw. Finally, hang the wall sconce from the bracket.

Step 7 - Install the Light Switch

Install the light switch into the cut-in box. The black wire coming from the power source will connect to one of the switch terminal screws. The black wire going to the first sconce in the chain will go to the other terminal on the switch. Both white wires will be pigtailed using a wire nut connector. Both ground wires will be connected to the ground.

Step 8 - Connect to the Power Source

At the terminal box or at the circuit breaker supplying that circuit, connect the electrical to the feed going to the terminal box in the first case or to the circuit breaker in the second case, paying close attention to respecting the wires colors for connecting. At the circuit breaker, the black goes to the breaker. The bare copper wire goes grounded with the other Gnd wires.

Step 9 - Turn on the Power

When the wiring and installation are done, install low-wattage bulbs in the sconces and switch on the breaker that powers the room, then test the lights using the switch.