Shopping for Swing-Arm Lamps

Because they’re just so convenient.,

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Swing-arm sconces put light exactly where you need it. And they’re especially helpful in spaces where you don’t have wiring for a ceiling fixture or a place for a free-standing lamp.

“I do love a swing-arm,” said Heidi Caillier, an interior designer based in Seattle. “They’re really great for directed reading light, and feel more discreet than a decorative lamp that takes up real estate.”

Ms. Caillier frequently mounts a pair of small ones on either side of the headboard in a bedroom, or installs a single, large one in living and media rooms.

But whatever the space, a big part of the swing-arm lamp’s appeal is its ability to move.

“You can tuck it away and then pull it out when you need it,” she said. And if you have children, she added, a swing-arm sconce eliminates “lamps on tables that kids could bump into and knock over.”


  • How will you control the lamp? “I love when there’s a switch on the fixture,” Ms. Caillier said, “whether it’s a pull-chain, a knob or something else.”

  • How bright should it be? Consider how you’ll use the lamp, as some cast only a small amount of light down on a book, while others can illuminate an entire seating area.

  • Can they be used in both modern and traditional interiors? Yes, Ms. Caillier said, “some, like scissor-arms, feel more traditional, versus modern iterations that have cleaner lines.”


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Powder-coated metal-and-oak lamp with cord-based dimmer

From $299 at Andrew Neyer: 513-512-4996 or andrewneyer.com


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Brass sconce by Ralph Lauren

$669 at Circa Lighting: 877-762-2323 or circalighting.com


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Lamp with tension wire support

About $280 at EQ3: 888-988-2014 or eq3.com


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Two-light swing arm sconce available in a range of colors

$479 at Dutton Brown: 612-789-0530 or duttonbrown.com


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Hard-wired or plug-in lamp with metal shade

$489 at Cedar & Moss: 503-635-0820 or cedarandmoss.com


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