Lighting in a room can be purely functional, purely decorative, or a combination of both…but it’s always important! As a renter though, you might feel your options are restricted if and when hardwiring isn’t allowed. Today, I’m sharing a new-to-me trick for renter friendly wall sconces that can work in any room with any light…no matter whether you rent or own (and it might not be what you think!)

Wireless brass wall sconce above a white mantel and next to a TV

The “Secret” Behind Our Renter Friendly Wall Sconces

When I revealed our newly stenciled fireplace wall and our clever wire-hiding solutions, it quickly became clear that what you all really wanted to know about was the brass sconces mounted on either side of our television!

And for good reason! Not only are the super stylish and look practically “real,” but knowing we’re renters through-and-through meant that some sort of clever “hack” had to be afoot.

Brass battery-operated wall sconce

Yes, I’ve long seen the renter friendly wall sconce “hack” where you install a “regular” wall sconce but use battery-operated puck lights instead of lightbulbs.

I’ve always had the solution tucked into the back of my brain, but never really felt compelled to try it because we’ve had mixed results with puck lights in general (e.g., their vibrancy, LED hue, odd/expensive battery sizes, etc).

Brass battery-operated wall sconce next to wall-mounted TV

But then…admittedly…I was over at a girlfriend’s house (who’s house is the exact same model as mine) and she had these striking sconces mounted above her fireplace with no puck lights or cord covers in sight. When she told me they were “battery operated” and “rechargeable,” I was totally intrigued.

Brass wall sconce hung on a beige stenciled wall above a mantel

Because, while they essentially use the same general concept as the puck light hack, these particular sconces were designed to be completely wire-free using…wait for it…rechargeable lightbulbs!

Renter friendly brass wall sconces on both sides of a wall-mounted TV

So no…these are not well-hidden plug-in wall sconces; there was no hardwiring involved; nor are there any battery-eating puck lights precariously perched inside each one. Rather, these sconces come fitted with lightbulbs that charge via a USB cord.

The inside of a wall sconce using chargeable lightbulbs

As a result, we are able to have super stylish, very real wall sconces on either side of our wall-mounted television, but without any wiring at all!

Brass wall sconce hung on a beige stenciled wall above a mantel

The bit of shine is exactly what this wall needed visually; and since there are no overhead lights in this room, they provide much-needed ambient light (balancing out the table lamps on the other side of the room).

But while these sconces are aesthetically perfect for this specific spot, there’s been a bit of a learning curve using the rechargeable lightbulbs. Here’s what you need to know about this “latest” renter-friendly lighting option.

What You Need to Know About Rechargeable Lightbulbs

Never heard of rechargeable lightbulbs? Me either! In fact, when I purchased these sconces, I didn’t read the details very closely and assumed they just had batteries within the square brass plate.

So color me surprised when the bulbs came with a USB cord and needed charging before being twisted into the sconces…just like regular lightbulbs!

Chargeable lightbulb being charged next to remote

How Do Rechargeable Lightbulbs Charge?

As shown in the picture above, rechargeable lightbulbs have a tiny USB port at the base of the bulb and come with a compatible cable. In order to power the lightbulb, you simply plug them in…just like you would your phone, tablet, or any other device.

How Long Do Rechargeable Lightbulbs Last?

I can’t speak for every single rechargeable lightbulb out there, but these last about 50 hours. We can usually go a full week with (primarily) evening use and through a full weekend before they need recharging.

Brass wall sconces on both sides of a wall-mounted TV turned on

How Do You Operate Rechargeable Lightbulbs?

Rechargeable lightbulbs work essentially the same way other battery-operated lights do…via remote!

With the tiny (kind of cheapy) remote, you can turn the lightbulbs on/off, as well as adjust the color (warm, cool, etc) and whether they are solid or flash (for emergencies). You can also change how bright/dim the lightbulbs present.

Even though the two sconces came with two remotes, we can operate both with just one.

