The 10 Best Outdoor Lanterns
Light up, everybody! While this may infer the ceremonial waving of lighters — or, now glowing cellphones — at a concert, in this case it's a suggestion to illuminate your home and grounds. As 2020 draws to an end, many of us are staying close to home. Outdoor lanterns work to give a home that warm, inviting feeling that comes with well chosen exterior lighting. As the season usually signals the use of decorative holiday lights, opt for chic quality outdoor lanterns that last all year long. Who says that a comforting yet excited feeling of arriving to a house nicely lit from the outside should be relegated to December only?
While lighting the front of a home may elegantly welcome you and guests, an outside visit can be further illuminated with the addition of well-placed outdoor lanterns set 360 degrees around one’s home. A backyard designed for entertaining and relaxing is the perfect place to light your property. For those with pools, the use of lights is also a safety measure to keep someone from falling in, whether the lights are built into the pool or placed along the perimeter. Bill & Coo Suites in Mykonos, Greece, pictured above, has a magical infinity pool where lanterns line the edge and complement the mini “cosmos” lights lit within the pool.
Solar lanterns are one of the best ways to enjoy outdoor lighting. The innovative lights are popular because they're energy-efficient, harnessing the sun rays that convert to energy on a solar panel which then powers batteries to light the lamp. They are superior to kerosene lamps, which create air pollution especially when used indoors. Solar lanterns are generally higher in initial cost but pay for themselves over time with saved energy costs.
Practicality aside, solar lamps also look good. And teak, which is touted for its durability and aesthetic compatibility with outdoor furniture, gives it a natural slant and a clean, graphic design. This circular slatted style by Unopiu, the Italian outdoor furniture leader, creates a sunburst effect.
Les Jardins, a brand founded by designer Claude Robin, has been creating eco-conscious yet high-design portable outdoor lighting since 1991. Its Blade lantern combines teak with aluminum.
Designer Jonathan Browning masters geometric form with his Toulon solar-powered outdoor lanterns. Handcrafted from stainless steel, the elongated cube lanterns emanate light from open-air frames.
Outdoor lanterns can also make excellent tabletop lighting. Nest Casa suggests the small metallic Muse lantern. Made by Contardi, the dynamic lighting design manufacturer from Italy's Brianza region (northwest of Lombardy, between Milan and Lake Como), the lantern's geometric nickel frame with a gray silk handle lights your table like a precious jewel.
If you love dining or sharing a beverage at a table outdoors, a traditional hurricane lamp is the way to go. Tapping a more conventional style is Ralph Lauren Home's tabletop lantern, a traditional candelabra base in silver, with a voluminous glass jar guarding a lean taper candle against air that could extinguish its flame. Even better, this lantern easily and elegantly transitions from poolside to dining room.
Poolside is the perfect setting for outdoor lantern décor. Another choice from Contardi is the Cube outdoor lantern by designer Massimiliano Raggi. The lantern follows the firm's philosophy of "bringing interior design to the outside for functional and classy outdoor," according to the company. This style comes with two power-option versions, the battery-operated model containing an extra removable pack for charging. This style is offered in dark bronze and gold or all-white.
For the midcentury modern–obsessed, this RHModern style, also designed by Jonathan Browning, recalls the angular lines prevalent in the 1940s and '50s and brings them into a present-day aesthetic. The lamp's tapered rectangular brass frame contrasts with a cylindrical glass chimney interior, which casts a striking glow from the candle inside.
The Clara Vintage lantern by Le Luci Artigiane, available on Artemest.com, recalls the charm of the turn of the 20th century in its Machine Age glory. Its unique and elegant shape and hexagonal base, crafted from burnished brass and glass, pairs nicely with rustic or classic settings. The lantern can be wall-supported to light a garden walkway beautifully.
Outdoor lanterns are very much at home in a beach home or cottage, especially in white. Drawing upon the classic Chinese paper lantern shape, this white lacquered iron lantern uses a candle placed inside to exude a warm, subtle glow for a simple yet dramatic effect. It's available in white at NestCasa.com.
An outdoor rattan lantern brings to mind romantic tropical locales like Vietnam or the Bahamas. The classic basket weave lends itself well to this Summerland lantern with a glass hurricane inside. Its light and airy open-weave design was constructed from climate-adaptable resin that mimics rattan's appearance. Available at SerenaandLily.com, the lantern comes in natural dune and a weathered gray for a coastal air–treated look.