Vintage Bathroom Sconces: Timeless Elegance for Modern Baths

Step into a world of vintage charm with vintage bathroom sconces, where intricate details and elegant lines create a timeless appeal. These exquisite fixtures transport you to a bygone era, adding a touch of nostalgia and sophistication to your modern bathroom.

From elaborate Art Deco designs to the simplicity of mid-century modern, vintage bathroom sconces offer a diverse range of styles and finishes to complement any bathroom aesthetic.

Vintage Bathroom Sconce Styles

Vintage bathroom sconces are a timeless addition to any bathroom, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to the space. These sconces are characterized by their intricate details, elegant lines, and timeless appeal. They are often made of high-quality materials such as brass, copper, or iron, and feature intricate detailing such as scrollwork, etching, or embossing.

Vintage bathroom sconces come in a variety of styles, from the classic Art Deco style to the more modern mid-century modern style. Art Deco sconces are characterized by their geometric shapes and bold colors, while mid-century modern sconces are characterized by their clean lines and simple silhouettes.

Art Deco Sconces

Art Deco sconces are characterized by their geometric shapes and bold colors. They often feature intricate detailing such as scrollwork, etching, or embossing. Art Deco sconces are a great way to add a touch of glamour to your bathroom.

Materials and Finishes

The materials and finishes used in vintage bathroom sconces play a significant role in their overall aesthetic and durability. These sconces are often crafted from various metals, including brass, copper, wrought iron, and glass, each offering unique characteristics and finishes.


  • Brass is a popular choice for vintage bathroom sconces due to its warm, golden hue and durability.
  • It can be finished in various ways, including patina, brushed, and polished, each creating a distinct look.
  • Patina finishes, which develop naturally over time, add an aged and charming appearance.
  • Brushed finishes give brass a matte, textured surface, while polished finishes create a glossy, reflective look.


  • Copper is another popular metal for vintage bathroom sconces, known for its reddish-brown color and antimicrobial properties.
  • Copper can be finished in a variety of ways, including patina, brushed, and polished, similar to brass.
  • Patina finishes on copper develop a distinctive green or blue-green hue, adding character and depth to the sconce.

Wrought Iron

  • Wrought iron is a durable and versatile metal that can be shaped into intricate designs.
  • It is often finished in a black or dark brown color, giving it an industrial or rustic look.
  • Wrought iron sconces can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to a vintage bathroom.


  • Glass is a versatile material that can be used to create various sconce designs.
  • It can be clear, colored, or frosted, allowing for a wide range of aesthetic options.
  • Glass sconces can add a touch of lightness and airiness to a bathroom, while colored glass can create a dramatic effect.

Historical Context: Vintage Bathroom Sconces

Wall bathroom sconce brass light antique essex livex lighting

Vintage bathroom sconces have a rich history that spans centuries. Their evolution reflects the changing tastes and technologies of the era.

The earliest bathroom sconces were simple gas-lit fixtures, often made of brass or iron. These sconces provided basic illumination and were typically used in conjunction with candles or oil lamps.

Gas-Lit Fixtures

Gas-lit fixtures were widely used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They offered a brighter and more reliable light source than candles or oil lamps, and their ornate designs added a touch of elegance to bathrooms.

Art Deco Era

The Art Deco era, which spanned the 1920s and 1930s, saw a surge in popularity of geometric and streamlined designs. Bathroom sconces from this period often featured sharp angles, bold colors, and frosted glass shades.

Mid-Century Modern

The mid-century modern era, which lasted from the 1940s to the 1960s, brought a new emphasis on functionality and simplicity. Bathroom sconces from this period were often made of simple materials, such as metal or plastic, and featured clean lines and minimalist designs.

Retro Revival

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in vintage bathroom sconces. These sconces add a touch of nostalgia and character to bathrooms, and they can be found in a variety of styles to suit any taste.

Types of Vintage Bathroom Sconces

Sconce sconces springs modern bathrooms ceplukan polished

Vintage bathroom sconces come in a variety of mounting styles, each with its own unique advantages. The most common types include wall-mounted, vanity-mounted, and recessed sconces.

Wall-mounted sconces are the most versatile type, as they can be installed on any wall surface. They are typically mounted at eye level, providing ample light for tasks such as shaving or applying makeup. Vanity-mounted sconces are similar to wall-mounted sconces, but they are designed to be mounted above a bathroom vanity.

