Getting Serious with Sconces

Owning an historic New Orleans home, we're graced with beautiful fireplaces in 4 different rooms.  Wanting to draw more attention to the fireplace in our living room, we decided to install built-in cabinets and shelving, along with crystal Pottery Barn sconces on either side.  The cabinet and shelving project will soon get underway, but we're happy to report the sconces are installed and amazing!

We added a mirrored backing and frame to the sconces, in order to create more of a presence.  At night, the light reflects off the crystals and the mirror, casting an incredibly beautiful glow all around the space.  The electrical wiring and drywall repair took a significant amount of time however the sconces, mirror and framing really only took a few hours.  Below you'll find project instructions and some helpful tips.  Enjoy!

Here's how we did it (in 4 million easy steps):

1. Wire for the sconces, install additional light switch, repair drywall and install gang box and plate that will eventually attach your sconce to the wall.  Joey took on this project himself, but it was exceptionally time and labor intensive.  You can obviously hire an electrician to save the headache.

2. Install wood backing.  I used a piece of wood at the bottom to make sure it was level, then screwed the wood into studs in the wall.  We could not attach the mirror directly to the drywall because the glass shop couldn't drill a large enough hole to accommodate the metal plate.  Adding the wood backing solves that problem.  Your wood backing will need to be slightly larger than your mirror.  Our framing was 2 inches wide, so we had the wood cut 2 inches wider in every direction.

3. Install mirror.  We used a strong mirror glue and caulking gun.  Before you install the mirror, you'll need to make sure the screws that hold the sconce in place are long enough.  Because you're adding extra thickness with the mirror and wood, you may need longer screws.  We learned that lesson the hard way.

4. Frame mirror.  We found a great framing material at the local moulding and trim shop.  You need to make sure it has a recess to account for the thickness of the mirror, just like a picture frame would have a recess where the glass fits in.  I used a compound miter saw to make the cuts.  Once the frame is up, you'll want to fill the nail holes with wood putty, caulk around all the edges and paint.

5. Install sconce and make sure it's properly working and level.

6. Add all your beautiful crystals!  This was actually much more complicated than expected.  None of the crystals matched the vague instructions and after about an hour of looking online, examining the picture in the catalogue and banging my head up against the wall, I really just had to figure out my own pattern.  I think I could hear the Chinese factory workers laughing at my pain and suffering...

7. Enjoy your masterpiece.  Lighting is one of the most effective ways to completely change the look and feel of a room.  Our barren, cold living room is now covered in the beautiful glow of crystals and light.