composite of four barn-style sconces
Photo: Mark Weiss

Fresh Off the Farm

Consider them the original industrial lights. Since these gooseneck sconces with wide-brimmed shades first graced the exteriors of agricultural buildings in the 1930s, barn lights have gone through more than a few changes. Originally made of steel coated with green porcelain enamel, they were styled with slimmer, flared shades when they surfaced outside gas stations and storefronts a few years later; they got protective bulb cages as warehouse and factory lamps, and went aluminum in the 1960s. But throughout this evolution, barn-style lights have continued to provide a glare-free expanse of light capable of illuminating large spaces.

Today's versions come in a wide range of finishes, sizes, and colors. With optional glass globes, these souped-up sconces can hang just about anywhere, from rustic cottages to contemporary homes. And while most are rated for exterior use, they make great indoor lamps, too. Here, 12 that prove barn lights work well beyond the farm.

TOH Pro Tip: "Barn-light shades can be heavy. So before mounting, it's a good idea to switch out your plastic junction box for a steel or metal one, easily found at home centers. That way the fixture will be sure not to fall off the wall." —Bryan Scott, owner, Barn Light Electric

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