They provide focused lighting for tasks such as brushing teeth or washing hands. Recessed sconces are installed into the wall, creating a flush, streamlined look. They are often used in bathrooms with limited space, as they do not protrude from the wall.

Wall-Mounted Sconces

  • Versatile and can be installed on any wall surface
  • Typically mounted at eye level
  • Provide ample light for tasks such as shaving or applying makeup

Vanity-Mounted Sconces

  • Similar to wall-mounted sconces, but designed to be mounted above a bathroom vanity
  • Provide focused lighting for tasks such as brushing teeth or washing hands

Recessed Sconces

  • Installed into the wall, creating a flush, streamlined look
  • Often used in bathrooms with limited space
  • Do not protrude from the wall

Design Considerations

Sconces rubylane

Incorporating vintage bathroom sconces into a modern bathroom requires careful consideration of scale, placement, and coordination with other fixtures to achieve a cohesive and stylish design.


  • Choose sconces that are proportionate to the size of the bathroom and vanity.
  • Larger sconces may overwhelm a small bathroom, while smaller sconces may get lost in a large space.
  • Consider the height of the vanity and the placement of the sconces to ensure adequate illumination.


  • Sconces are typically mounted on either side of the vanity mirror, providing ample light for tasks like shaving and makeup application.
  • Consider the height of the sconces to ensure they are at eye level when standing in front of the mirror.
  • For a more dramatic effect, sconces can also be mounted on the wall above the mirror or on the sides of the bathroom.


  • Choose sconces that complement the style and finish of other bathroom fixtures, such as the faucet, vanity, and mirror.
  • For a cohesive look, consider matching the finish of the sconces to the hardware or accents in the bathroom.
  • If incorporating multiple sconces, ensure they are of similar design and scale to create a balanced and harmonious effect.

Lighting Effects

Vintage bathroom sconces can create a variety of lighting effects, each serving a different purpose in the bathroom. Understanding these effects and their applications will help you choose the right sconces for your specific needs.

The three main types of lighting effects are:

Ambient Lighting, Vintage bathroom sconces

Ambient lighting provides general illumination for the entire bathroom, creating a sense of overall brightness. It is typically achieved through the use of overhead fixtures or wall-mounted sconces that emit a diffused, even light. Ambient lighting is essential for performing everyday tasks such as brushing your teeth or shaving.

Task Lighting

Task lighting is focused on specific areas of the bathroom, such as the mirror or vanity. It is used for activities that require more precise lighting, such as applying makeup or grooming. Task lighting is typically provided by sconces mounted above or beside the mirror, or by vanity lights installed directly above it.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is used to highlight specific features or areas of the bathroom, such as a piece of artwork or a decorative mirror. It creates visual interest and can enhance the overall ambiance of the space. Accent lighting can be achieved through the use of sconces with adjustable heads or by placing sconces in strategic locations to create shadows and highlights.

Restoration and Maintenance

Sconces refurbished

Restoring and maintaining vintage bathroom sconces ensures their longevity and preserves their aesthetic charm. Proper care involves regular cleaning, polishing, and occasional replacement of electrical components.

Before starting any restoration work, ensure the power is turned off at the circuit breaker. Wear protective gloves and eye gear for safety.


  • Use a soft, damp cloth with mild soap and water to gently wipe away dirt and dust from the sconce’s surface.
  • For stubborn grime, use a cotton swab dipped in a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water.
  • Avoid using abrasive cleaners or harsh chemicals, as these can damage the finish.
  • Rinse the sconce thoroughly with clean water and dry it with a soft cloth.


  • For brass or copper sconces, use a metal polish specifically designed for these materials.
  • Apply a small amount of polish to a soft cloth and rub it gently over the sconce’s surface.
  • Buff the sconce with a clean cloth to remove any excess polish and restore its shine.
  • For glass shades, use a glass cleaner and a soft cloth to gently remove smudges or fingerprints.

Replacing Electrical Components

  • If the sconce is not working, check the bulb first to ensure it is not burnt out.
  • If the bulb is fine, inspect the wiring for any loose connections or damage.
  • If necessary, replace the bulb or repair the wiring with the help of a qualified electrician.
  • Always ensure that the sconce is properly grounded for safety.

Design Inspiration

Vintage bathroom sconces can add a touch of nostalgia and charm to your bathroom. They come in a variety of styles, from Art Deco to Mid-Century Modern, so you can find one that fits your taste. Here are a few inspiring bathroom designs that incorporate vintage bathroom sconces:

This bathroom features a classic Art Deco sconce with a frosted glass shade. The sconce is mounted on a mirrored wall, which helps to reflect the light and create a glamorous look. The rest of the bathroom is decorated in a neutral color palette, with black and white accents.

