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6 Ways to Decorate with Lanterns

Lanterns help create lighting in a stylish package, but they're not limited to the applications you see them in every day. Used wisely, lanterns can be a wonderful part of your decor that will have a major impact on every space.

Use these tips from west elm to learn more about six ways you can decorate your home with lanterns.

1. Illuminate Your Outdoor Space

Hanging lanterns help you bring light into an outdoor space for dinners, cocktail parties and simply hanging out with your friends and family on a warm spring or summer evening. They'll also add visual interest to your space above your table or seating area, especially if you're working with a small area where other types of lighting may be obtrusive.

For outdoor dining, lanterns can be used over your dining table as accent lighting if you use one or two, or main lighting if you combine multiple lanterns to provide more overall light. Candles and wired lanterns can work for outdoor spaces if you've got electrical outlets available.

2. Create Unique Wall Art

Lanterns can help provide accent lighting on your walls much the way decorative sconces can. A series of lanterns hung in a pattern on your wall - whether you prefer an abstract or geometric pattern - can turn these lighting fixtures into unique wall art.

Mix-and-match sizes and consider putting decorative objects in your lanterns other than candles. This will make them even more interesting to guests and help them blend in with the design scheme and color accents you're using in your room.

3. Line Your Stairs and Steps

Outdoor stairs and steps often get permanent lighting fixtures, but for a more romantic or inviting look, lanterns can add a special decorative touch. They're also ideal for parties and events where you want something special to entice your visitors into your home.

When using decorative lanterns in this manner, mix-and-match different sizes to make them more compelling. You can also add different sized candles for an even more stylish appearance.

4. Craft a Charming Centerpiece

Lanterns often used outside, but that doesn't mean they're limited to that area only. In fact, lanterns can look just as at home on your dining room table as they are on an outdoor table for an al fresco meal.

For small tables, a single lantern or a large lantern and a smaller version is often an excellent choice. A series of lanterns in a row in the center of your table can provide an orderly look and ambient lighting for a bigger table.

You can also use decorative lanterns to illuminate bar areas or buffet setups for hosted events at your home.

5. Use Lanterns as Coffee Table Furnishings

Like using lanterns for a centerpiece on your dining table, these unique decorative lighting fixtures can also add warmth and style to your coffee table. One or two lanterns on your coffee table with candles will provide a soft, elegant touch, while lanterns with decorative or art objects inside will create a more minimal, modern look in your room.

Look for lanterns made with materials that match your color scheme or existing metal finishes like hardware or furniture legs in your room. This will help them blend in and tie the whole space together visually.

Fill Your Lanterns with Flowers

The ambient lighting that lanterns provide can be very useful in many setups, particularly if you're hosting an outdoor party in the evening, or looking to create a mellow mood in your dining room. However, lanterns don't have to be used just for holding candles and adding lighting to your room.

For an unexpected touch, use lanterns in any of the ways above, but fill them with fresh or quality faux flowers. Not only does this make an excellent centerpiece, but it will also work for lanterns hung as wall art. As a coffee table or accent table idea, this can add a touch of charm to your room for almost any modern, traditional or eclectic style.

Lanterns help light your indoor and outdoor spaces, but they've got a whole lot more uses! Use these tips to make the most of your lanterns all year long, from creating a chic coffee table display to an elegant entryway for guests.