Ask Balsam Hill With Dagmar Obert: On Lanterns

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Dear Dagmar,

A friend gave me a set of lanterns as a gift, but I can’t seem to make them match my home’s theme. Are there ways I can use such beautiful lanterns other than as light fixtures?



Hi Joanne,

Lanterns are one of those ordinary objects that take on everyday functions. They can even evolve into an art form when treated with creativity and imagination.

Recently, I was in a hotel. It was newly renovated and it strayed away from its traditional design. Six extremely large lanterns that housed candles were used. Inside these traditional lighting items were some seascape materials that brought an outdoor beach ambience to the interiors. This simple hint of the sea was able to embrace the look of the lobby that donned mid-century modern furnishings. At the same time, it was also able to keep the color scheme that evoked a warm sunny day at the beach. And that’s all because of the large lanterns and its contents.

Lanterns can be used throughout the year, not only as light fixtures, but also as versatile decorative items. You can add lanterns as year-round décor in the porch by simply changing the contents to fit whatever season or holiday is coming. Most of these light fixtures have a ring at the top, where you can tie ribbons or bows. You can even put a dried floral arrangement there.

These light fixtures come in different finishes that you can work with, such as iron black, copper, oil rubbed bronze and distressed paint. Some lanterns has fret work, scrolls, or other styles influenced by a certain period. It’s really quite hard to imagine all the possibilities that go with these features. You can also just update a lantern’s look instead of working with its existing finish or design. By painting the framework with a color that matches your theme, you can integrate the contents seamlessly with the lantern.

While some designs are appropriate for weddings, others are ideal for adding ambience to arts and crafts family rooms or homes that have clean straight lines. Depending on the material, lanterns can add a rustic elegance to any room in your house.

Candles in Lanterns
Candles in Lanterns

Another idea that you might want to consider are candles. Adding a real or a flameless one of your preferred color can accentuate your home’s furnishings. It can also unify your interiors and infuse your area with some depth and history. In addition, the radiance of these wonderful sources of light can a sense of warmth to your spaces, creating a relaxing atmosphere your friends and family will superbly enjoy.

Don’t be afraid to use your lanterns inside or outside the house. Try to let them set the tone for your space. This is a marvelous idea that will certainly elevate your home to new heights of sophistication. I hope these ideas inspire you.


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