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The Best Swing Arm Wall Lamps and Sconces for Home

Look around the room you're sitting in... how many light sources are there? Lighting is often one of those things that are overlooked but can make a huge impact on the style and feel of a space. I can't tell you how many rooms I've seen where there are no overhead ceiling lights, or rooms that needed more pot lights or light fixtures. When there isn't enough light - you know it!

When we recently redecorated Chloe's cottage bedroom, we had a central ceiling fixture but needed more light. I needed a fast and easy lighting solution and a plug-in swing arm wall lamp for her bedside table was the perfect choice. I'm on the hunt now for another swing arm lamp for another bedroom and I'm of the opinion these versatile lights are poised to make a comeback.

modern swing arm wall lamp in bedroom

Swing Arm Wall Lamps

What makes swing arm lamps so useful is their ability to work in most any living space. You can find swing arm lamps by your bedside to provide reading light when you need it. Swing arm lamps also work in the kitchen and can be moved around for specific tasks. I've also seen swing arm wall sconces in bathrooms in place of fixed sconces. The adjustable light is better for applying makeup or other beauty tasks.

What does a swing arm lamp do?

Swing-arm lights feature an adjustable arm that can pivot and swing into a number of position. This allows you to control the position of the lighting source and direct light where needed. 

Swing arm lights are exceptionally useful and in some instances offer more value and function than traditional fixed lights. They provide directional lighting up or down, left or right. They can perform as an accent light or task light with ease, and they can add a decorative element to your home decor.

swing arm lamp window seat

Interior designers love to use swing-arm wall lamps in unexpected spaces, like over a bunk bed, a window bench or over a work of art. They are the perfect lighting solution for cramped spaces or changing light conditions. With their elongated arms, and finishes in satin nickel to antique brass, swing arm lights are pretty and combine beauty and function in one.

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Different Styles of Lighting

There are ample lighting options out there but generally, lighting falls into three categories:
  1. Ambient or general lighting. This type of lighting provides overall illumination and visibility. Often dimmable, general lighting is the most necessary kind of lighting in a space. Examples include ceiling mounted fixtures, recessed pot lights, and track lighting down a hallway.
  2. Accent lighting. Accent lighting is used to highlight or draw your attention to a particular area or object. A wall-mounted sconce, a buffet lamp in the dining room, or a floor reading lamp by your chair are all examples of accent lights. These lights are often brighter than general lighting but are more precise and light smaller areas.
  3. Task lighting. As the name suggests, task lights are used for very specific purposes. They are often used in poorly-lit areas and are not used all the time. Under-cabinet lights in the kitchen, outdoor bollard lights, and desk lamps would be considered task lighting
A swing arm light has the benefit of being multifunctional. It is an accent light that can be used alongside a bed, sofa or chair. It is also a task light and you can adjust the lamp position to suit your needs.

Where To Use Swing Arm Lamps

Swing arm lamps can be used anywhere you would use a fixed wall light, from bedrooms and living rooms, to the home office and laundry room.

Swing-arm sconces mounted on each side of the bed act as bedside lamps. They create a warm ambience, illuminate the nightstand, and provide a pleasing display. I also like how swing arm wall lamps free up table space on your nightstand. A small side table with a swing arm wall light above is the best way to light a small space.

swing arm lamp bedroom

Here in our old bedroom, the Pottery Barn swing lamps we mounted on the wall were my favourite feature. We carried the moulding details around the lamp bases, giving them added presence. I loved how the adjustable arm pivoted up or down and left or right, providing direct light when I was reading in bed.

Another great use of swing arm lamps is to highlight open shelving. In the design world, floating wood shelves with a brass adjustable swing arm lamp above has been a popular look for kitchens. This is a lovely way to show off your pretty dishes and make use of the vertical space on the wall.

swing arm lamp home office

I've created a similar look in my home office. The flexible arm of the wall lights allows me to illuminate the art and books on the shelves, or cast light down the front and onto the countertop. To add even more interested, I've used contrasting metal finishes. The gold of the swing arm lights and the desk lamp are paired with the matte black and gold of the more modern ceiling pendant.

swing arm lamps library

Similarly, swing arm lights are an excellent choice for libraries where they can put focus on the books and accessories on display. Since these lights shine downwards, in large areas you'll want to consider the number of lights you need to effectively illuminate the space.

Swivel Arm Lamp Design

What should you look for in a swing arm lamp? There's a lot more to consider when purchasing a swing arm lamp. Here's a few things to keep in mind:

Hard wired or Plug In: 

Swing arm lamps are readily available in both hard wired or plug in options. Hard wired lamps are more permanent and can require an electrician to install, but the provide a more upscale and clean-lined look. If cost is a factor, you'll want to consider plug-in wall sconces. They can be easily installed though you need to be willing to live with the visible cords.

Motion features: 

What is the range of motion of the lamp? Does the lamp swing only up and down or does it move left and right as well? Do you need the lamp arm to extend out fully? How much room do you have to move the lamp around?

Quality hardware: 

A swing lamp will be subject to more wear and tear so look for a long-lasting, quality piece. Does the pivot hardware turn easily and hold in place? Is the hardware strong enough to hold the shade in a tilted or straight position? Is the on/off switch easily reached?

Design styles: 

Swing arm lamps come in many different metal finishes, and with metal, fabric, or wicker shades. For plug-in styles, cords can be clear, coloured, or covered. Select a style that suits your room decor.

Consider how you'll be using your swing arm lamp. Will the lamp be generally in one position or will you need to access and move it frequently? How will you move it? Are you sitting on a bed, in a chair, or will you need to stand and adjust it? These answers will help you find a swing arm lamp that is just right for your situation.

The possibilities are endless on where to use a swing arm lamp. Consider using them:
  • on either side of the bed
  • on either end of the sofa
  • above the kitchen window
  • at the top of a bookcase
  • in a small bathroom above a mirror
  • above a piece of art
  • over a window bench
  • over bunk beds
  • to add interest to a long wall
  • beside a reading chair
  • in a cozy corner
  • on either side of the fireplace mantel
  • above a set of windows
  • at the end of a hallway
swing arm lamp over nightstand

Where To Buy Swing Arm Lamps

You can buy swing arm lamps in most any shop that sells lamps. However, since there are more moving parts in swivel chairs, you'll want to buy from a retailer has a reputation for quality products. Here's a few retailers that I would not hesitate to buy lighting from:
Have I convinced you that you need a swing arm lamp in your home? Here's a roundup of lighting options for hard wired and plug in swing arm wall lamps at every price and style:

swing arm wall lamps hard wired
Swing Arm Wall Lamps - Hard Wired - SHOP THIS LOOK

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

swing arm wall lamps plug in

Swing Arm Wall Lamps - Plug In - SHOP THIS LOOK

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

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