How Bright are Rechargeable Lightbulbs?

I would not consider the particular lightbulbs that came with these sconces to be all that bright; and in referring back to the description, I see now that they are listed as 200 lumen “warm glow” reading lights ideal for next to a headboard or sofa.

The inside of a wall sconce using chargeable lightbulbs turned on

But after doing some research into rechargeable lightbulbs, I’ve learned they come in various watt “equivalencies.” So based on where you need the sconces and how bright you want them, consider finding rechargeable bulbs at a higher lumen/wattage equivalent (I might switch out for these 60 watt versions).

How Inconvenient Is It to Recharge the Bulbs?

The main downside to using rechargeable bulbs is that they need constant re-charging. So unlike LED bulbs that…these days…are practically “set and forget,” these bulbs require more “maintenance.”

While they are pretty easy to twist out (they insert just like normal light bulbs) and plug-in, there are some “down sides” to consider too:

  • Our sconces are mounted particularly high, so I need to get a stool in order to reach the bulbs…every week.
  • We installed two stationary sconces fairly close together. But if you had multiple around a room or down a hallway, the re-charging process would likely become unmanageable.
  • If you are having a party or company over, you’ll need to get into the habit of “recharging” them ahead of time so they don’t lose light mid-event.

So while any type of battery-operated/chargeable solution will require more maintenance than a hard-wired option, I still view it as pretty nifty technology worth considering for certain situations.

Not up for the re-charging hassle? Plug-in sconces, pendant lights, ceiling lights, and chandeliers are a great alternative! See my roundup here: Stylish Plug-In Light Fixtures Ideal for Renters

Super Stylish Renter Friendly Wall Sconces

It’s always interesting to see how the shopping industry constantly evolves to meet the needs of the consumer. Even just 6-months ago, you’d be hard pressed to find a single stylish “battery operated wall sconce,” but now plenty of eye-catching options exist.

While some of these (below) come with puck lights and others with the rechargeable lightbulbs like ours, all of these stylish (and affordable!) options have zero wires and are completely remote operated. And since some can even be hung with peel-and-stick technology (e.g., Command Strips/hooks), you can truly have your stylish lighting without the electrician OR the damage!

1 | 2 | 3 (Taupe) | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14

So…Can You Hang ANY Light Fixture Without Wiring, Then?

Finally, I want to circle back around to the original “puck light” hack that I was initially pretty resistant to. Because rechargeable lightbulbs are essentially an evolution of that same trick, allowing you to hang ANY light fixture without hardwiring (or the precarious puck lights, for that matter).

Because rechargeable lightbulbs fit into a light socket just like a normal lightbulb, they can actually be used on any compatible lamp. So below, I took our sconce lightbulb and twisted it into our boys’ dresser lamp (that actually doesn’t have a long enough cord to reach the socket). And sure enough: we have light!

Yes…the lamp isn’t operable by the light switch and would need regular recharging, but using a rechargeable lightbulb would allow us to have light where we can’t otherwise!

Lamp outfitted with a rechargeable battery

So while I highlight some gorgeous battery-operated wall sconces above (that would come with the lightbulbs AND light fixture together), keep in mind that you can likely install any light fixture you want in your rental (hard wired or otherwise)…but instead of inserting normal lightbulbs, use the rechargeable kind instead!

(Just make sure the bulb fitting is compatible with your particular fixture and you can easily reach it for regular recharging!)

Brass wireless wall sconces mounted above a fireplace in a rental

So there’s the “secret” behind our renter-friendly wall sconces!

While I certainly wouldn’t go replacing a lot of our light fixtures with rechargeable lightbulbs (because of their need for recharging), this new-to-me product certainly opens up a whole host of lighting possibilities in our rental homes. Whether it’s wall sconces like shown here or a lamp that just doesn’t easily reach a plug, rechargeable lightbulbs are another handy item to keep in your damage-free, electricity-free toolbox!

See You Soon!