The vintage sconce adds a touch of sophistication to the space.

This bathroom features a pair of Mid-Century Modern sconces with brass shades. The sconces are mounted on a white wall, and they provide ample light for the vanity. The rest of the bathroom is decorated in a modern style, with clean lines and simple fixtures.

The vintage sconces add a touch of warmth and personality to the space.

Incorporating Vintage Sconces

Here are a few tips for incorporating vintage bathroom sconces into your bathroom design:

  • Choose a sconce that fits the style of your bathroom. If you have a traditional bathroom, choose a sconce with a classic design. If you have a modern bathroom, choose a sconce with a more contemporary design.
  • Mount the sconce at the right height. The sconce should be mounted at eye level when you are standing in front of the mirror. This will ensure that you have adequate lighting for your face.
  • Use the sconce to create a focal point. The sconce can be used to create a focal point in your bathroom. Choose a sconce with a unique design or a bold color to draw attention to it.

DIY Projects

Vintage bathroom sconces

With a bit of creativity and resourcefulness, you can create your own custom vintage bathroom sconces using repurposed materials or found objects. This can be a great way to add a personal touch to your bathroom d├ęcor while saving money.

Here are a few DIY project ideas to get you started:

Mason Jar Sconces

  • Gather several clean mason jars in various sizes and shapes.
  • Drill a small hole in the center of the lid of each jar.
  • Insert a socket and bulb into each jar and secure it with the lid.
  • Attach a wire or chain to the top of each jar and hang it from the ceiling.

Recommended Brands

For those seeking to add a touch of vintage charm to their bathroom, several reputable brands specialize in crafting high-quality sconces that embody the timeless elegance of bygone eras.

These brands prioritize exceptional craftsmanship, utilizing premium materials and meticulous attention to detail to create sconces that not only illuminate but also elevate the bathroom’s ambiance.

Established Brands

  • Rejuvenation: Known for its authentic reproductions of vintage lighting fixtures, Rejuvenation offers a wide selection of sconces inspired by the Arts & Crafts, Victorian, and Art Deco periods.
  • Circa Lighting: With a focus on mid-century modern and contemporary styles, Circa Lighting carries a diverse range of sconces featuring unique shapes, finishes, and materials.
  • Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.: Specializing in American-made lighting fixtures, Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. offers a collection of vintage-inspired sconces with a touch of industrial flair.

Emerging Designers

  • Hudson Valley Lighting: This brand combines traditional craftsmanship with modern design sensibilities, creating sconces that blend vintage aesthetics with contemporary functionality.
  • Mitzi by Hudson Valley: A sister brand to Hudson Valley Lighting, Mitzi offers a more feminine and whimsical take on vintage lighting, with sconces featuring intricate details and delicate finishes.
  • Troy Lighting: Known for its eclectic and artistic designs, Troy Lighting offers a range of vintage-inspired sconces that incorporate unique materials such as hand-blown glass and forged iron.

Shopping Guide

Vintage bathroom sconces

Discovering vintage bathroom sconces can be a rewarding endeavor, whether you’re seeking a unique piece for your home or a collector seeking a valuable addition. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the world of vintage bathroom sconces.

When searching for vintage bathroom sconces, consider reputable antique stores, flea markets, and online marketplaces like Etsy and eBay. Visit local architectural salvage yards and antique malls for a wider selection and the opportunity to inspect the sconces in person.

Assessing Value

Evaluating the value of vintage bathroom sconces involves several factors. Authenticity and rarity play a significant role, as do the condition, materials, and craftsmanship. Look for pieces with original finishes, as repainting or refinishing can diminish their value. Consider the provenance or history of the sconce, as well as any unique features or details that enhance its appeal.

Tips for Finding the Perfect Sconce

Start by determining the style and era you’re interested in. Research different periods and design styles to narrow down your search. Pay attention to the materials used, such as brass, copper, or glass, as they can influence the sconce’s value and aesthetic.

Consider the size and shape of the sconce in relation to your bathroom space and overall decor.

Final Review

Incorporating vintage bathroom sconces into your modern bathroom is not just a design choice; it’s an investment in creating a space that exudes character and charm. These timeless fixtures will elevate your bathroom’s ambiance, providing both functional lighting and a touch of history.

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