How To Install A Switch on a Sconce Light

This past summer when Karl and I were renovating our master bedroom, one of the ideas we came up with was to install hardwired sconces on either side of the bed. Sconces in the bedroom save the limited tabletop space side tables provide and are aesthetically pleasing, so it was an easy decision for us.

I began researching sconces that were in the style and budget I wanted, as well as hardwired. For some reason once you filter out all the non-hardwired in an online search, your options become limited. Add in that we wanted switches on the sconces so we could turn them off and on from the bed and we were left with either spending $100 and up per sconce, or some lights that looked as cheaply made as their $20 price tag.

Bugger.

That’s when I happened upon these sconces when I was taking advantage of the air conditioning at Home Depot on a very hot summer afternoon 8 months preggo (no a/c except a window unit in our bedroom meant this mama-to-be survived in stores the last month of that hot summer). I liked the look of them a LOT, and for $30 a sconce we were well within budget.

 
nickel sconce light
 

They were perfect except one minor detail: no switches.

In my excitement of finding sconces I didn’t think of this until I got home with them. I’d spent more hours than should be humanely necessary trying to find THE sconces, so I was less than willing to take them back.

 

Thus began my self-inflicted drudgery of looking up anything I could to Macgyver those lights into switch sconces.

The scounces were fitted for candlabra size bulbs. I googled for lightbulb socket adapters that came with switches, but no such thing is made for candlabras…period. No idea why not. I looked for candlabra to regular lightbulb socket adapters, and an hour or two later found none that would fit inside the sconce shade…

I think I was a little obsessed with the idea that there HAD to be a way. We’ll blame it on pregnancy hormones and the heat.

It paid off though when I had a lightbulb moment (haha get it?) several evenings later: install a switch directly on the sconce wall plate!

Turning again to searching the web, I had to find something that was thin enough to fit between the plate and the wall, and finally I found success!

Home Depot to the rescue!

 
home depot toggle switches living in a fixer upper
 
sconce light with diy toggle switch

They cost approximately $4 each.

All that to say that this is the way that one can Macguyver any wall sconce to have a switch.

Prep for installing toggle switch:

First, make sure the toggle switch fits between the plate and wall.

Using a drill press, make the hole for the switch in each plate. You can stick painters tape or duck tape to the area before drilling to ensure it won’t split the plate or cause rough edges to the hole.

drill hole in sconce plate for toggle switch
 

Installing toggle switch:

To figure out which of the wires on the switch are “off” and “on”, use a multimeter that’s set to “ohms” to measure continuity.

0 ohms = “off”, anything else is = “on”

Shut off the breaker power to the room you want to install the sconces. And since I’m not an electrician and cannot explain the process as well as Karl, here is a video that shows how to attach the rest of the wires so that you can mount the lights.

sconce light with diy toggle switch
sconce light with diy toggle switch
sconce light with diy toggle switch

There you have it! Pretty simple and inexpensive way to modify any sconce light!

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how to install toggle switch on sconce light
 

 

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